After months of interconnected releases, OnlyOneOf’s Underground Idol series concludes with Nine’s Beyond. This series vaulted the group onto many of my year-end countdowns, tackling a variety of genres and moods while letting the members showcase their individual charms. For me, Rie’s Because and KB’s Be Free stood as highlights within the series. But, all six solo tracks forge together to create a satisfying sonic universe.
Of these songs, Beyond feels the most like a typical OnlyOneOf b-side. While the group’s title tracks tend to be quite catchy, much of their surrounding material has a denser sound that can be a bit inscrutable. Beyond follows this approach, underlined by fitful, muted synths and hushed percussion. Nine’s breathy tone adds to the atmosphere, full of texture and character. And as Beyond builds to its chorus, the songwriting becomes more straightforward. I like the sound of its hook, but we could have done with a stronger melody.
Overall, Beyond feels like a mood piece rather than an obvious standout like Because or Be Free. Multiple listens bring out the charm of its hook, but the song has a different ambition than others. The verses pull down the energy with a series of shifts in tone and execution. Though intentional, this approach makes the track feel a little piecemeal in places. I’d be interested to hear how Beyond might sound if it had built upon the fullness of its chorus. The production here almost approaches city pop, which would be a cool addition to the group’s sonic toolbox.