ONF continue to find ways to remain relevant even when on military hiatus. After releasing a mini album last summer, co-leader and main vocal Hyojin has delivered a winter ballad. Though I’m not generally one for ballads, it’s nice to be reminded that ONF are indeed coming back – sooner than later. The state of K-pop’s boy group music has deteriorated since they left, and main producer Hwang Hyun seems to have all-but gone on hiatus with them!
Love Things (너를 사랑하는 일) is unlikely to set the industry (or my playlist) on fire, but it’s a nice showcase for Hyojin’s powerful, emotive vocals. When casual fans imagine ONF, they’re likely to recall funky production and experimental song structure. But, dive into their albums and you’ll get a sense of the skilled vocalists that make up this group. 2021’s I.T.I.L.U is a particular standout when it comes to vocal bombast. Love Things is more reserved in comparison, but that unmistakable voice remains front and center.
The production here is unadorned, resulting in a straightforward piano ballad that draws elements from K-pop’s many OST offerings. If I had it my way, Hyojin’s excellent performance would be paired with a much more memorable melody. There’s not much to grab onto here, though that’s probably not the point. It’s better just to close your eyes and bask in the skill on display. Now… how many more months do we have to wait until the guys are back and ready to push the sound of K-pop’s boy groups forward once more?
ONF is my favorite kpop group and I’m waiting for the day they receive the recognition they deserve. I’m not much for ballads but Hyojin’s voice is always amazing. I’m kind of glad mixnine didn’t happen…Hyojin’s voice would have been missed dearly (although the other members have great voices too). Plus I don’t think we would have gotten “complete” aka the best kpop song ever.