Song Review: OnlyOneOf – Seoul Drift

OnlyOneOf - Seoul DriftOnlyOneOf spent the bulk of 2022 unveiling their Underground Idol series – a collection of interconnected solo tracks that displayed the versatility of the members as it embraced a variety of genres. This project won them new fans and strengthened their existing fan base, raising expectations for the inevitable group comeback. A pair of Japanese singles offered a teaser, but Seoul Drift feels like the true culmination of their recent work.

This group enjoys some wiggle room I don’t always afford their peers. Their music occasionally veers into the shouty, NCT-esque sound I often complain about, but it’s in service to a musical vision that feels all their own. The fact that they self-produce certainly helps, but beyond that I appreciate how they stick to their unique worldview, incorporating trends rather than relying them.

With that said, I wasn’t thrilled when I first heard teasers of this song. It sounded even noisier and shoutier than ever, without those unique touches that signify OnlyOneOf. Thankfully, the track works better as a whole than in small pieces. Yes, I’d appreciate a stronger melodic core. But, I was immediately struck by the grungy distortion that fuels the instrumental. The group embraces this sound full bore without pulling punches. Seoul Drift is disgruntled and mean, blustering around ready to start a fight. And when it finally finds a brief melodic core during the first part of its hook, the sneered centerpiece works.

The guys also manage to infuse the track with a few mammoth builds – most notably during the extended bridge. The tension grows and grows without ever fully resolving. It’s frustrating, but in an exciting way. Like most of their singles, I anticipate Seoul Drift will take some time to grow. I don’t think it’ll ever be a personal favorite, but it’s interesting to see them put their own stamp on sounds that fumble in less creative hands.

Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

Grade: B


22 thoughts on “Song Review: OnlyOneOf – Seoul Drift

  1. This song is interesting. Was very excited for the song but initially disappointed by the chanting. However the “industrial” instrumental reminded me of 2 baddies one Porsche (which is the best song to ever exist) and has won me over. The album is great.


      • There’s not much defence because the song is mostly shouting (and 127 along with other groups have done this style a lot better in the past), but I think the instrumental is quite good. I also like the extended final chorus and the bridge.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The verses are great and catchy (even though it’s very familiar). The build up (verses to prechorus to chorus; plus vocal bridge – rap bridge – taeil highnote, back to the chorus with added adlibs, and finished with the anthemic final chorus!) is well-thought. I love the rhythming apparent thru the whole song (my emphasis is on the small delay they did in the second part of the chorus).

        Plus it’s fun. It’s everything you would expect from a good 127 comeback, honestly.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I have to be honest. I am torn between giving everyone my condolences, and coming back early and often to watch everyone cuss. (Where is my Bae~ ?)
    What stage of kpop grief are we in? All of them. Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.

    Actually for a shouty song, I will agree, it is a slight notch above others. There are a few interesting chord progressions tucked into the background here and there which provide some interest. Because when one is shouting, who cares what key one is in, all of them, everywhere, all at once.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The instrumental is actually fantastic. But on the first few listens everything else sucks ass. I hate the singing, the rapping, the chanting.

    Chrome hearts should have been the title tbh.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am grieving too. But I also feel that just like skinz, this will take some repeated listening to actually ‘get’ the song. I believe the song would have worked better if the chorus (was it a chorus, actually?) had more pull. Not sure how to fix that when the song wants to be shouting most of the time, with breaks in between


  5. This is easily their weakest title track and album. To be honest, I probably would’ve been more satisfied with a repackage of the solos than a bunch of bsides that are mostly different language vers. of previous material. I keep telling myself they’ve been working nonstop and releasing mostly great stuff for the past 9 months, and I can’t be too disappointed. But I really wanted a stronger Korean comeback to help hold off while they’re away on tour. Besides the chanting (which will never be my thing) this sonically just doesn’t sound like them in my opinion. It’s certainly not what I come to them for.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ok but nick….u cant rlly talk abt onlyoneof now without talking abt the massive strides theyve made in kpop for giving the lgbtq community a voice. and the description for the mv on yt is easily their most explicit example of this yet:

    “Just because there’s light doesn’t mean there’s also hope.
    Seoul is the city of brilliant lights. Underneath those lights, there are also young people who’ve been hurt by others and who are wandering along the dotted line of lostness. The new album of OnlyOneOf, who has come back as a group after a year, is named “seOul cOllectiOn” for a reason.
    The 6 members have sung the dreams and hopes of young minorities by presenting “undergrOund idOl” the diary of the youths, one after another last year. The reason stories are woven together with the voices of all 6 members this time is that the album captures the stories of Seoul’s loneliness and solitude, and those who are hurt in this city.
    The title track “seOul drift” starts the engine of the song with a car exhaust sound-synthesizer line and races forward. The loneliness and wandering aren’t painted with silent darkness. Rather, they are sped up to the verge of hallucination and to their very limit. They are raced to the extent that they can no longer keep up and get exhausted.
    This song of Leftfield bass genre puts together Seoul’s glamorous lights and the dark reality on the city’s other side as music.
    Seoul is now one of the most prominent cities in the world.
    K-pop has also become a genre that not only Koreans listen to. Everything in this city has become more glamorous and bustling, but that doesn’t mean everyone is happy.
    OnlyOneOf always sings about loneliness and pain or the stories of those whose love isn’t blessed. We often simply brush them off as something minor, but they are stories that someone should caress and embrace.
    OnlyOneOf hopes that there will be unknown gods’ blessings in these difficult steps being taken, and that there will be blessings from our fans whom we appreciate and whose names you may not know.“


  7. This actually sounds much, much better than other shouty boy group tunes. With that said, gotta confirm it’s OOO’s most disappointing title track ever. Yes, the song has potential, but I wish there was less shouting and chanting. And overall, this one isn’t for OnlyOneOf. It doesn’t suit their image. Rating-wise, 7.75 for me (6,9,8,8).


  8. From a marketing point of view, it looks like a forced attempt to go mainstream (which means “to boost sales”) after years of limbo niche. And probably it’s going to work, since – unfortunately – it’s *always and forever* still going to work despite hundreds of songs and acts that sound all the same.
    I’ve never been that much into OOO apart from their hair styling, but I can understand the positioning strategy much more today than yesterday.
    (And IMHO, the only non-annoying track of the ep is blueblueseOul).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is more interesting than your usual boy group blustering.
      Unfortunately, it is also more unbearable for me to listen to in a very physical/sensory way. It gives me the same feeling as a kitchen exhaust blowing on the highest setting.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This song doesn’t suit them but at the same time, it kind of does? It’s weird. I’m conflicted. I like it but also don’t…


  10. it’s NCT but with distortion, which is actually pretty good, especially the bridge. chrome arts was far superior though.

    i’ll probably grow to like it, but in the meantime i’m looping blueblueseoul and mirage.


  11. Definitely not a song for me. Saw someone mention 2 baddies in the comments and I get the same feelings listening to this song as I do listening to 2 baddie. Really not a fan of that industrial sound. That feeling not being a good one. I really like blueblueseoul though! It sounds so ethereal and the synth with the drum and bass make me levitate.

    Off topic but I thought you might like this song.


  12. For once I actually 100% agree with a song review someone has made of my faves. At the first listen the song was almost disappointing to me, I didn’t quite understand where they were going with it and I still don’t. But after many many listens it has started to grow on me. It’s nice. But it lacks the signature OnlyOneOf charm, the sensuality that I’ve gotten used to OOO title tracks having. After LibidO, Gaslighting and their solo projects I was expecting something spectacular, especially since it’s been so long since their last proper comeback, but so far everything from the song to the MV to their styling in music shows has been… like I said, nice – nothing groundbreaking. Makes me wonder if their creative director is taking a break, because this almost feels like they’ve gone the “safe” route instead of sticking to the vision that makes OnlyOneOf so great. (That all being said I’m still going to continue listening to the song and the B-tracks, especially Mirage sounds really nice to me, I’d say it’s my favourite from the album)


  13. Well, it *has* grown on me, but it’s not a sound I associate with them and it makes me concerned about their direction. Oh well, I didn’t like Song of Ice and Fire, and that *did* sound like them. Jaden wrote his usual overblown description to shoehorn it into their story. I like the rapping, and I’m fine with an industrial sound. but “yeah yeah yeah” is the song filler I hate to hear. It takes me right out of the song just when I want to stay in it. The b sides have more of their signature airiness and sensuality. God save me from the English version of Dora Maar, though. That was completely unnecessary.


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