A K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
My favorite OnlyOneOf track from last year is Rie’s Because, and I’m hoping its dreamy, melodic sound will inform future releases. As much as I love Libido (and I do!), I fear its experimental, industrial style has become a bit of a crutch for the group. Their title tracks are starting to sound quite similar and new single Seoul Drift may have pushed this approach to its limit.
Of all the songs on OnlyOneOf’s new album, I find myself most taken with blueblueseOul. It feels a part of the same sonic universe as Because, though this one is more synth-driven. It retains that same sense of dreamy atmosphere, pulsing along like a brisk breeze. The tempo is high but song feels languid in its delivery. This is thanks to the production, which layers the members’ breathy vocals on a bed of textured electronics.
The space clears during blueblueseOul’s chorus, which stands as the most forceful moment of the track. Even so, there’s a sense of intangibility to the arrangement. The song doesn’t last long enough to transform into anything beyond a gentle interlude, but it works as a way forward for OnlyOneOf as they (hopefully) push themselves toward new challenges.
I wish the song had a bit more length and maybe one more twist, but I really like the electronic mechanical loop in the early parts of the song, and the multiple voices that interlace through the song is absolutely pleasant.
The song has a vibe-y feel similar to other popular tracks right now, but it maintains a propulsive energy until its close. Very good stuff, and the immediate standout from this mini.
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Loved this track, though it felt more like a TXT indiepop b-side like “Ghosting.”
Personally, Libido is a different animal than Seoul drift. The latter fits nicely with the post-NCT abrasive shouty sound, while the former is very much unique in kpop. The latter has no melodies, while the former is chock-full of it. The latter is the “look we’re badass” boygroup posturing, while the former sounds like 80s industrial body music / new wave. Seoul drift’s peers can easily be found in the discography of the 4th gen NCT sound boygroups like Cravity, Tempest, TNX, Elast, Verivery, and tons more. On the other hand, Libido’s siblings include Skinz, chrome arts, and beat. Outside of OnlyOneOf, we also have NOM’s “Look” and “Im not but.” So no, I don’t agree that libido and seoul drift has the same industrial soundscape. I still listen to libidO up to this day. Meanwhile, seoul drift only got 2 or 3 listens and i don’t see myself going back to it. I guess it’s safe to say that sonically, OnlyOneOf peaked at libidO.
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