Last Updated on May 18, 2020 by Christina
OnlyOneOf, the rookie ensemble under RSVP and a subsidiary of 8D Creative, have not developed a certain style yet; it seems that they are still looking for a musical direction although their concept is largely solidified. Stylized as 8nly8ne8f, the group was initially teased by Blockberry Creative in LOONA’s “Girl Front” M/V description, saying that LOONA’s “Chaotic” was originally meant for their cousin boy group 8x8x8. However, OnlyOneOf debuted with their mini-album Dot Point Jump in May 2019. A project masterminded by Jaden Jeong, the creative force behind LOONA, you would have sky-high expectations, conceptually at least.
OnlyOneOf’s sound palette is melodically rich, a striking contrast when pitted against the darker EDM-based music of other boy groups. The colour red is a defining characteristic of their music, and being a person with synesthesia, I see the colour when I hear their music. These promising rookies have previously delivered lowkey instrumentals with darker, mellifluous vibes: let’s see what direction they took now.
The first thing you notice when you dive into this track is the slick bass: deep, brooding, and an ear-worm. It’s one of the components of the song I enjoy greatly and seems like an addition to a long lost NCT album, reminiscent of their track “Boss”. It’s gritty, greasy, and arresting to the fullest, delivering a darkness that’s mostly missing in K-pop right now. The Hip-Hop and trap attitude of the track is complemented by bold splashes of harrowing synths, jumping around in a state of unrest.
The chords in the chorus are heartfelt, immediately jumping to an almost Phrygian change-up in the post-chorus. There are washed out chants interspersed in the second verse which add an uplifting character.
The percussion is high, alarming, restless, and Hip-Hop-based, giving the track a more interesting character. There is an oboe-like synth throughout the track that expresses its Biblical charm.
The track’s character is further expressed by the lyrics highlighting the Biblical mythos:
“Woo, in your eyes, there was an angel, the sin of being cut by my two swords
Miserably, I finally realized
My innocent desire, my clashing despair
I’ve gotten so tainted, please save me”
My complaints about the track lie in the impression that it sounds too much like an NCT or Monsta X rehash, and in the lack of a fulfilling chorus. The deep bass and the Middle Eastern character is all too familiar in K-pop right now. The chorus sounds incomplete because of the lack of compelling vocal melodies, which is probably due to the members’ inability to sing gargantuan verses. The track is painstakingly short as well, ending rather quickly and not giving a proper closure.
02. “Time Machine“
It’s time for an emotional, loving ballad with R&B influences, heavily littered with automated voices that seem like the genre’s niche.
Despite having the ballad sound to it, the track is interestingly saccharine however not cloyingly so. My musically inclined brain won’t like it too well but my emotional side does: so much so that it overrides my logical senses. It’s a cute track, sounding like it would play at a quaint café hidden from the city and it manages to deliver all the loving goodness just fine, with its feel-good chords adding a good depth.
However, it still lacks the components of a brain-stimulating ballad. This highly affects the relistenability and the track gets boring early on.
The compulsory synth-funk track on the album that ensnares all your senses – the track is wonderfully consistent in its delivery. The whistle leading the track into submission is a defining characteristic, as it is a motif that drives the track and helps it build. The synthpop percussion is expressive and cortisol-releasing – Jaden Jeong’s choices of synthpop tracks have never disappointed and that is visible in this track.
The funk guitars – with the gorgeous blue ambience – paint a picture of a lantern floating in the sky, which is odd considering the track is titled “Boss.” Being floaty and driven, it’s a rather good song, providing us with reassurances with the musical components.
The only complaint I have about the track is the lack of a stronger chorus, making it fall flat a bit.
The album continues to lie on the lower end of the musical activity spectrum with “Desert,” – another lowkey R&B track.
It is a chill number with obvious R&B influences, reminiscent of the likes of GRAY and Jiwoo. The bridge changes it up a bit but the track’s consistency remains intact with the chorus repetition.
It is a bit musically tiring but a decent track nonetheless.
05. “Heartbreak Terminal”
Possibly the best track on the album, the track is highlighted by evocative splashes of synths in the heart of it. It’s wonderfully bright and on the chill side, again reminiscent of GRAY.
The synths drive the track and there are visible highs and lows throughout the track, giving it more dimension. The vocals are soft and cooing, suiting the track’s vibe with absoluteness. The bridge of the track is probably the most tasteful section on the entire album, featuring a jazzy guitar and piano playing around with each other, which carries on to the background of the short last chorus.
06. “OnlyOneOf Me”
The track’s title is a play on words, being a direct reference to the group’s name and the members singing the phrase “Only One Of Me”. The R&B influences are back and the track, for me (especially the ambience), is heavily reminiscent of EXO’s Oasis. There is a good amount of reverb on the instrumentals giving a transcendental feel and the members coo-sing throughout the track. Displays of vocal dexterity are more prevalent on this track than on any other track of the album.
However, the track seems a bit too derivative to me, with not enough definition.There should have been a more standout instrumental.
OnlyOneOf raises the bar with this album, further solidifying their sound. However, the lack of versatility is a setback. It’s a cohesive record with a few wonderful musical moments that makes us anticipate more from them.