After Tuesday and yesterday’s intermission from the week, I return to the usual broadcast of reviews for new releases. Today’s review revolves around ONF’s latest release, Ugly Dance. The group returned with a repackaged version of their first studio album, My Name: ONF, and the title track Beautiful Beautiful back in February of this year. It was a very successful comeback for the group with Beautiful Beautiful reach the number one spot on SBS MTV’s The Show, the first time the group has ever reach the number one position on a weekly music show. A month ago, it was announced the group would be return with a repackaged version, which has been retitled as City of ONF, and is headlined with the title track Ugly Dance.
The most intimidating task in the KPOP industry is finding a song that exceeds the standard set by the artist’s best performing and sounding song (to date). For ONF, they successfully one-upped New World with the release of Beautiful Beautiful this year. And now, all eyes are on Ugly Dance to see if it can do the same. It might be the entire reason to why Ugly Dance starts off with a throwback to their previous title track with the song’s main hook. However, Ugly Dance gives it to us in a remixed form, making it to be more orchestral sounding. This is an amazing twist to the really catchy hook from their previous song and it also fits in perfectly with the orchestral approach that parts of the instrumental of Ugly Dance opts for. But that is only the based on the instrumentation that is used to create part of the the background of their new song. The other part takes on a funky hip-hop style, which seems to align with the colourful energy we got from their previous song. Together, Ugly Dance is a very powerful and epic sounding song. In regards to the vocals, ONF really shows off their vocal chops in this song from what I can hear. The instrumentation in this comeback is quite loud, so they really had to ensure they stand out on top of the loud background, And ONF does just that. Everything felt solid and very straightforward on that front, as well. The high notes at the end were probably the most obvious examples of that. For Wyatt’s rapping, his deep spoken tone was very surprising. It felt dynamic despite it coming off as spoken. His deep tone was also very stylish and cool. What I enjoyed the most about the song are the hooks. The ‘1 and 2 and 3 and 4‘ was probably my favourite one as it added a lighthearted and playful vibe to the song. The vocal melodies for the chorus were also quite memorable. The most important question is, however, did Ugly Dance surpass Beautiful Beautiful? My gut (at the present) unfortuately says no. I feel that Beautiful Beautiful had it all, but it edged in front thanks to the colourfulness it brought to the table. But if it is any constaltion, Ugly Dance is defintiely there as one of ONF’s best!
Also lacking colour is the music video for Ugly Dance. The music video isn’t shot in black and white. Rather, it feels quite muted, thanks to the sterile, hospital room-like aesthetic and plainness of the white box ONF got as a set for this music video. They tried to insert some colour in the video (i.e. the alternating black and white outfits; the green borders up top and for the doors; the members’ hair colours), but none of this was really a splash of colour that the video needed to not be as dull as it ended coming off as. It is a bit disappointing, given that the video is the first in KPOP (as far as I can remember) to be shot in 8K. I also didn’t like how the outfits would sudden change between the black and white. It seemed like a bit much for me. But I did like how the music video sits within the same world as the Beautiful Beautiful music video, based on the start. I also liked how the music video captured ONF’s more lighthearted side, with their smiles and interactions playing a part in making this video more appealing to watch.
The choreography for this comeback was a blast! I enjoyed the whole package and the performances so far have been replayed multiple times! Their smiles really give off a playful vibe in the choreography, making the extremely powerful routine a little more lighthearted. And hence, I found the routine to be fitting for the song as a result. I also liked how they inserted elements of Beautiful Beautiful into the routine.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10