[Review] skinz – OnlyOneOf

Ending the week is OnlyOneOf, who returns with their fourth mini-album, Instinct Part 2 and the title track, skinz. Last year, we saw the group return with the very bold libidO (side note: the song itself has grown on me since I reviewed it), which earned them a lot of attention for their LGBTQIA+ concept and provocative stage performance. The group did release a number of other tracks throughout the remainder of 2021, but they did not get reviews due to their lack of a music video of some sort. Since libidO, the group became less of one member, Love (the now former leader of the group) who withdrew from the group unexpectedly in August last year.

skinz is another bold song from this week, with the boldness attributed to the song’s instrumentation. It features a glitchy bass sound which is a very peculiar choice. Despite the foreignness of this style, however, skinz‘s glitchy nature of background gives the song some uniqueness and individualistic points that sets it apart from other songs. I also felt the electronic components of instrumental was interesting, as it reminded me of a concentrated version of libidO‘s instrumental. Not sure if other people felt that or if was the intentional effect, but I thought it made skinz a good follow up to the preceding title track. We do get some relief from the glitchy instrumentation, which may be jarring for some already, in the pre-choruses, where a slightly smoother texture overtakes the background. I like this reprieve, as I think a consistent glitchy pattern would have made the song a bit too much for my taste, as well. As for the vocals and rapping, I liked the sensual energy it brought to the song. Their extra breathy tones made skinz alluring and intriguing to listen to. Boldness was another idea running through my mind. They retained the breathy tones for the autotuned moments as well. The rapping follows the same effect (and I did like the more whispery touch the rapping in the bridge had). However, I wished the raps had a bit more bite to them or used in a different manner to add a different dynamic to the song. I think this would have developed the song even further. Otherwise, Skinz upon multiple replays, could most likely come across as like and like/too consistent throughout. Overall, a strong track from the group overall

The music video continues the LGBTQIA+ theme that was noted to be a key part of the libidO music video. In this music video, however, it isn’t in your face as much. Instead, it was more subtle compared to last year’s video. We are invited on a road trip with the members of OnlyOneOf, with the video shot entirely in our POV. For the most part, it looked like the members were having fun throughout the music video: going to the beach, singing karaoke, having a munch etc. However, we do get some scenes that seemingly hint at something between the different pairs of members. At the end of the video, we are thrown a bit of a twist – the start of the road trip restarts without us – suggesting that everything about the road trip might have been a piece of our imagination. This might also extend to the concept and apply to the libidO music video as well. The dance performance, on the other hand, continues the boldness from the previous comeback and this was actively portrayed in the choreography shots. I also liked the idea of the glitchy stage, which made the video more relevant to the song.

The performance, as mentioned above, manages to continue the same sensual and bold themes. But compared to their previous comeback, I find this performance to be even more heavy handed, despite it not containing any moves that had the same effect as the bridge section from last year. That being said, there was still a lot of body rolling, skin showing, abs reveals and other striking movements. None of this deters me from the routine, and I quite enjoyed the resultant aesthetics of the performance.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

[Review] libidO – OnlyOneOf

Following the previous review for STAYC’s ASAP, I will be focusing on some releases which I should have posted reviews sooner for. Most of these reviews will be for songs released more recently which have garnered some sort of attention directly or indirectly. First up is OnlyOneOf’s libidO. It garnered some shocking attention since its release for one of the comeback’s components. I will delve into what that shocking element later on. But if you know, you know. libidO was released a month ago on 8 April 2021.

When libidO first popped onto my radar, I wasn’t sure what to think of the song. It was definitely intriguing when it came paired with the music video and performance. But on its own back then, I didn’t think much of it. I think I would have described as a blur (which still would be one of the words I would use to describe the song). But since the song’s release a month ago, I have checked it out a bit more and grown to liken its artiness. libidO thrives on percussion and a warped effect on the song’s melodies. Paired with OnlyOneOf’s whipsering and hushed vocals, libidO exudes a strong and hypnotic sensual atmosphere that feels unique in KPOP, especially in the current climate of retro resurgence. That being said, libidO also taps into the groovy side of music. But I feel that this isn’t the song’s main mechanism of reeling listeners in. I think the song’s whole sensual profile is what attacts people’s attention to its release. And this pretty much has me interested in the song as well. But the instrumental element of a song is only one component. While I really liked the aesthetic that the members bring through their vocals and rapping, libidO suffers from a lack of momentum on that front. The hush-hushed nature of their delivery really makes the song feel airy, which in turn doesn’t help push out a strong hook or melodies. As a result, the only memorable line I got from the song was the repetition of the song’s title, libidO. This why I mentioned that I felt the song would still be described as a blur. As I can only remember one line (well, word in this case) from the song, libidO felt like it was over before it got anywhere. But nonetheless, libidO is still a unique listen and one to check out if you are into aesthetics and artsy releases.

The music video for libidO was a surprise, and one that I had to rewatch a couple of times to make sure I was understanding it correctly. Given how conservative South Korea is, a video like libidO that shows LGBTQIA+ themes is rare. It isn’t unheard of, but it isn’t exactly everyday common. But I definitely applaud the members, the company and producers for pushing the boundaries with this music video and taking a bold risk. Aside from the LGBTQIA+ theme, I thought the music video was quite aesthetic. I really like the colour palette for this music video, with the grey filter being applied to the coloured scenes. I also really liked the choreography shots. The black and white really helps create a sleek and sensual atmosphere. THe opening shot for the music video showing the members on top of the white platform (which they shoot their choreography shots on) surrounded by the green foliage was a really striking image to begin with,

What was also really bold was the choreography. Once again, I applaud the members and the choreographer for pulling off this risky yet very striking choreography. I am all for creative freedom and liked how they really emphasised the sensual nature of the song with all those moves such as the sliding knees, the use of rope throughout the routine etc. The choreography has recieved some negative comments for going to far when it came to the bridge, with one member kneeling in a questionable position in front of another member. It was then followed up with hands on the crotch area. It may be explicit, but I don’t see it as an issue. It might be due to the fact that I was raised with Western media and so I am kind of sensistised to some of this stuff. However, the group has responded to concerns with a reasonable response, so check that out if you want to know the internal thought process of those behind the creative direction of this comeback/choreography.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 910
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Double Review] savanna + Time Leap – OnlyOneOf

I think I am going to continue on with the catch up by focusing on the rookie groups that just made their debut. I do have a short list of them to cover and there aren’t any major comebacks that take precedence today, giving me time to actually do the catching up. Today’s review is focusing on the double title tracks (savanna & Time Leap) that OnlyOneOf made their debut with back at the end of May. The group consist of seven members (Nine, Love, Yoojung, KB, Mill, Rie and Junji) and are currently under RSVP.

To me, no matter how much I listen to savanna,  I cannot find anything interesting within the track that keeps me attracted to it or reels me in for further replays, similar to the comments I made in yesterday’s review. Despite that, there are a number of elements that do manage to stand out. The R&B instrumental made the song quite smooth textured. While it seems like the instrumental is the root of why I think the song was plain and bland, the smoothness allowed the melody to be quite pleasant. And this resulted in the showcase of nice vocals and decent rapping from the group.

Time Leap is another melodic song. But it is completely different from savanna as it delves into a pop route and I thought it was a little more captivating. To me, the instrumental felt like a blank canvas, as it once again didn’t have anything interesting within it. With that analogy, the vocals and rapping ended up being the paint strokes. They actually sound quite good with the rap sequences having a little more intensity and the harmonies allowed the vocals to be showed off with more definition. With its consistent nature, I felt like the only image that the group could have amounted to in Time Leap was a black and white image. But it is a start and I like the song. 

For a smooth and decently paced track, savanna’s music video had a lot going on. The various visual effects and overlays could have been reduced as I think the music video showed a more than necessary edgy tone. But I really liked the aesthetics of the video that was formed thanks to the visual effects. I think if they managed to strike a balance to the dark lighted music video, I think savanna, as a whole package, could have been a little more likeable. As for the Time Leap, the music video is less aesthetic. However, the cinematography during the more professional shots was really cool. They also included some ‘home video’ style shots, which was nice. But I felt like that stripped away the aesthetics. Nothing really happened in this video, which did leave it on the boring side of the spectrum. But still visually looked good.

While I have been praising Time Leap so far, their performance is a bore. As much as I understand that they had a slow song to start with, the performance ended up making things a lot slower. savanna, however, had the more captivating performance. Sure, the more intense moves didn’t fit as well with the song. But it looked more intriguing and fits the type of performance I like to see from male groups.

savanna
Song – 6/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.4/10

Time Leap
Song – 7/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10