I announced a couple days ago that 2019 is the year for multifandomed people because, for a debut, ONEUS was in multiple Top 10 K-Pop Albums charts all around the world. Like the previous debut album I reviewed for VERIVERY, I know absolutely nothing about ONEUS. But I want to, because I loved their title track “Valkyrie” but I’ll talk more about that later.
ONEUS was formed under RBW Entertainment, with powerhouse veterans MAMAMOO being their label mates. They have six members and a few of the members have previously been seen on Produce 101 Season 2 and MIXNINE. I didn’t see either of those shows so I’m walking in absolutely oblivious to who these young men are. From what I can see the members range from ’95-’00 line which is good – their debut song sounded mature so I’m happy they’re not WAY younger than what I was expecting.
ALBUM: LIGHT US
ONEUS’ debut album Light Us was release 9 January 2019 with title track “Valkyrie”. Like my previous post, I walk into this group totally blind aside from what I briefly learnt before writing this review. Being that their the junior group to MAMAMOO and VROMANCE I do have a certain expectation but because I’ve already seen and listened to “Valkyrie”, I already know they’re vastly different. So I’m excited to see what this album holds.
The first track is “Intro: LIGHT US” but can you give me a second to appreciate the fact they called it ‘intro’, please?! I love when Korean artists use this format of discography and it’s not used enough in my opinion. Whoever starts this song, the one with the deep and husky voice…is this his real voice?! Because I already love him. The song is more relaxed than what I thought but it’s funky and upbeat enough to peak my interest. From what I can hear there were only two members in this song but maybe I’m wrong on that one. I think it’s a cool idea to have both a rapper and a vocal appear on the intro together.
Second track “ZigZag” is closer to what I expected as it uses the same kind of synths I was getting from their title track. What I like about this song is that it has a strong vocal line and catchy lyrics in the chorus. The difference between the lead vocal and the deep-voiced rapper is fantastic. It does have small moments of instrumental breakdowns which would’ve been nice to have explored for longer but I’m not angry about this song. In retrospect I feel like I’m gravitating towards the intro more – stylistically I enjoy that song more, even if it was a lot shorter. Still, this song is good too.
Third and title track “Valkyrie” is here, the song that made me want to check them out. I do tend to check out an artists albums even if I don’t like the title track but this one specifically made me lose my mind. The strong yet muffled electric guitar through the first 15secs caught my attention but the impressive vocals tones as well as that rapper in the chorus made me stay. The song is EDM but it has a whole bunch of other elements thrown into the mix as well. The break down half-way through gave me chills and the overall vibe of the song sounds like its been done by veterans instead of rookies – executed perfectly, I might add! Everything about this song is amazing and it’s already fast-tracked to my Top Songs of 2019. If it’s not part of my list at the end of the year I give you permission to laugh at me for all of 2020.
Fourth track “Red Thread” is a slow song and I’ve been waiting for one since I first heard their title track – I need to hear these vocals! It’s very atmospheric with it’s vocal and piano introduction but as more instrumentation gets brought in I’m kind of taken out of my initial attraction to it a little bit. While I would’ve preferred the song to just be like the initial one and a half minutes, I still like the song as it does go back to that sound in the verses. I feel like this rapper has come for me and is snatching my life every time he opens his mouth – I am a fan! It doesn’t go super hectic right at the apex of the song which is good, I think that was a smart move on their part.
“EYE CONTACT” is more similar to “Valkyrie” than any of the other songs. It’s more EDM-based and has nice vocal moments. The beat change after the first chorus is GREAT and it’s exactly what I needed to get me back into the song – the majority of the song, although hectic at times, is quite thin so I found myself zoning out a couple times. I don’t think this had anything to do with the quality of the song and more towards me so don’t think I’m fully opposed to it.
Sixth track “HERO” is my kind of song. Vocally, they try different things in this one and I love it! Somehow they’ve managed to change their vibe entirely and I don’t know what specifically it is – maybe it’s the way they drag out their notes and almost sound like they’re going out of tune. Either way, I love it. It’s an EDM song which sounds similar to “EYE CONTACT” in that sense but I feel like there’s a little more grit to it. The rap in the bridge was a nice touch as well. It’s definitely a standout to me.
Final track “CRAZY & CRAZY” is creepy as hell and I feel like if they went in this direction they’d be able to do it extremely well. What I wasn’t expecting was the hard af bass – is this a rap line song or are the vocals pitching in on it too? Autotune aside, I really like this song and it’s a fabulous way to end the album.
I feel like they could go a little harder than this. They’re almost tiptoeing the line of becoming absolute rookie monsters but they didn’t quite get there for me. I love love LOVE “Valkyrie” as well as a couple other songs so it’s a good debut for me. I very rarely like an entire album (by any artist, not just rookie groups) but I think this was a solid effort on their part and I can’t wait to see what direction they’re going to go in in the future.
I like how they’re so separate from the rest of their company and they seem to have some really nice singers and rappers. I’m excited to see their live stages as well. When I first watched “Valkyrie” I don’t think I paid too much attention to the choreography so I’m curious to how they do on a live stage. But all in all I think it was a good debut and they’re a promising group for sure!
MY RATING: 7.5/10
What did you all think of this debut album from ONEUS? Were there any tracks you particularly liked or didn’t like? Let me know in the comments below or leave me a message on Twitter!