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ONEWE Rises from "Beautiful Ashes" with New EP

By Avree Noelle Linne | 19 April, 2024

ONEWE via RBW Entertainment

With front-man and main vocalist Yonghoon enlisting in the military July 12, 2022, and guitarist Kanghyun following suit quickly after on August 2nd, ONEWE fans (called WEVE) have been patiently waiting the last two years for the group to come back together again. Fortunately, main rapper and bassist Giuk (formerly known as CyA) didn't leave them waiting too long with his solo releases in April and November of 2023, as well as Harin, Dongmyeong, and Giuk’s unit album XOXO in August of 2023. But now, ONEWE is back as a quintet with their new album Planet Nine : ISOTROPY that cements them as one of the best current Korean idol bands. 

The album begins with the title track “추억의 소각장 (Beautiful Ashes)”. Yonghoon’s powerful and gritty vocal style contrasted with Dongmyeong’s lighter honey-like tone makes the chorus pull the listener’s heart straight out of their chest. While he doesn’t have many lines, Giuk’s soft, fairy-like vocals and visuals are also a stand out for me in this track. Even after finishing the music video, the scene of him surrounded by feathers, his face sporting delicately placed cuts, his reddish-pink blush against his icy blue hair, crying out into the void wouldn’t leave my mind. Of course, since it is the title track, guitarist Kanghyun and Harin also have their own stand out moments; with Kanghyun having an unforgettable guitar solo mid-way through the track and Harin’s drumline building the intensity of the song with precision. I thought ONEWE would never be able to top their song “AuRoRa”, one of my favorite songs of all time, but this song tested that theory.

From the beginning of the song, it is clear that guitarist Kanghyun composed “Shoot It Out”. This song feels like a true rock track, which isn’t featured often in the pop leaning idol-band sphere. Kanghyun’s lead guitar is by far the stand out in this song, making the track swell and then explode at all the right moments, while also letting all of the elements of the track breathe when needed. It reminds me of when I originally found the band, seeing Kanghyun’s live videos playing around, improvising the most intricate guitar riffs. I was so glad that he was able to have the feature he truly deserves on this track.

Meteor Shower (한여름 밤 유성우)” definitely sounds like it’s namesake, but the song feels trapped in a place between magic and earth-shattering reality. In a search to understand how this melody made me feel, our editor (and fellow WEVE) Kya Brogdon sent me a livestream where writer Giuk and guitarist Kanghyun stated that it was intentionally supposed to feel like the falling of a meteor shower, but also like that meteor shower was stuck in a time-loop. That was the key to unlocking the story behind this track for me, and it immediately became one of my favorites on the album.

Usually, Korean idol groups are created by the company choosing artists from their trainee pool and intentionally forming a group that suits each other. ONEWE, on the other hand, was an organically formed group, which makes it even more amazing to me how the group so perfectly suits each other. Two tracks on the album, “Count The Stars (별 세는 너)” and “Kiss in the Rain,” are the perfect examples of this in my mind. Ballads can easily expose flaws more than a louder, more rock leaning track. Yet, in these songs, ONEWE proves yet again that there are no flaws to be found. Lyrically, technically, and compositionally, these songs are absolutely striking. While “Kiss in the Rain” was originally supposed to be on a solo album Dongmyeong was working on, he discussed how he realized he is better with his other members, and when they entered the track it transformed into exactly what he imagined it to be. This is a testament to me that ONEWE is not built to cover any one member’s weakness, but instead to build up all of their strengths.

The Korean title of the final track,“Pleasant (다시 만나서 반가워)”, directly translates to “it’s nice to see you again”, which I think is the perfect way of ending this album. It is a peppy track that connects the fans back to the group after their short hiatus. I love that drummer Harin wrote this track, as the upbeat playfulness to the song feels like such a good representation of him. While ONEWE is more known for heavy rock and ballads, I always savor it when they have a track that is just pure fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is interesting how they are utilizing this type of upbeat track to wrap up the Planet Nine series, which could emphasize how excited the group is to be back with each other as well as with their fans.

ONEWE is one of the most underrated bands in the game right now, so I would highly recommend this new album to anyone willing to give it a shot. You can check it out here, and make sure to keep an eye out for another article before the end of the month featuring Kya Brogdon and I’s favorite K-band recommendations!


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