By Kaylee Bolson | @westanwinner and Donya Momenian | @donyamo_
Following their debut album Devil, ONEUS is back with Binary Code. Released May 11, 2021, at 6 PM KST, the mini-album is made up of five tracks that showcase the group’s range. Members Ravn, Seoho, Leedo, Keonhee, Hwanwoong, and Xion simultaneously revisit their roots and experiment with new genres in this spunky release.
“Black Mirror” is a nu-disco genre track carried by a catchy beat complemented with funky guitar and bass riffs, teased at the end of their previous release “No Diggity.” Throughout the retro song, there are many elements reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s work. With contributions by Ravn and Leedo, the lyrics pay homage to Jackson’s early hits like “Man in the Mirror” and “Bad,” beginning in the first verse with black, black, black, in the mirror to the interlude with who’s bad? and I’m cool, man in the mirror. Careful listeners will even hear a nod to the late singer’s iconic ad-libs in the backing vocals.
Accentuated by the choreography and costume design, the Michael Jackson references continue in the “Black Mirror” music video. The styling also seems to be inspired by Jackson’s embellished suits and signature fedora with modern twists. Paired perfectly with the outfits, the choreography featured their own version of the moonwalk and other moves Jackson’s fans know and love.
ONEUS was met with warm reception for their hard work. With this new single, the group marked a new personal record, debuting at the top of the Genie chart. Additionally, the music video reached 2.5 million views within 12 hours.
Connect with Us
Like with “Black Mirror,” fans may find the next track familiar. “Connect with Us” is the full-length version of the previous album’s outro. In contrast to the serene and melodic music, the lyrics describe a complicated relationship that prompts reflection, building to the refrain.
Though the lyrics are about the fiery conflict between two who cannot come together like water and oil, “Polarity” is a smooth R&B song emphasizing the group’s steady vocals and rap. The track was composed by the eldest member Ravn, making it all the more special. Revealed at their showcase, the choreography highlights some of the group’s many strengths including seamless transitions, eye-catching formations, and captivating stage presence.
“Happy Birthday” is a mellow, but catchy R&B spin. It stands out with strong, sultry vocals that create a charming mood, an unexpected take on a birthday song. Opening with a simple introduction, the song quickly shifts to a more mature sound. “Happy Birthday” stands out as it is unique from anything ONEUS has released in the past.
Valkyrie (Rock Version)
Two years after making their official debut as a group with the single “Valkyrie,” ONEUS reimagined the fan-favorite with a new genre. This rock version opens with a strong, attention-grabbing guitar riff, a play on the original’s opening notes. It goes on to back the group’s vocals from Leedo’s deep tones to Seoho’s high notes. As the song speeds up, electric guitar and drums match the group’s tempo and crescendo together with the second verse as the rappers take over. While the chorus picks up again, the build to the bridge features melodic instrumentals leading to an intense break. The group matches it with a strong finish, blending their vocals with this new sound.
ONEUS from then to now
This new take on such a meaningful song to ONEUS and To Moons prompts a moment of reflection upon the group’s short, but eventful career. Within the two years since they debuted, the band released five EPs and a full-length album, making special memories with each. It makes it even more special that they were able to do so alongside their brother group, Onewe. From cameos to collaborations, fans have been able to see these two acts grow together.
Binary Code is a special gift to fans, allowing them to see new sides of ONEUS by revisiting their past work. As the group continues to stun audiences both in South Korea and abroad, the duality of the EP leaves a sense of mystery about what creative direction the boys will take next.
This article was contributed to theQoos from EnVi Magazine. For more content like this, visit their official website (ncitymag.com).