[Review] ONEWE’s “Reminisce About All” is a ballad but it’s a strong one

Rainbow Bridge World’s ambitious double debut of ONEUS and ONEWE has finally come to fruition! ONEWE had to wait a few months longer (and already seem to be getting less promotion), but technically they’ve already “debuted” twice — first as M.A.S 0094 in 2015, and then as MAS in 2017. They say the third time’s the charm, and I really think that might be true here. The ‘ONE’ branding adds a nice cohesion to these two brother groups, and RBW seems to be in a good financial state to throw their weight behind new acts.

Reminisce About All” is a very unique debut track. I can’t recall the last time an idol group (band or otherwise) debuted with such a stark sound. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed that “Reminisce About All” is a ballad, but to my ears it’s the strongest ballad we’ve heard this season.

ONEWE has a fabulous lead vocal in Yonghoon, who’s just a bundle of charisma. He also wrote this track, and you can tell from the passion he pours into his performance. Supporting vocal/keyboardist Dongmyeong may not sing as often, but he’s given just as much to do on the piano. In fact, piano and voice are the duel focuses here, which is somewhat surprising given the fact that this is a debut for the entire band.

But, with a melody as strong as this, I understand the choice to promote it. I love that the entire track weaves around a central melodic theme, delivered with rhythmic — almost conversational — phrasing that gives it an arresting appeal. This is a total slow burn, requiring patience from the listener. The drums don’t even come in fully until just before the three-minute mark — right when most K-pop tracks would be drawing to their conclusion. But once the vocals start to soar, backed by subtle orchestration and a chant-like counter melody, the patience pays off. I would’ve added more guitar to this climactic moment, but it’s an emotionally stirring conclusion either way.

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