[Review] ONEUS miss an opportunity with “Twilight”

As spring heads into summer, we’re beginning to hear follow-up title tracks from 2019’s January debuts. An artist’s second single is almost as important as their first. While you only get one chance to make a first impression, the K-pop market is fickle and fast-moving. Debut years are all about multiple comebacks and signature sounds. Both can help garner a loyal fan base.

With this in mind, there’s a nice continuity between ONEUS’ “Twilight” and their winter debut, “Valkyrie.” Both feature a similar guitar loop and dynamic percussion. I can easily tell what kind of vibe the guys are cultivating, and it fits them well. But like VERIVERY and Cherry Bullet’s follow-ups, “Twilight” isn’t quite as strong as its predecessor.

The track hits us with its chorus right off the bat — a fractured barrage of diverging vocal hooks followed by a clobbering EDM breakdown. Being thrown in the deep end like this is immensely appealing, but hinders the song’s overall effect. This two-part chorus feels intricate and overwhelming the first time through, but is repeated too often (without enough variation) to keep the momentum going. Yes, we get some dubstep (!) tossed in just before the bridge, and an extra influx of vocals at its climax, but the halting structure of the hook starts to exhaust after a few listens. A last minute blast of higher-tempo percussion could have brought the song to a more interesting endpoint.

Moody boy group verses bookend the oft-repeated choruses, mostly inconspicuous except for some stirring vocal layering around the two-minute mark. ONEUS sell the song with above-average polish, which helps cover some of the song’s shortcomings. As an evolution of the theatrical sound of “Valkyrie”, “Twilight” works just fine, but it could have been an absolute knockout.

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