LOONA sub-unit ODD EYE CIRCLE is back for the first time since 2017 thanks to the escape of the members from Blockberry Creative to MODHAUS. While their Mix & Match/Max & Match mini should end up being remembered as a K-pop classic, the trio are now back with “Air Force One” off their Version Up mini.
The rather lazy but mostly accurate comparison here is obviously to call this single NewShoes based on both the title and its meaning, as well as the utilization of breakbeats that forms the song’s foundation and that powers its momentum forward throughout. The Jersey club/Baltimore club trend is one that fits my taste, as it provides an uptempo base that OEC has always utilized and allows for the more flowly pop elements to come in over it whenever they want, and ODD EYE CIRCLE lays a more mature and bittersweet soundscape down here for “Air Force One”.
As with NewJeans releases though, the effectiveness of that still depends on whether the melody comes together in the chorus, and the concept of it was great. The “da da da da das” hitting along with the beat and their rapid fire delivery forms something undeniably memorable, and then it reveals itself to be a two-parter where it progresses into something like a hyperpop mode. That showcases the pleasant upside of maximalist pots and pans production in K-pop singles, as it retains something resembling melody.
Of course, I made a point to praise the concept and not the entire execution, as the only problem I had with it was the mixing, especially when it transitions into that second part of the chorus. It’s a jarring error, because as it gets busy it also gets messy, as the dynamic percussion has a rough quality to it (or as Hojo put it, “I thought it blew out my speakers”). I’ll see how that cluster of sounds ages on me, but for now the positives outweigh the negatives in what is a very welcome return for ODD EYE CIRCLE.
Additionally, the music video is a treat, fitting in with the song’s moody soundscape. Aside from the engaging choreo, refined styling, and Heejin cameo, I was glad to see everything was essentially about their new start, complete with them burning Converse shoes. New beginnings indeed.