[Review] ONF continue to deliver with the ethereal & dramatic “Bye My Monster”

About six months ago, ONF successfully returned from the military with “Love Effect”, and it was a welcome one. The group can usually be counted on to provide something great, or at least interesting, with their comebacks, and they certainly don’t break the mold with their latest comeback on the dramatic “Bye My Monster” off their BEAUTIFUL SHADOW mini.

The title track is a big change from their last one, but with ONF the concept itself has never seemed particularly relevant as they can usually pull anything off, and they prove as much here. “Bye My Monster” is part-musical, part-soundtrack to a concluding montage from a romantic drama, setting an ethereal soundscape that reminds one of early Oh My Girl, and to a lesser extent the works of Lovelyz and WJSN. It’s a novel concept for a boy group, and the simmering drama is expertly built in the verses through light and floaty vocals, as well as instrumental cues. That all ends up coming to a head in the chorus, which enters suddenly and impactfully as the vocals and melody kick into gear, while the rock sounds also finally arrive for a jolt of energy. It also incorporates Rachmaninoff‘s “Symphony No. 2” quite seamlessly, and while the mix of softer classical stuff and harder guitar could’ve been done poorly, it never feels particularly out of place.

As good as the song is, “Bye My Monster” definitely also seems made to be performed, and the darker tone of the music video does indeed come with engaging choreography. In particular, the point move where they put their hands in for an “all for one” moment and then it transitions to them drawing the story literally out of the words is striking. For all the lore shit in K-pop nowadays, this is one track that felt like it was deserving of some overly dramatic messy music video, and while it wasn’t that (for better or worse), what we did end up getting is still a great showcase.

In the hands of a lesser group, “Bye My Monster” had the potential to stall and feel boring, either due to not being able to effectively build tension in its quieter moments or simply not being able to deliver the soaring vocal drama that the soundscape is advertising. Fortunately, ONF is one of those groups who absolutely can deliver, and they especially do so at the end of the bridge with the “hyeseongil ppuniya” harmony. It really is a beautiful, majestic sound whose theatrical nature grows on you during repeat listens, and ONF continue to show they’re always worth paying attention to.


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Thot Leader™