It has been a decade since the debut of iconic K-pop bands CNBlue and FT Island. Since then, a new generation of exciting bands, including Day6, N.Flying, and The Rose, has emerged. These musicians have been able to carve out their own niche within the K-pop scene, winning music shows and award show trophies as well as embarking on world tours.
Looking to join the ranks of successful K-pop bands is RBW Entertainment‘s Onewe, the brother group to powerful rookies Oneus and labemates of Mamamoo. This five-member band has had a tumultuous journey in the industry. The members themselves formed the band back in 2015. They previously promoted as MAS 0094, and then later simply as MAS after switching labels. Members of the group competed on the survival shows Produce 101 and The Unit before re-debuting as Onewe.
To establish themselves, Onewe released a trio of songs in May 2019 that highlighted their potential with a bright and playful image. For their comeback with “Regulus,” the quintet shifts gears with their styling while staying true to their sound and playing up most of their strengths.
In this MV, their clothes are dark and edgy, with accessories like flashy chains, fake tattoos, black nail polish and offbeat hairstyles. Their rocker chic styling does not venture too far into Hot Topic teenage rebellion. Instead, the darker image is meant to reflect the more mature tone of their latest single.
Regulus is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and its blue-white glow is part of the Leo constellation. “Regulus” is also the Latin title of French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s world-famous novella “The Little Prince.” The story has inspired many K-pop songs and music videos, such as Ryeowook‘s “The Little Prince,” Shinee‘s “Good Evening,” BTS‘s “Serendipity”, and Lee Hi‘s “No One.” Onewe’s lyrics use the story’s imagery to capture the melancholy of separated lovers.
The name of the star I live in
Is called Regulus.
It may be dark every day
But I’m not lonely
In this place where I breathe,
A flower that looks like you
Is still with me,
The MV does not utilize references from “The Little Prince.” For the most part, it consists of a simple, grey-washed scene with the members performing on a roof. Thankfully, the video gets some dynamism and movement from a clever camera shot that glides around the members as they play while standing in a circle.
Without much happening, it falls to the members’ performances to drive the momentum of the video, and some of them are definitely more skilled than others when it comes to showmanship. Keyboard player and vocalist Dongmyeong, the twin brother of Oneus’s Xion, knows how to stare intently into the camera, while lead singer Yonghoon is quite expressive, getting lost in the emotions of the music.
The most impactful part of the MV happens about 3/4 of the way through, and it comes as a pleasant surprise. In the bridge, Yonghoon switches to his sweet falsetto and sings, “I want you to stay the way you are, / Under the star-studded night sky.” At that moment, the cloudy, grey daytime skies suddenly morph into a starry night, enhancing the drama of the moment and emphasizing Yonghoon’s vocals.
While the concept for Onewe’s visuals have shifted, thankfully, the band’s overall sound from their debut songs has not. “Regulus” is a mid-tempo rock ballad that combines the emotional depth and breathtaking vocals of “Reminisce About All” with the energizing drum fills, driving guitar, and voice modulation effects of “Ring on my Ears.” The track also showcases the group’s self-producing skills as it was written and composed by bleach-blond guitarist Kanghyun.
The track is the first that Onewe is promoting on music shows. While it’s impressive to hear Yonghoon’s power vocals live, it’s a shame viewers aren’t getting see the group’s more charming, goofy side. This is one of the band’s greatest strengths and defining traits, which earned them a following during their survival show stints and could endear them to plenty of new fans.
The track is also slow-building, starting off pared down to just guitar and vocals. Unfortunately, it drags in the second verse and chorus before truly finding its stride and making a memorable impact in the third verse, bridge and final chorus. This might be too little, too late for impatient listeners or MV streamers.
Onewe might not be the brightest stars on the K-pop scene now, but “Regulus” is a glimmer of the potential the band has to offer. Fans who stay tuned to this up-and-coming band will hopefully be rewarded in the near future with an energetic rock song that fully captures all the group’s charms for their next comeback.