Having just debuted this year, The RBW boys have returned yet again, this time with their third mini-album titled, Fly With Us. From the group’s long-awaited and satisfying debut “Valkyrie” to the charming darkness of “Twilight” it seems like Oneus have no plan to slow down anytime soon. In fact, the rising rookie group has been raising the stakes with each comeback which is to come as no surprise as the group is housed under the same roof as their sibling and dynamic girl group Mamamoo.
Although this association seems to put the group under pressure, so far, their potential has been put to good use as each member is equipped with powerful vocals and pleasing visuals that are only elevated through the shiny aesthetics of their music videos. The accompanying MV to Fly With Us‘s title track “Lit” is no exception. The video is sleek and shows off Oneus’s uniform choreography in eyecatching traditional Korean robes. The quality of the song’s instrumentation is up to par with their previous releases except this time around, “Lit” is ramped up in catchiness with a choir of background synths that keep the song interesting all the way through towards its explosive end.
Although “Lit” was a properly chosen single to head the group’s latest comeback, it should not be taken as the superlative song from Oneus’s mini-album. Fly With Us consists of six tracks that shine individually from one another but are tied together thematically to create a cohesive piece of work that is quite impressive for first-year rookies. The theme of the album is established with the intro track “Fly Me to the Moon” which serves as an appetizer for what’s to follow. The song shines is in its lyrical content that sees Oneus asking to fly with them in an effort to reach beyond a place of paradise aka the moon. Falling under two minutes, the dreamy and hi-hat filled instrumentation is an enjoyable way to begin the project.
The track that follows titled “Plastic Flower” is a mix of groovy synths that builds into a snappy chorus that makes use of the quirky repetition for the Korean word “wing.” Wing is then neatly interchanged with “ring” in the following line to create a catchy rhyming pattern backdropped by a thumping bassline. Unlike the lyrical context of “Lit” which revolves around letting personal guards down and partying under the moonlight, “Plastic Flower” takes a more sentimental approach for a love that will never grow no matter how hopeful it begins.
You’re my first love
You don’t really know about it
Is this still considered love?
Im not a wolf nor a bee so why do I keep buzzing around you?
You have become my flower
The confusion that comes with a one-sided love affair in “Plastic Flower” is then etched out more vividly with the next track “Blue Sky.” Unlike the grooviness of “Plastic Flower” the instrumentation for “Blue Sky” is made much grander with a rising crescendo of electronic synths and a dramatic drumming progression that pilots the power unto the ballad. In “Blue Sky” Oneus have fallen into the sadness of lost love, comparing the emotion of loss to the imagery of skies falling, leaving only the dark moonlight for comfort. The boys do a fantastic job of maintaining the momentum of the song by tuning into their higher falsettos while rapper members Ravi and Leedo intensify the bridge with their rapid wordplay.
While “Blue Sky” can be taken as a highlight from Fly With Us. The album makes a slight hard turn with the next track “Level Up.” It is not the components of the song that make it the most uninteresting but it is the song’s placement within the tracklist that hinders its valuable potential. “Level Up” is a gritty and bassy trap song about flaunting your goods and wanting to go further and aim higher each time. Lyrically it slides away from the theme of heartache and love that Oneus has been cohesively placing thus far and sonically it creates an awkward jump of sound where the flow is compromised in order to fit in a “Lit” duplicate.
In order for “Level Up” to have gotten its full shine, the track should have been placed before the title track or proceeding it for a more cohesive listen. With this change, the album glides smoothly from “Blue Sky” to the album’s closer “Stand By.” If the songs so far have represented a stage of heartbreak then “Stand By” is the perfect mid-tempo guitar melody that portrays the ending of a cycle when one can finally heal. The group’s synergy doesn’t come off as forced, instead, their harmonizing vocals create a pulse throughout the song that captures a feeling of pure vulnerability that only becomes more visible through the lyrics.
The long awaited curtain finally opens
And the light shines only on you at the stage
I’m ready, even if the end comes stand by me
Overall, Oneus comeback Fly With Us is a step in the right direction. With the K-pop landscape currently experiencing an oversaturation of group debuts, most seem to blur into one another if one’s focus isn’t there. However, Oneus has the full potential to become the outlier amongst the rest if their future projects can hold up in quality and aesthetics. Here is to this becoming the reality for Oneus.
(YouTube, Images via RBW Entertainment)