Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.
– Marcel Proust
Oneus made an impressive debut last year with “Valkyrie”, and followed it up with equally impressive comebacks in “Twilight” and “Lit” — landing them a firm spot on all three lists in our SB End-of-Year Review of best debuts. Their latest release, the poetically titled “A Song Written Easily” continues to keep things impressive, and the consistent standard has started to set a high bar for the group.
In “A Song Written Easily”, Oneus keep up the romantic, despairing moods of “Valkyrie” and “Twilight”. The song’s persona yearns for his past lover to return to him, and is lost in his memories. The heartfelt sentiment behind the song and the meaning of its slightly unusual title can be found in the lyrics.
Because there’s so many things I want to say
I wrote them one by one and they became lyrics
With the longing that hurts more than the parting
A song written easily when I think of you
However, while “Valkyrie” and “Twilight” were dark and moody (and “Lit”, a loud, festive celebration), “A Song Written Easily” is a clean spring flowing peacefully in the forest. It is soft and refreshing. A laid-back vibe underscores the dance track, the lighter choreography and beautiful, expansive MV, giving this comeback a deceptively cheerful sound. And yet, it raises the question — are our feelings of nostalgia really to be trusted?
The track opens with a whistle that previews the synths in the hook, additional synths are used extensively to create a variety of sounds, and a strong and memorable melody is used to make “A Song Easily Written” a surprisingly pleasant song — it grows on you more and more with each listen. The song’s lyrics are as poetic as its title, with many lines painting images of the persona’s thoughts. For instance, Ravn describes his feelings vividly by likening them to those of a person standing at the edge of a cliff.
The empty space you left
Only dark clouds errday
Alone at the edge of this cliff
Thinking of you all thing
Spending the night awake in tears
This imagery is brought to life by the MV. Shot in New Zealand, the MV features wide, sweeping shots of breath-taking landscapes. In contrast to these frames, close-ups of the members often blur the background scenery, bringing the boys and their mournful expressions sharply into focus. Colors pop and change with the frames — it’s clear we’re not in the real world, but perhaps inside the persona’s thoughts, and his nostalgia. Or even, inside a dream.
This is reinforced by the opening and ending frames of the MV. For the first 30 seconds before the song begins, and last few seconds after it ends, the members are not in beautiful, hilly New Zealand, but in a silent city, alone and despairing. Each member is alone in his own location, looking off into the distance.
Particularly notable throughout the MV is the recurring motif of flowers — whether through the use of sharp, focused images of different types of flowers or images of a member stumbling onto them. Each member is allotted a different type of flower. That the flowers have a symbolic meaning is clear from the individual member MV teasers, all of which feature them prominently.
In the dream-like world of the MV, it isn’t easy to decipher what the different flowers mean. But the lyrics give a clue.
How do I describe this
A timeline of the moments we were in love
Like one scene two scenes of a movie
In the end a sad ending
The flowers may symbolize the moments of being in love. Each flower is a memory that the song’s persona cherishes, and the dream-like landscape is the rose-tinted glasses with which he is viewing the past. The sweeping landscape shots tell us he remembers the overarching feelings, but the blurry, out of focus background when we zoom in, tells us he has forgotten the details. Indeed, there is no hint in the lyrics of what brought the relationship to an end, instead, he puts it all aside to focus solely on the good memories and the romantic feelings that linger. One must question then, is the persona’s view not clouded? Is he really seeing things as they truly were? Viewers are left to judge for themselves.
Interestingly, the MV also mimics the trajectory of previous releases. The lyrics of “Valkyrie” refer to the listener being the persona’s “sun”, and “Twilight” refers to the sunset. It is night in the real world, but inside the persona’s head, it is eternal day under a clear blue sky. As the MV ends the sun finally sets, and we return to the persona in the city as he pulls himself out of his thoughts and moves on with his night.
With “A Song Written Easily”, Oneus have continued to experiment with a new concept, new look and new vibe — while still retaining a distinct, unique signature that is slowly becoming clearer with each new release. With RBW‘s experienced backing, this is a talented group that’s putting in much care and effort into conceptualizing each comeback, crafting the music and performance, and delivering it professionally. Our own reviews of Oneus on Seoulbeats have been unanimously positive so far, and I’m excited to see what else the group will show us.