As May turns into June, and spring becomes summer, Onewe’s comeback with the track “End of Spring” could not have arrived at a better time. Released on May 26, their first full album, ONE, and the MV for “End of Spring” celebrate the year since becoming “Onewe.”
And it took quite a time to become the band they are today. They were originally known under the name MAS 0094 before and when they competed on the show The Unit. Later they moved to RBW Entertainment as MAS before re-debuting in May of 2019 as Onewe.
Now a year later, with an official fandom name (“Weve”) recently announced as well, Onewe reflects on their journey and showcases their strength as musicians, lyricists, and composers. ONE consists of all their past releases and four new songs, one of which is a remix of their title song.
Onewe debuted with a ballad, which is atypical for a debut song. “Reminisce About All” is simple and warm, mostly showing off Yonghoon’s vocals and the members’ abilities as musicians. In addition, they released a MV for each song on their first album 1/4, which, besides “Reminisce About All,” included “Ring on My Ears” (written and composed by bassist CyA) and “0&4.” Unlike their ballad debut, “0&4” and its subsequent MV emphasizes Onewe’s dynamic as a band and their joyful energy.
Their title track from their second EP, “Regulus,” is the song that made me fall in love with Onewe. With lines such as “Don’t wither, please. / Although I’m withering. / Remember me even if I’m gone” and “Memories are alive and breathing” it is difficult to not feel something. While it is not a strict ballad like “Reminisce About All,” “Regulus,” written and composed by Kanghyun and CyA, expresses incredible emotion in its lyrics and weaves together CyA’s raps, the members’ vocals, and guitar riffs.
“Q,” the only song on 3/4 and their first collaboration (with Hwasa of Mamamoo), switches up Onewe’s focus sound and MV-wise. Not only are multiple sets used, “Q” is teasing and playful in its melody and the electric guitar’s phrases, which is reminiscent of older songs like “0&4” but more developed.
Then comes “End of Spring.” The title song of ONE continues where “Q” left off and pushes Onewe’s experimentation a little further. “End of Spring” is more energetic than the band has done in the past (the brightness of “Q” was hinting at it), and, surprisingly, a thumping EDM beat makes an appearance in the chorus. However, the drums (played by Harin) carry a similar energy throughout the other parts of the song that the transition is not as jarring. The pre-chorus build also marks a difference in direction for Onewe as it escalates faster than their previous releases and includes many more moving parts. For those who may prefer their rock sound, ONE includes a rock version of “End of Spring,” which was arranged by Kanghyun.
Spring is a metaphor for being in love in “End of Spring,” which is not a new concept. Onewe remembers and longs for this love, the spring that has now ended, with beautiful lyrics, especially seen in the chorus:
I laughed because of you, cried because of you
Everything was good because of you in those spring days
But one by one, everything is getting erased
My beautiful season
The spring is over
The lyrics of “End of Spring,” however, tell a different story than what is seen in the majority of the MV, since Onewe is partying for most of the four minute video.
There was probably a bigger budget for this MV as a lot more happens, although it still focuses on Onewe first and foremost as a band. “End of Spring” features three sets: a desert scene, a warehouse/garage kind of place, and a location outside of the warehouse. The MV opens with a desert scene as Onewe drives in a red convertible followed by solo shots of the members, which ties into the narrative of the lyrics. Yonghoon, in the beginning, holds a bunch of blue flowers—the last bits of spring in the desert—but later in the MV he steps on them as if to crush the memory of that ended love.
The second main set contrasts with the stark expanse of desert. While there are occasional shots of Onewe playing as a band, the place is often filled with people dancing around them. The dancing ranges from set choreography to typical jumping up and down to a dance circle when the chorus hits. Following the release of “End of Spring” and ONE, Onewe tried their hand at choreography with their #나봄끝challenge (which translates to “end of spring”) on TikTok and Instagram. Dongmyeong and Harin and Yonghoon and Kanghyun paired up to film their variations of the choreo, while CyA enjoyed his solo spotlight complete with an enthusiastic woah.
The warehouse location is lit with neon lights and is brimming with energy as everyone has a good time and dances. That is not to say that this place has its own starkness—the walls are empty besides the neon lights—but it is not lonely in the way the desert scenes are.
Then the party moves outside, where there is more space to dance and to have fun. The members and the dancers are covered in a wide array of colors especially after the color smoke bombs were brought out. This literal explosion of color juxtaposes the muted colors at the beginning of the MV, and viewers can see that Onewe has changed emotionally and physically as they wear white during the last chorus, but the colors from the smoke bombs powder them from head to toe. Oneus, the brother group of Onewe and Mamamoo at RBW, also show up in shots before this location, but viewers can see them more clearly here. Maybe these scenes of joy are what Onewe wants to happen (or is happening) although their “spring is over.”
However, once the song is over, the members are shown in another location surrounding a fire and leaning against a trailer—are they back in the desert? Although Onewe is together, they all stand separately from each other and do not interact. While they want to believe they have moved on from their love, there are still emotions, similar to those expressed in “Regulus,” that need to be resolved.
Besides “End of Spring,” Onewe’s first full-length album, ONE, features two new songs (not including the rock version of the title track). “Crazy Good” (which CyA and Yonghoon had a hand in writing and composing) opens the album, and it is a song of many surprises in its rhythms and electric guitar riffs. CyA dominates this song in his repetition of the line “미쳤다 미쳤어” (literally “crazy crazy”) and his distinct tone. This phrase may sound familiar because this same line is sung also by CyA in the beginning of Oneus’s song “CRAZY CRAZY,” where he has producing credits, from their debut album, Light Us.
Onewe goes back to their ballad roots with “IF.” This song falls around the middle of the album right after “Regulus.” Yonghoon’s voice, full of emotional weight in both, soars over the last chorus, similar to what he does in “Regulus.” The band looks back on the love they used to have, but while they have been hurt, they cannot walk away quite yet from these memories:
I don’t know why it hurts more. Why?
I understand why you’re crying again
You’re hurting too
You know it well
You can’t even erase it
Why do only the good memories come to mind?
It hurts more
It digs deeper
To tie it all together, the album art of ONE expresses their concept of celebrating their one year anniversary as Onewe and their many colors as a band. The cover pulls elements from their previous albums, most noticeably 3/4 since it becomes the background of the new album, but 1/4 and 2/4 are also there. The butterfly left of center is cut out of the gradient from their debut album, while the tree and glowing orb from 2/4 is near the top of the frame and upside down.
There even may be elements from their MVs such as the numerous carpets that appeared in each Onewe video. The many materials and textures created from paint, newspaper, and fabrics as they overlap one another in the center create a collage or scrapbook look that is then framed. ONE is the band’s way of looking back on their previous projects and celebrating their hard work and accomplishments.
Like the cover art indicates, there are many textures to Onewe’s sound as a band, and, as shown in “End of Spring,” “Crazy Good,” and “IF,” it seems that they will continue to experiment with their music and showcase their versatility as musicians.
(YouTube. Lyrics via Lyrics Translate, LyricsKpop, KpopLyrics. Images via RBW Entertainment.)