I believe whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you stranger.

So says Heath Ledger’s legendary Joker in the 2008 film, The Dark Knight. Ever since his DC comic inception, the stretched smile, chilling laugh, green hair, and bright red lips of the Joker have built an instantly recognizable character in popular culture.

Oneus channel their own Jokers in their newest title track, “Bring it on.” Founded on a blunt challenge (”Come at me, bring it on”), the six members reveal a sleekly honed energy. The MV is mostly located outside of an abandoned amusement park, an empty movie theater—which probes viewers to question why they are deserted—and a CG background of playing cards.

From the epic storyline in “To Be or Not To Be,” to the relentless (almost manic) energy in “No Diggity” and the melancholic pining in “Luna,” each Oneus era has its own distinct flavor. Their conceptual experimentation continues in “Bring it on,” a track and MV that emphasizes confidence and a splash of dark humor alongside its unexpected production.

The new Joker concept in the “Bring it on” MV is subtle enough to fool the eye, but the pieces are there. A tinge of humor rides underneath the appearances of deadly weaponry and intense choreography, as if Oneus is giving a slight, quirky smile to those watching. The first indication of this contrast is in the opening scene. A large clown face marks the doorway to the amusement park and the background of Oneus’ choreography, its mouth wide open in a huge grin. A shrill increasing note layered on top of a steady beat kicks off “Bring it on,” giving a hint of suspense. 

On the first watch, “Bring it on” rides a little more under the radar compared to some of Oneus’ other title tracks; however, the surprises mostly come from the production of the track, as it delivers twists and turns. Oneus and their team at RBW Entertainment try their hand at the “throw everything into the pot” style, weaving many phases into the three minute song. While “Bring it on” does not make listeners stop in their tracks like with “Luna” or shock them like with “No Diggity”, nor does it try something entirely new like with the funky “Black Mirror,” Oneus’ newest comeback does have an addictive edge. 

Leedo’s rap introduces the track, and a nice, although standard for Oneus, pre-chorus follows. The saxophone line of the post-chorus is where things get interesting. Oneus spit out “deom-byeo” (덤벼)–meaning “attack” or “bring it on”–a hair before this hook. They round out the section with an equally aggressive “do or do or do or do or die” as they stomp their right feet into the ground. Other pleasant surprises include an electronic Seoho rap ahead of Ravn’s verse, and the rush of adrenaline from the dance break and outro, which renews the energy of the saxophone hook. 

The MV of “Bring it on” also seems like a standard Oneus affair at an first glance. Their album concept (“trickster”), meanwhile, provides the visual thread to tie everything together, from the choreography to the criminal masterminds each member portrays during their solo scenes. These moments capture Oneus trapped in their own brilliance and chaos, with some being darker than others. 

However, having the power to choose is at the root of “Bring it on” and the solo scenes. Although the members are in dangerous and often lethal situations, the phrases like “the choice is yours” and “do or die” follow them throughout the MV. Seoho emerges victorious from a brief fist fight sequence, while Keonhee surrounds himself with wires, electronics, and the bomb he built himself, which detonates soon after. Ravn plucks an apple, later revealed to be poisonous, from a glass container in a kitchen where he makes various concoctions. Although he passes out after eating it, the leader bounces back easily, to a comedic effect, and ends up streaming the whole thing on Instagram under the handle @igotthejoker. 

Leedo, Hwanwoong, and Xion are physically trapped in various spaces: a locked room for the rapper and a broken elevator for the dancer, while the maknae is tied to a board, weapons flying towards him. Leedo faces himself through the mirror with “death, “yes,” and “no” scribbled on the walls behind him, but he eventually shatters the reflection that stares back at him after punching the glass. Hwanwoong, meanwhile, dives straight off the edge of the elevator when this route presents itself as an option. And Xion also somehow avoids certain death, as he finds a way to escape from his bonds. However, it is interesting to note that he remains fixated on the danger right in front of him, choosing, instead, to stare down the weapons. 

At the end of the day, with the exception of Xion’s scene that blurs the line a little more, Oneus choose to follow through with their actions, even if it means putting themselves in harm’s way. But this survival against the odds, as Heath Ledger’s Joker said, may have its unforeseen consequences. 

Thus begins Oneus’ intriguing Trickster era. “Bring it on” and its MV feel like the group pieced together the unhinged power and explosive facial expressions of “No Diggity” with the calculated restraint found in “Black Mirror.” This latest comeback pushes the group to an edge they have not explored in their music quite yet. The MV also highlights the complex choreography of “Bring it on,” which emphasizes the sharp movements of the group and their strategic control. All of these elements are then molded together to sustain the unwavering energy Oneus is known for, channeling this energy into key memorable parts like the point choreography (an ace of hearts created with their hands). 

Although “Bring it on” lacks the immediately gripping hook that some of their other title tracks possess, this song and its saxophone line, in particular, have the potential to grow on listeners. The light Joker concept and subtle narrative of the MV, alongside the eye-catching choreography moments, makes the three minute video enjoyable to watch on repeat. 

Now that Oneus are moving out of rookie territory and building a very strong discography, it is sometimes difficult to not look back and compare their new releases to what they have created in the past. However, it is also true that they are always trying something different, and “Bring it on” has added yet another burst of color to the canvas of their artistic identity. 

(YouTube. Images via RBW Entertainment.)