ONEUS has been quite busy this year with a total of three comebacks, a musical project and a 2-day concert. They released their first-ever studio album ‘Devil’ and introduced the songs of ‘Blood Moon’ in the most unique way. They announced ‘ONEUS Theatre’ which included pre-released singles of ‘Blood Moon’ performed with concepts from iconic films like ‘Mad Max’ and ‘Dead Poets Society’.
The 6-member K-pop group finally came back with their 6th mini-album ‘Blood Moon’. The album has a total of 7 tracks with ‘Luna’ as the title track. Both the album and the music video of ‘Luna’ were released on 9th November, 2021. It is one of ONEUS’ successful comebacks to date as the pre-released singles charted in the top 25 of Billboard, got them their highest first-week sales and became their fastest music video to cross 10 and 15 million YouTube views. Well, let’s find out why fans were so excited for this album.
“We were directly involved in the production process so that we could clearly show the identity of ONEUS” – Hwanwoong
Intro: Window ft. Choi Ye-rim
We dive right into the album with ‘Intro: Window’ and ONEUS clearly spells it out as to what we should be expecting from ‘Blood Moon’. The boy group knew that one of their strengths was combining mainstream trap pop music with traditional Korean music as we had seen with their previous release ‘Lit’ but they have gone all out for ‘Intro: Window’. The very first second of the track is haunting with the build-up of a large drum and gongs while Choi Ye-rim starts off the album’s prelude with her piercing voice as she sets the mood, “On the night of the blood moon/They appear.”
Playing with the vibratos heard in arirangs (folk songs) and sing-song flow of ancient Korean announcements, she lays the way for the hip-hop beats as ONEUS sing about six immortal monsters who are waiting for their love to come back. The performance video complements the oriental fusion as dressed in hanboks, ONEUS show off their dance moves that flow gracefully with the outfits.
With ‘Intro: Window’ making use of ONEUS’ what we can now call their style, it should have been tough to top it but they have. While the group still continues with the oriental concept of hanboks and hand fans, we see a new side to them with the title track of the album ‘Luna’. If ‘Lit’ was celebratory and ‘Intro: Window’ was a fatalistic tale, ‘Luna’ is full of emotions. There is a hint of sadness in their melody which is surrounded by traditional strings along with strong synths and brass that keep the structure interesting.
Each part of the song has fans wondering how the song will progress just like the dance and feelings ONEUS portray in the music video. In the first chorus, they miss their lover and so the melody is hopeful while their moves are graceful. Moments like centre Hwanwoong and the dance break highlighted by a blood moon builds the climax as they search for their lover. They continue their fantastical but star-crossed lovers storyline as they reminisce, “Like a drеam that disappeared overnight/You are so beautiful under the moon.”
Yes Or No
‘Yes Or No’ is a change of pace from the intense title track. With an upbeat arrangement full of jazzy sounds along with brass instruments and electric guitar in the chorus, the song has a catchy beat. The melody of ‘Yes Or No’ is similarly peppy and makes one sing along with the boys. Made by Ravn, the song is quite deceptive as ONEUS continue their bittersweet love story. Even with quite a pessimistic mindset that all relationships are doomed to fail, they wish to stay with their lover regardless since, “A day without you is a disaster/All day, all day, I only have you all day.”
Life is Beautiful
‘Blood Moon’ truly is a dynamic album as each song is different from the last but still manages to tell a cohesive tale of love and life. ‘Life is Beautiful’, in fact, is a pre-release whose performance video was released for the K-pop group’s ‘ONEUS Theatre’ project that combines music and iconic movies. Taking inspiration from ‘Dead Poets Society’ and the catchphrase “carpe diem”, ‘Life is Beautiful’ is a cheerful pop song about taking a break from our busy lives and just enjoying life. The bridge is the highlight of the song, full of echoes and percussions as Xion sings, “The road you stand won’t stop/It’s a never-ending one.” The performance video has a bright and youthful concept as the boys dance in pastels and school uniforms.
Shut Up and Crazy Hot!
ONEUS is known by fans as ‘performance kings’ thanks to their impressive music videos and performances. The boy group pride in their cinematic performances as seen with their dance covers and participation on ‘Road To Kingdom’ that led to some iconic stages. Playing on that, they decided to go with a Mad Max-esque performance for their rock-tinged song ‘Shut Up and Crazy Hot!’ which is all about partying and living life to the fullest.
Full of band music, guitar riffs, grunge props like fire and chains and fierce facial expressions, their performance of the song was ‘crazy hot’ and is definitely worth watching live. The refreshing use of piano sounds in an otherwise rock song amps up ‘Shut Up and Crazy Hot!’ as Keonhee and Seoho celebrate, “We ain’t goin’ home until we see the break of dawn/Take a trip into a crazy new world with me.”
We’re in Love
After the energetic ‘Shut Up and Crazy Hot!’, it’s time to sit back and relax as we are graced with a soft pop song full of soothing tunes albeit with a funky beat. Made by Seoho and Leedo, the slow-paced verses build up to create a romantic atmosphere perfect for a K-drama OST. ‘We’re in Love’ is quite experimental as we have whistling and multi-layered raps as Leedo raps as well as sings his verse showcasing his beautiful vocals. Similarly, the song is about first love and the beauty of a relationship in the early stages as ONEUS compare their journey to that of a wave, “I can go anywhere on this wave/Wherever you are.”
Who You Are
The album ends with a seductive R&B track. ‘Who You Are’ has a simple arrangement that allows the boys to flaunt their vocals as we even have the rap line singing. The laidback song still keeps things interesting as the melody changes in the second verse as the boys realize that they’re in a one-way relationship. “The distance between the two of us is a bit far/Don’t answer vaguely, what am I to you huh?” marks the end of the love story that ONEUS has been exploring in this album.
‘Blood Moon’ is a sordid but exciting tale of fantasy and love with all of the members participating in the making of the album and ‘Luna’s choreography. With inimitable performances and the oriental concept being established as ONEUS’ signature styles, they have taken their strengths and put out a remarkable album that can only belong in ONEUS’ discography.