ONEW - Blue
ONEW is apparently next on SM’s list of solo debuts to give out this year, making him the second-to-last SHINee member to do such, and leaving poor MINHO as the final piece (If MINHO ever decides to a solo debut, because he has mentioned in the past that he doesn’t feel that he is strong enough on his to do such.) Sadly I didn’t really have any time to get caught up on what all ONEW had teased for this release, so I didn’t know what to expect in any sense. I just went in with high expectations since he’s a member coming out of one of my all-time favorite boy groups.
I think that we all knew that ONEW was a more than capable vocalist, but “Blue” thrusts his underappreciated and often underutilized vocals directly into the spotlight. If you’re a fan of tracks that can afflict you with heart-wrenching pain just from the raw emotion and surging energy behind every little bit and piece, this is a song that absolutely delivers. It’s such a graceful and superb performance from ONEW, but the instrumentals play a crucial supplementary role that undeniably adds extra weight to heavy throws of the song.
There isn’t a second of this song that feels out of place, or unintentional. It all feels deliberate and the gravity of the song is palpable at any any given moment. The pressure, pacing, and progressions are brutally unforgiving in their display of unrestrained passion, and the song is truly all the better for it. I wholeheartedly loved how fantastical and poignant this debut was, and I can’t help but feel a proud as a Shawol to see ONEW release something this powerful.
One user on Reddit (atmosphericentry) pointed out that there seemed to be several similarities to the movie Mother! throughout this video, something that I immediately had picked up on after reading the comment. There’s definitely heavy-handed references with the house, and especially the diamond going on. If you haven’t watched the movie, I’ll do my best not to get too much into spoiler territory, but there’s a laundry list of biblical metaphors and imagery in it, which seems to be maintained in this video as well with ONEW literally walking on water.
The people in blindfolds are actually what interested me the most. Typically blindfolds are used as a way to symbolize objectivity and truth, but I think that the director actually wanted to flip that on its head in this video. Whenever we see them, especially towards the end when they’re literally giants towering over ONEW, they seem to be looking down on him, again literally, and being judgmental. Perhaps these people are supposed to represent antis, and the blindfold is more of a literal idea - they talk without seeing the entire truth to matters. That could also pertain to certain media coverage and other people as well, though, so I like that open-ended potential meaning there.
The whole video is also coated in this gorgeous shade of blue, giving it a very surreal feeling from the get go while also adding a depth of melancholy to every shot. It also added an extra level of coherence with the entire water element at play, and it just tied everything together so perfectly. I loved this video so much. It is the definition of gorgeous, and the way that it provokes thoughts and emotions was almost as compelling as the song itself.
“Blue” is one hell of a debut from ONEW. Packed with some of the most emotionally-compelling vocals of the whole year, this song simply does not disappoint. On top of that, the gorgeous music video adds even more impact to an already powerful song, and takes it from being great to being extraordinary. Even if you’re not a fan of ballads typically, I think that this song might strike a chord with you. I’m recommending this one to all K-pop listeners - give it a go if you haven’t already.