Despite the fact that Golden Child are one of my favourite groups, 2020 has firmly taught me to never hold any expectations. Compared to both 2018 and 2019, this years singles have felt rather underwhelming, adhering much more to stale trends than forming strong, unique melodies. But while the title tracks have mostly been lacklustre, the consistency of this years album tracks have been much stronger. This puts me in a weird spot of anticipating albums more than their respective singles. Such was the case with One (Lucid Dream), who’s teasers led me to expect another uninspiring downbeat single. Thankfully, its existence is actually a minor miracle.
Although I consider myself a rather generous reviewer, I haven’t given a Korean comeback single a 9 or higher since early April. And since February for a male fronted comeback. Sure there have been some solid tracks but few have really left an impression on me. However, this all changes with the incredible One (Lucid Dream) which is one of the most unique, yet successful comebacks we’ve seen all year. As the final instalment to one of the more musically successful trilogies we’ve seen, One had a lot to live up to and it does so with style.
The opening verse is one of the more abrasive moments within the groups discography, staggering forward on a bed of fractured electronics. It’s off-putting but in the best way possible. But before you can even adjust, the track throws you into a gorgeous, almost ethereal vocal led pre-chorus. It feels really disorientating on first listen but it’s been a while since a track has played with so many dynamics in such a cohesive manner. The same could be said for the second verse, which completely dismisses the trendy momentum killing trap breakdown with a combination of addicting electronics and an equally rapid rap breakdown. It might not be as note-perfect as the one in Wannabe, but boy does it still pack a punch.
Lastly, I want to touch on One‘s chorus. In an age where we’ve grown accustomed to one note hooks or repetitive drops, the existence of a fully fleshed out chorus is a miracle in itself. Although not as instant as some other great hooks, One combines two potent refrains into one knockout centrepiece. Much like Wannabe and Without You, it’s only repeated twice which makes it much more impactful when it does eventually come around. I love the minimalistic opening hook and the thumping bass guitar only adds to the tracks already catchy appeal. The post-chorus refrain, which is probably the tracks catchiest and most memorable moment, follows this hook presenting a much more grandiose background as a choir of strings come into the mix.
My only gripe with the track is that I feel like it ends a little prematurely. I feel like it could have potentially built to one killer Golden Child climax (~ala their RTK performances) but honestly with a song this good it doesn’t matter.
Final Rating: 9.25 / 10