Despite its many controversies in its home country of Korea, the Produce franchise has blossomed in neighbouring countries China and Japan. JO1 are the product of the first Japanese season of the show and debuted with the rather generic Infinity. It was a track that didn’t do much to excite but with the groups two followup singles, I think I’m fully on board the JO1 train. I’ll get to GO in another post but now I want to talk about the rambunctious OH-EH-OH.
Produced by Pentagon’s Hui, OH-EH-OH feels like a quantum leap in quality from the groups debut effort. It’s a song that fully embraces the kind of aggressive deep house based dance pop that Hui really popularised with Wanna’s One’s masterful debut (and still the best Produce song) Energetic and one that’s right up my alley. It’s a powerful dance track that genuinely feels like a whole song with an identity of its own. A real development from the faceless nature of Infinity. I love the consistent drive of the verses and the fact that the track rarely lets up. A healthy dose of rock guitar doesn’t hurt either and really helps it feel much more substantial and weighty. It’s a relentless approach and while that may deter many, is perfect for a big pop lover like me.
But while the arrangement is obviously very strong, I think what hinders the track in the end is the performance. Much of this is down to my own personal tastes but none of the rappers of JO1 really connect with me. This could change over further releases but so far I’m not really vibing with the rapping style of the groups rappers. But the vocals are pretty strong, especially during the chorus which ramps up in epic style.
In fact, Hui’s touch is most felt during the chorus, which feels like it could have been ripped right out of a Pentagon song. But the thing is, OH-EH-OH feels much stronger than anything Pentagon have released since Sha La La and is leaps and bounds ahead of both Dr. Bebe and Basquiat. This is the kind of style that Hui really excels at and the final product is all the more stronger because of it, swirling with the kind of sleek intensity that’s been missing from many singles of late. It’s a track that feels more K-pop than J-pop but that’s to be expected from the producers. But if this is the kind of material we’re going to be getting from the group in the future, then they’ve just found a new fan.
Final Rating: 8.75/10