While many have expressed their doubts and issues both conceptually and musically with SuperM, they’re a group I’ve completely fallen in love with. The group have teased the release of a full length album with pre-releases like the fantastic 100 and the slightly less impressive but still very strong Tiger Inside. One serves as the lead single of the super groups first full length album and is described as a hybrid of two tracks, Monster and Infinity. It’s the first notable time SM have gone through with such an approach since 2012, when SHINee stunned the world with one of the greatest pop songs of all time. Given this pretence, One was never going to truly live up to the expectations I had placed on it. But with all things considered, it does result in what is probably my favourite SuperM single yet.
Opening with a lurching industrialised instrumental, One doesn’t really have the most promising of introductions. Sure it’s solid but when you compare it to something like “SHINee’s Back”, it doesn’t quite hold up. I enjoy the almost demented sounding synth loop during the verses although I personally would have liked an additional bed of pulsing synths or those operatic backing vocals from Infinity. The rather cringeworthy english lyrics don’t really help either but I’ve learnt to not fret too much over modern day lyrical content in songs (especially after listening to things like Ice Cream and *shudder* WAP). This rapping was also something that bugged me throughout. The rapping here just wasn’t as strong or as engaging as I would have expected from the boys. Especially considering how much personality the verses of 100 and Jopping contained. It’s a shame really because the vocals throughout One really are incredible. However, One begins to come into its own during the pre-chorus where the tempo increases and the ascending melody rises to a point where it seems as though it’s about to just explode.
And boy does it.
There are few moments in pop music where a chorus can singlehandedly redeem many of the issues I have with a track. And One‘s chorus is definitely one of those. It’s soaring, towering vocal arrangement is what dreams are made of and is SM entertainment at its best and most daring. This is probably the first time we’ve seen the group tackle a fully formed, meaty melody for a title track and the results are spectacular. It’s instantly captivating and something that truly feels like a throw down the gauntlet moment. And while One loses some of its shimmer during the following verse, the final one and half minutes are pure pop nirvana. The very epic sounding synth line that underlies the hook is a brilliant addition and really cements the grandiose nature of the track in your memory. This coupled with some knockout vocal moments during the bridge and a fantastic Lucas fronted outro and you’ve got a song that feels like a real pop moment.
One is not perfect and it does have its faults. But when it hits its stride, it’s out of this world. And honestly, that’s good enough for me.
Final Rating: 9/10