The Korean popular music industry moves at a mile a minute: when you have dozens of artists looking for their moment in the spotlight and new releases every week, it sometimes takes a lot for an artist to stand out from the crowd.
ONEWE is already a rarity amongst their peers by virtue of being a band and not a group, joining the ranks of other artists such as N.Flying, Day6 and The Rose. In June they reached new heights with their newest album Planet Nine : Alter Ego, which has quickly become their bestselling album ever.
Yet alongside other performance videos and acoustic videos of the record’s title track Rain to Be, the band have somehow also found the time to create music videos for two other stand-out tracks on the album: Veronica and AuRoRa, both of which are worthy of title track status themselves.
Through doing so, they’ve proved how their artistry has reached new heights of storytelling and creation.
In Rain to Be they take the initial inspiration of rain often feature during their schedules in order to create an upbeat ode to love and memories. It’s both melancholic, yet hopeful and fast-paced enough to sit happily in the wheelhouse of energetic bops in the band’s discography. The music video utilises the dramatic imagery of water flooding a pool, which absolutely drenches the band and a bunch of their instruments (that’s not a joke, check it out). Here, they send out a message that sometimes less is more when it comes to creating a piece of art that catches the eye. The music video has already been the band’s fastest to reach 800k views on YouTube, and such attention is well-deserved.
If Rain to Be is the storm in this era’s music video slate, Veronica and AuRoRa are sunshine and moonlight. Two very different songs that create two very different sound worlds.
Veronica is that joyful party track that you play with the car window down on a midsummer’s eve. Written for a girl the band’s bassist (and one of their songwriters) CyA once knew when he was a kid, the song is full of the innocence of childhood emotion. The lyrics include dreaming of adventures with the eponymous girl amongst the galaxies above; such is the beauty of a childhood love, where at its essence it is exciting and joyful, irrespective of whether or not it is reciprocated.
By contrast, AuRoRa is both an ode to the beauty of its namesake and a reflection of how the band takes inspiration in the world around them in order to make songs that transport the listener to another place. There’s no rain, clouds or sunshine here, and one almost wishes that ONEWE were able to film AuRoRa underneath an actual aurora due to the beauty of the song. Instead, the darker setting and beams of light that simulate starlight help to create an otherwordly atmosphere: here, love and emotion linger deeper and darker, the aurora a metaphor for the way their loved one is ever-present, unforgettable.
What all three music videos have in common is their simplicity. There are no fancy storylines including the members, no over-production (except perhaps all that water in Rain to Be) and a significant focus on the synergy of the band’s performance alongside the natural setting they’re placed in.
Across the band’s entire discography ONEWE have always been able to play with a spectrum of sounds, and if the band’s first full studio album ONE was a record that established them as great songwriters with something to say, in Planet Nine: Alter Ego they’ve expanded their artistry as creators that are capable of taking the concepts of nature, the universe and humanity to weave together a diverse and tight musical narrative across seven songs.
This trinity of music videos has thus serves to more than beautifully complement the era they’ve established with this record. ONEWE might not be able to literally travel the world or the universe but in the ten or so minutes covered by the three videos, you’re embraced by nature through the romanticism of rain, the pure joy of summer sun and, lastly, the transcendent world of one of nature’s rarest phenomena.
Many of us may not be able to travel the world at the moment, but through their music, ONEWE’s endeavored to bring the universe to us.
Now that’s something worth taking notice of.