When a month comes to an end, it’s more likely than not that predebut girl group LOONA will reveal a new member. This January, it was Gowon, whose solo “One & Only” is perhaps the most LOONA-esque solo to be released by the members thus far, in that it brings together many of the diverse group’s most salient characteristics. Specifically, “One & Only” mixes LOONA’s girlish youthfulness with the unsettling, at times almost creepy, eccentricity that the predebut group has come to be known for. You have to bear with the weirdness a little, I’ll admit. But the more I replay it, the more convinced I am that this is one of the girls’ best solos yet.
“One & Only” could be called upbeat pop, but that hardly explains the song’s actual style. It’s strange, as I’ve said, and that is as much due to Gowon’s voice as it is to the unnerving sounds and effects heard throughout the instrumental. Gowon’s rapping, especially, has this attention-grabbing quality that only gets catchier the more you hear it. It’s not that she’s spitting a million syllables a minute so much that her talky delivery turns the rap into a beguiling sort of chant, which is particularly effective in the bizarre prechoruses where she raises the pitch of her voice to follow the eerily miniscule intervals by which the instrumental’s composition is moving up the scale. While the prechorus bridges grab the listener’s attention right out of the gate, the verses and hook are serious growers—I’m now humming along to “my one and only lo-o-o-ove!” every time I hear it.
The single’s one B-side, “Seesaw,” features previously revealed members Chuu and Kim Lip, and I could not have been more pleased to hear it. Just last month I was complaining that LOONA’s B-sides are often boring, but “Seesaw” is a deliciously dreamy electronic track where the ladies’ vocals feature impressively and the dynamic structure is fully fleshed out. I can’t get over the rhythm of the “u-ra-ka-ra, I’m like seesaw” hook which mimics the creaking sound a seesaw makes when tipping back and forth. “Seesaw” is a testament to the power LOONA members have when they unite, and it’s hard to imagine the sparks that will fly when the group eventually debuts with all twelve. After Gowon, only one member remains to be revealed. Following the confirmation of the official lineup, Gowon along with members Yves, Chuu, and the remaining unknown will probably be taking part in unit activities, and then—debut time! It’s likely to come before the end of the summer if not earlier, and personally, I can’t wait. LOONA promises to be one of the most versatile and unique girl groups of the new generation, and if they’re the future of K-pop, then I’m all for it.
ONE & ONLY: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Bop and boppy!
Take a look at Gowon’s “One & Only” MV below: