Yes! This, folks, is what we call character development! The nation’s little brother Samuel has broken out of the candy-crush pop mold of his first two singles and is back with “One,” an electronic track that features Jung Ilhoon of BTOB. Compared to previous title tracks, “One” is dark, but it stays true to the core of Samuel’s identity, carrying on the tradition of dance that he established predebut on survival show Produce 101. Actually, this song is probably even dancier than “Sixteen” and “Candy.” It’s certainly better, not to mention more unique. This is the perfect step forward for Samuel, and it opens up possibilities that weren’t even on the table before now.
If I’ve ever complained that the music Brave Entertainment gives Samuel is lacking in substance, “One” begs to differ. The song takes off from a starting point of a disco triple beat, which is already a recipe for success if I ever heard one. Before you know it, “One” is unfolding a formidable assembly of hooks and shapeshifting verses. Every last melody is meticulously crafted and creatively layered among other tunes and sounds. If anything, I wished the track had pushed those hooks harder, perhaps replacing the ending “la la la”s with that awesome “don’t tilt your head, tilt your head, tilt your head” hook from earlier choruses, or with a repetition of the dance break from before Ilhoon’s rap. Samuel himself is at his very best—he gets a chance to show off some style in a way that he wasn’t able in past title tracks—and Ilhoon’s rap is pretty much indispensable. The rest of the EP, also named “One,” moves on the concept development presented by the title track. Nothing compares to “One,” to be honest, but there are still some goodies. “I Can’t Sleep” with its simple but gorgeous R&B melody is a personal favorite. All in all, this is one of the most successful comebacks I’ve seen from a Produce 101-based act in months, and I can’t wait to see where Samuel goes next.
ONE: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Bop!
Take a look at Samuel’s “One” MV below: