The Golden Age of Wanna One
Despite controversies and disbandment looming overhead, Wanna One is ready to usher in a ‘golden age’ of prosperity and happiness with their second mini-album 0+1=1 (I Promise You).
The eleven-member group formed through season 2 of the popular idol survival program Produce 101 has become one of K-Pop’s biggest global acts since their debut last year. To say that fans were anticipating this release would be an understatement; the album destroyed the group’s past pre-order record with over 700,000 pre-orders before its release on March 19. The hysteria surrounding Wanna One is real and fans just can’t get enough of them.
The album’s seven tracks are currently charting on popular Korean music charts like MelOn and Genie; however, they’re not as high as expected due to an accident on their comeback livestream wherein the group’s members made comments without knowing they were being recorded. Both the group and its representative company YMC Entertainment have since apologized for their indiscretion.
Despite controversy raining over the comeback, Wanna One’s 0+1=1 (I Promise You) is genuinely a strong album that juxtaposes explosive trap sounds with ethereal ballads. 0+1=1 (I Promise You) shows how Wanna One has matured since their first EP and deals with topics of love, sorrow, and the future. Given the group’s confirmed disbandment date on December 31, every album released by Wanna One is a treasure for their fans, this one even more so because it highlights a step in a new direction for the group.
Wanna One is essentially lightning in a bottle; a group individually picked by their fans on television that worked out beautifully and soared to an almost unimaginable level of success. The members are living in the golden age of their careers so far, and now they’ve allowed listeners a glimpse into their world with this new record. Ready to jump in?
Snap Back with “Boomerang”
Wanna One’s comeback single, “Boomerang,” is a dominant, electro-trap track with a powerful beat, alarms, and synthesizers at the forefront of the melody. The song is Wanna One’s first attempt at a darker, alpha-male concept similar to artists like Monsta X and they’ve pulled it off well. The lyrics center around the idea of wishing for love to return back to the members like a boomerang. The chorus of the song is huge, full of blaring synthesizers and a heavy backbeat alongside the members’ passionate singing. The song is reminiscent to SF9’s “Fanfare,” so fans of that bold, explosive sound will likely enjoy “Boomerang” too.
With everything happening in the background melody of the track, “Boomerang” should be an overwhelming listen. Instead, the song’s arrangement keeps it from becoming too much for the listener, balancing out all of the brash noises into a fiery, eclectic song that’s easy to rock out to. This is the song no one would want to miss being performed at Wanna One’s concert.
The music video for “Boomerang” is equally as fun as the track. It opens up with a scene featuring Daniel as he narrowly dodges an arrow to reveal that he bleeds gold. The scenes then trade off between individual member shots and a flawlessly executed dance routine. To compliment their golden age concept, the sets are all black and gold with the members dressed in black and gold marching band jackets as they perform.
The video also required certain members to sing and perform activities backwards so that the footage could be played in reverse for an extra cool factor. It was fascinating to watch Jaehwan’s water bottle refill with spilled water as he belted out a high note and to see Daehwi twirl as colorful bouncy balls jump back into the bucket he’s holding.
Wanna One’s comeback single “Boomerang” is the darkest concept the group has taken on so far. The song and its music video are a worthy exploration of sound and style as the group discovers their strength as artists. It’s an explosive, exhilarating track that, just like its title, will have fans coming back to listen again and again long after its release date.
Wanna One’s Promise
On March 5, Wanna One released the song “I.P.U.,” dedicated to their fans on their 333rd day since they made their first, official appearance. The title is the shortened form of ‘I Promise You.’ The song’s lyrics promise to never forget another person who was there for the members throughout all of their struggles: “I promise I will never forget / I was born anew because of you / I’ll be better by your side / I promise I will never let you go / you became the light of my world.”
It’s a song that will tug on the heartstrings of any fan who passionately voted and watched the members of Wanna One on Produce 101. Because of the show, fans watched and supported their favorites as they struggled to debut, which brought both fans and the group closer together. The poignant lyrics are backed by an EDM beat and synthesizers to turn it into a happy, upbeat dance track.
Though the original version of “I Promise You” is great on its own, the second version on the album is even better. The arrangement of light piano, synthesizer, and strings help the lyrics feel more heart-wrenching when surrounded by softer, more simple sounds. With this romantic harmony, it’s easy to see why they call it the proposal version!
The music video for “I.P.U.” shows the members holding gifts and golden rings as they prepare to confess their feelings. Jihoon has a standout, out-of-this-world-adorable moment in which he is wearing a bear costume and looks into the camera to show that his hair has been twisted into tiny bear ears. Compared to “Boomerang,” “I.P.U.” shows off the sweeter, vulnerable side of Wanna One; their ability to pull off both dark and light concepts so flawlessly shows how talented the group truly is.
Entering the Golden Age
The rest of the tracks on the album are equally as strong as “Boomerang” and “I.P.U.” The album’s opening track, “Gold,” is a synth-heavy, dreamy EDM song full of soft high notes by Minhyun and Jaehwan that are simple and beautiful. It doesn’t pack any big musical punches, but it doesn’t need to. Instead, the song feels like a warm welcoming to Wanna One’s world.
Another track worth a listen is “Day By Day,” a song that is almost impossible not to sing along to after the first listen. The chorus is a peppy, classic boy-band style declaration of love that is irresistible, especially when backed by groovy, mellow synthesizers. The inclusion of a cowbell in the background of the chorus is an interesting choice—one that is hard to tell if it works well. It’s common for K-Pop songs to want to throw in a weird sound or two, but the sound can be a bit distracting once discovered when listening, especially when the members’ voices should be at the forefront of the song. However, Jisung and Daniel harmonizing at the end of the track is a true highlight and definitely worth the cowbell.
From exploring the darker, enticing concept of “Boomerang” to the honey-sweet “I.P.U.,” Wanna One is at the top of their game. With songs as good as these, we wish that Wanna One could stay golden forever.