Knee Jerk Reaction: “Black Mirror” by ONEUS

I have to say, I’m consistently really impressed by ONEUS. This up and coming boy group has been working so hard at building both their discography and their brand as musicians and artists, and it shows. They’re already on their second comeback this year, and we’re not even halfway through! While I don’t regularly follow ONEUS and just check in on them every comeback, I’ve definitely taken notice of their creativity – and I was curious about how that would manifest itself this time around.

ONEUS has taken on a darker and more dramatic style ever since they appeared on Road to Kingdom, both in music and aesthetic. Their latest title track is called “Black Mirror,” which shares its name with a popular television series – since that show can get SUPER dark, I imagined that ONEUS would do something similar. But while their new song is indeed about people’s relationship with technology, it takes a much more positive spin. It’s funky and upbeat, favoring a lively disco style that’s become the trend these days. Rather than providing a sobering and cynical commentary about how people are too reliant on technology, ONEUS is encouraging us to put down the screens and spend time focusing on each other.

As someone who pretty much shifts from one screen to another all day, I think this an important message and reminder for many people – though I’m not sure how much I can change my own personal situation at this time (since I live alone and abroad in the middle of a pandemic). But to be honest, I was a little surprised that ONEUS didn’t include some kind of narrative related to the lyrics in their music video. I’m not saying that music videos need to have a plot to be entertaining, because they obviously don’t. It just kind of feels like a missed opportunity for ONEUS because they’ve been crafting a reputation as a group of dedicated and detailed storytellers. That being said, the music video is still very high quality and contains a lot of excellently composed shots and interesting editing. So on the aesthetic front, it’s great as always.

Once again, the choreography definitely draws my attention the most. I read somewhere – I think a news translation account on Twitter? – that “Black Mirror” was inspired by Michael Jackson. I can hear that influence in the music, and I can definitely see it in the choreography. Using such a famous artist’s classic dance moves can always be a little tricky since they’re so iconic and well-recognized, but I think that this performance does a really good job. It gives the moves the proper amount of attention without making them carry the whole routine. I also really like the use of sliding mirrors; I thought that was just for the music video, so I was pleased to see it was in the choreography too. K-pop dances don’t always use that many props, but I’m always a fan.

MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL

(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)

CategoryMy Opinion
SongNeutral
DanceLike
Music VideoNeutral

I’d like to note that what I personally feel about “Black Mirror” is very different what I think of it objectively. I’m a little tired of the heavily disco-inspired K-pop tracks thanks to constant overexposure to a certain super popular one (and a couple others), so I just don’t see myself investing in this comeback all that much until I can get some distance from that trend. But putting that aside, I think “Black Mirror” is a great song that has a good chance of appealing to a lot of different audiences. And as always, it lets ONEUS showcase all of their talents – particularly in performance. There’s no denying that they’re a super-talented group, and I hope that they’ll soon get the recognition that they deserve.


(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)

SOURCES: Music video and featured image belong to RBW Entertainment.

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