WANNA ONE – 1X1=1 (TO BE ONE)
1. To Be One (Intro.)
2. Burn It Up
4. Wanna Be (My Baby)
5. Always (Acoustic Ver.)
6. Pick Me (Wanna One Ver.) (CD Only)
7. Never (Wanna One Ver.) (CD Only)
The winners of Produce 101 Season 2 have debuted as Wanna One. Their first mini-album is '1X1=1 (To Be One)' and has 7 tracks (two that are only on the CD version). About half of the songs are remakes from the show itself, but four of them are brand new. The 11 members are Kang Daniel, Park Ji Hoon, Lee Dae Hwi, Kim Jae Hwan, Ong Seong Woo, Park Woo Jin, Lai Guan Lin, Yoon Ji Sung, Hwang Min Hyun, Bae Jin Young and Ha Sung Woon.
"To Be One" starts out absolutely strong and edgy, with a hip-hop beginning, and the vocals on the pre-chorus are great and high. At times it reminded me of B.A.P, and that's a definitely strong start.
The first full song is "Burn It Up," and it is definitely suffused with attitude and edginess. There's a hip-hop component to it, as well as some loud in-your-face EDM. Just the way I like it, with some staccato and raps, and a driving beat. And it's what the intro track set us up for. There's even a more cleanly sung bridge before it heads back into heavier territory.
"Energetic" is the title track, and in my opinion, it's not the best song. It's alright, having some R&B and house elements, but after the first two awesome songs, it just seems slightly bland. It's well put together, and it does have a nice beat to it. It also seems to show off the vocal talents of the boys more, which is probably the whole point of it. It's not terrible, though I kind of wanted the song to live up more to its name.
"Wanna Be (My Baby)" is probably the most summery out of the bunch. The song has some more traditional pop rhythms and seems very upbeat, it also has the vocal power that I love in the chorus. And it wears it's synth effects on its sleeve and comes through pretty loud and clear outside of the singing. The chorus is danceable and uplifting. It's a fun tune.
"Always" is a remake, originally sung by the final 20 trainees in Season 2. This time, it's all Wanna One and all acoustic. It's also a ballad, which means I have some pretty exacting standards for it. It also meets those standards. It's very tenderly sung, and despite an overdose of falsetto, the instrumentation is pretty spare. Not only that, they don't drown out the singer at the end with heavy production. That's not to say a giant orchestral crescendo, but it's turned down enough where the vocalist doesn't have to scream. A nice, soothing song.
The last two are CD only, and also remakes. Familiar to anyone who watched Produce 101, including the iconic, "Pick Me," sung in both seasons of the show. Regardless of how you feel about 'em, they're both here.
Ultimately, this is a strong debut. I like how they've adopted a more masculine concept and gone with that. There's a lot less whining about how their girl left them and a lot more burn this place to the ground. There's also a definite energy to the tracks here, a dance aesthetic that I hope they keep through all their concepts.
MV REVIEW -- "ENERGETIC"
At the beginning, the boys show off their skinship in a different way, a few of the boys offering their fingers while the ones behind them play them like piano keys. They then launch into dance when the music turns up. Then they do various boy things, like baseball, hanging out in their apartment looking cool and being buried in donuts(!) In some cases, it's meant to be silly and lighthearted.
The dancing was what set this apart for me. They go through their dance moves, all choreographed and sleek, their limbs slicing through the air. I love a good dance set, so this was fun. I could have used a bit less waving in front of the crotch, but I suppose I should be used to that by now.
The individual shots were unintentionally funny sometimes, like the apartment chill scene. I don't always lie down on my skateboard and ride it across the floor, but when I do I must be in a boy band. Other times it was a little silly, but then the song is meant to be lighthearted as well.
Generally, this was enjoyable. I like the song, even if I don't think it's quite as good as "Energetic," and the lighting sometimes really turns the cool factor to 11. Still, it's a fun romp.
MV REVIEW -- "BURN IT UP"
This particular MV should have been the first one released, perhaps even as a teaser for the album and the band. Why? Because it's mainly a performance video, where they pause and introduce each member.
They adopt different costuming for this video, as they're all in suit jackets and slacks. It's also not a stage performance, as it's made to look like they're on the beach, and in the dark and rain. Still, they looked absolutely dynamic and bad ass here, possibly owing to the fact that it was black and white.
Well, mostly, there were a few effects that were in color, muted so as to not to stand out. There was also a horse, for some unknown reason, randomly appearing in the middle of the MV (any conclusions drawn at this point are entirely the fault of the reader).
If they wanted to establish a no-holds-barred image for the band, they should have used this. This particular MV is exciting and drenched in attitude. If you wanted to see the boys as uber cool, dark, and mysterious, see this video. If you don't, well, check it out anyway.
MV SCORE: 8
ALBUM SCORE: 8.3