WANNA ONE — '1¹¹=1 (POWER OF DESTINY)'
1. Destiny (Intro.)
2. Spring Breeze
3. One's Place/Home
5. One Love
7. Hide and Seek
9. 12th Star (CD Only)
10. Pine Tree
11. Beautiful (Part ll)
Wanna One has just dropped its first and last LP, '1¹¹=1 (POWER OF DESTINY).' It's a bittersweet release. On the sweet side, it's the most tunes they've ever put on one disc. But it's bitter because this LP is their last hurrah before disbanding. The 11 boys do what they do best on here, giving you 11 songs as a final goodbye.
"Destiny" is nice and soft. It's easy on the ears and has an uplifting chorus. I like how the electronic effects don't interfere with the harmonies. They're just there for decoration. The raps are okay, but a more aggressive flow would be inappropriate for the song. It's just fine the way it is, and a great intro piece to boot. "Spring Breeze" is the title track, and again it's more soft pop. It picks up a little bit, gaining a bit of steam, and crosses into club-banger territory before long. It's way more my speed. And there's a bit of hopefulness here in this song. I like the raps here, rapid-fire bars sprinkled around more conventionally sung lines, and integrated quite well.
"One's Place/Home" seems like it's more contemplative than the other tunes. But just like the other tunes, it gets harder and faster, getting a beat and picking up more instruments and switching up the tempo. It's an interesting effect, but it wears a bit thin after a bit. The rapping rang from sing-songy to a little better all in the same rap segment. I like the emotions they show in this one. I think it's pretty effective and probably could compete with the title track.
"One Love" pulls the same tricks as the other songs, where it starts out soft and gets faster. I like the raps in this one, where it ushers them in at the same time it picks up. There's a playful feel to this one, at times, which makes it fall on the ears a lot easier. Even the raps sound a little happier than they might otherwise. "Deeper" seems more like solid soft pop. It retains its ballad-like structure throughout, sounding billowy, the vocals echoing through the whole song. The raps sound a little flat, so they're slightly jarring at first, but eventually, even the rapping gets the echoes, to fall in line with the rest of the tune. It's an okay tune, but I thought the chorus was a little repetitive. Now, "Hide and Seek" almost hits ballad territory, except it picks up slightly in the next verse. I got the sense of some desperation, maybe some confusion through the vocals. The buttery smooth chorus tends to salve the fears and doubts that seemed to be in the main verses. I like it because it's a little different than the other offerings.
And we have the club-banger "Awake!", which is probably the only dance track on here. That one really hit me, because I was waiting for something like that. It still has some soft pop remnants that remind you of the other tracks on here, but I like it. It got my blood pumping and my feet ready to move. The CD-only track "12th Star" is a little different. It largely keeps its ballad status, but it includes a sweeping chorus instead. I'm not a fan of the raps on this one. I felt like they phoned it in and sounded unenthusiastic. It's a sweet song, but I could have done without the rappers on here. It's a soft pop tune, like all the others, and it sounds in some ways gentler and more controlled. "Pine Tree" is a power-ballad, tenderly and earnestly sung in the main verses. It almost sounds like he's telling them something, and they're answering him back in the chorus. The chorus sounds very emotional and powerful as well, quite confidently sung. I wonder how easy this would be to reproduce in concert. Probably easy for Wanna One. The setup for "Beautiful Part 2" is that it's a cassette tape that someone pops in the player. It's an interesting concept, that makes you think almost like he's remembering a lover and popping in a mixtape that reminds him of her. The song follows much the same structure as the previous tracks, so I don't see that it added much to the album. It's a companion to last November's "Beautiful."
This is a pretty solid collection of songs. But one of the problems I have is a lot of the songs sound the same. I'm not sure why, whether it's the tempo, the vocals, the instrumentation, or some combination of the three. They've got a distinctive sound, it's just that the songs lack a real identity. "Awake!" is probably the one I remember most, mainly because it was so different from all the other tunes on there. I mean, listen to these songs individually. Hearing them piecemeal like that, they're all good songs. But all together, it's hard to tell one song from another. As a sendoff, it's not the best album they could have done. I think they're stronger using the EP format. But still, we have to bid goodbye to a K-pop mainstay whose flame burned very bright during their time on the stage. And now the flame will burn in the hearts of Wannables forever.
The MV itself is fairly simple, even though there's a lot of imagery. There are scenes of the boys hanging out together, dancing, and performing both together and alone. It ends with Seungwoo playing a cassette tape (just like in all their other MVs).
The dancing is pretty good, despite the tempo being somewhat slow. They go through their litany of moves, sweeping gestures, and sudden drops. These guys know what they're doing, making confident, exciting moves even during a slower song like this one. The boys kill it here, and having all 11 members in the scene together is something to behold.
Some of the imagery is striking. I like the scene where it almost looks like they're on the surface of the red planet Mars, stars glowing in the background. There's another scene where the boys are all clad in white, dancing in front of what looks like some kind of temple. This MV may be many things, but it's not boring.
So, yeah, if you're going to do an MV, at least show me something interesting. And the sets for the dance sequences interspersed with the scene of friendship really made this thing pop. It gets a good score for that.
MV SCORE: 8.6
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0