Album Review: Wanna One – 1X1=1 (TO BE ONE)

Release Date: August 7, 2017


  1. To Be One (Intro.)
  2. 활활 (Burn It Up)
  3. 에너제틱 (Energetic)
  4. Wanna Be (My Baby)
  5. 이자리에 (Acoustic Ver.)

Total Runtime: 00:15:24

Recommended for: obviously Wannables, maybe Produce 101 fans, and those who appreciate an album with a variety of tracks.

NOT recommended for: Debbie Downers, Negative Nancies, and nitpickers alike.

Wanna One finally made their long-awaited début, with mini album 1X1=1 (TO BE ONE). The group consists of Kang Daniel, Park Ji Hoon, Lee Dae Hwi, Kim Jae Hwan, Ong Seong Woo, Park Woo Jin, Lai Kuan Lin, Yoon Ji Seong, Hwang Min Hyun, Bae Jin Young and Ha Sung Woon; Produce 101 Season 2’s winners. Energetic was chosen as the album’s title track via public voting, a song produced by Pentagon’s Hui (the composer of Never). The digital album has five (5) tracks including one intro track. Will Wanna One meet our sky-high expectations?

Track Review:

Track 1 – To Be One (Intro.)

For an intro track, To Be One is quite expansive. To Be One is a prelude, and its purpose is to tease us with their musical colours and styles served as an excellent hors d’oeuvre for the album’s entrée. This is Wanna One, brilliant and vibrant. Welcome to K-Pop, Wanna One!

Track 2 – 활활 (Burn It Up)

Burn It Up is a powerful house track, and you can see why the song was considered as a title track for the album. Everything from this song screams Wanna One (if you followed the show). The producers did a splendiferous job of imprinting the group’s unique elements into Burn It Up to make sure that the track won’t fall under the common curse of being formulaic and paint-by-number. I personally enjoy listening to this song despite general backlash the track has received ever since. Don’t listen to them.

Track 3 – 에너제틱 (Energetic)

Here comes the definitive dance pop track that will be the talking point for everything that is Wanna One until their next release. Having won the public vote and chosen as the album’s title track, the expectation is surreal and tremendous. First few seconds in and you’d realize that Energetic is rather unenergetic. The piano background, however, is a nice yet subtle homage to the piano instrumental of Produce 101’s famous theme song Pick Me as a reminiscence to their root. The leitmotif effect takes over and the track is experiencing an increase in energy. The song structure is not of cookie-cutter formula. The verses are varied, from slow to medium tempo. While the pre-chorus and bridges carried different weights altogether, it’s done enough to steer the track away from being prosaic. I truly appreciate the immaculate implication of percussions in this song. The beats really keep you anticipating and bopping while at it. The vocals, fortunately, are more dominant than the accompaniment. A different case might ruin the song. Most of the vocals are contributed by Jae Hwan, Sung Woon, Seongwoo, and Minhyun; and they did an excellent job of providing a stable performance throughout. I have no qualm towards the group’s vocal while the instrumental itself is simple and not overproduced. Energetic is the album’s crown jewel and deservedly so.

Track 4 – Wanna Be (My Baby)

Wanna Be (My Baby) is an exuberant and sweet pop track, you can say that it is cute as well. The members are bright and young, I don’t want to repeat myself again and again but (why not?) the producers and YMC did a great job of choosing the right tracks for this album. This song is perfect for your chill summer. There are couples of witty references in this song too. Try to find some and you’ll like Wanna Be (My Baby) even more!

Track 5 – 이자리에 (Acoustic Ver.)

Ah. A customary ballad. Made acoustic. Nothing avant-garde. Despite that, Always is a genuine chef d’oeuvre. And for a ballad lover (that’s a serious understatement) like me, a hard-hitting ballad is always a win (no pun intended). Their vocals are mesmerizing supported with soft and sparse accompaniments. The members harmonized well which amplified a better listening experience for us to enjoy too. Easily my favourite track in this album!



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