Rookie superstar group ATEEZ (에이티즈) has been the talk of 2019. The group consists of 8 members (Hong Joong, Seonghwa, Mingi, Yeosang, Yunho, San, Wooyoung, and Jongho) hailing from KQ Entertainment.
Making their debut only at the end of last year, the behemoth of a boy group not only gained millions of fans but even completely sold out their US and European tour. A feat that is nothing short of impressive (especially considering they come from a small, relatively unknown company), ATEEZ just seems to be reaching new heights every day for a group that is barely 9 months old.
A lot of expectations were riding on the group for their new release. “Treasure EP 2: Zero To One” was easily one of the best records of the year in K-pop, despite being released only in January. Talk about the pressure, huh?
[?] ATEEZ TREASURE EP.3 : One To All Concept Photo
— ATEEZ(에이티즈) (@ATEEZofficial) June 4, 2019
ATEEZ also created a buzz with their comeback by allowing their fans, ATINY, to vote for the title tracks. Uploaded on Instagram and YouTube, polls were available via MyMusicTaste for ATINY to decide. In the end, it seems that everyone won—as both tracks had music videos released.
Serving bright colours and fresh faces, it’s time to dive into “Treasure EP.3: One To All”.
The first track “Utopia” serves as the exposition to the album. Right off the bat, we’re hit with the vocals of Jongho and Seonghwa. Slowly reeling you in, leader Hong Joong then snakes us with his addictive rap before the vocal line preps us for the emotionally charged chorus. “Utopia” isn’t just a song; it’s a promise. You can literally feel the amount of burning ambition packed in the lines, complete with a spine chilling high note. The way it ends like a battle cry with members chanting along is also what adds to the energy of the song, making it feel more and more like a declaration of dominance. This song is perhaps the best representation of what ATEEZ are; young, fearless, and born with an unquenchable thirst for what awaits them.
“Illusion”, the first of two singles revealed to the world from the new EP, first echoed of previous K-pop releases. At a glance, it was unmistakably inspired by Pentagon’s “Shine” and Stray Kids’ “Get Cool”. However the full release proved to be laced with individuality. The best part of “Illusion” lies in its bombastic and somewhat majestic chorus; feeling very much like young pirates sailing towards their first adventure. The song is a refreshing take on youth, complete with an ATEEZ twist to it.
“Crescent” is a haunting precursor to “Wave”, complete with an orchestral version of the intro. “Wave”, the rightfully winning title track of the album, complete washes away any sense of doubt fans had about this release.
Despite being a tropical pop song (a genre that K-pop has done to death these past few years), “Wave” completely plunges you into a depth that was unexpected. Deep-voiced rapper Mingi takes on the chorus, singing the cringe-worthy line: “HAKUNA MATATA YA!”—and yet makes it work. “Wave” completely blows us away because it is typically lined with all the ingredients to make what Twitter stans call “a flop”, and yet exceeds all expectations and rises up to be one of the best songs of the album.
The second last track, “Aurora” begins like what one would assume a slow track would be. After all, we just had bangers after bangers; perhaps it’s time to wind down. The boys however, think otherwise. Don’t be fooled by “Aurora”’s docile intro, as it picks up rather quickly in the EDM heavy chorus. The album wraps up with “Dancing Like Butterfly Wings”, yet another anthem to youth. Filled with emotion, naivety, and passion; the track is akin to a coming of age film’s soundtrack. Hong Joong also shows off his impressive duality by rapping and hitting high notes while singing, proving to have a lot more tricks up his sleeve.
Overall, “Treasure EP3: One To All” feels like an anthology for youth. The energy, the emotion, and the earnestness from the album is something that is distinctively a part of growing up.
ATEEZ continues to impress but perhaps makes the biggest statement with this album. If their debut (“Treasure: EP 1”) was them testing the waters, EP 2 was them setting sail, and “One To All” is their fitting ascend to the high seas and beyond.