Starting off this week are some new comebacks from two artists, both of which I am keen to get right in and review. The first artist I want to cover is CIX, who returns to Korea for the first time in just about a year with their new single 458 and the mini-album OK Episode 1: OK Not. I am particularly keen on CIX’s release because of its music video teaser release last week which perked my interest. The last time we saw the group on the Korean stage was through promotions of their first studio album (OK Prologue: Be OK) and WAVE. Since then, the group had released music in Japan (yet to be reviewed in the International Song Review segment) and held their first concert.
458 is a very intriguing track. It begins off with some striking piano work that brings forth a mysterious and dark colour, while the deep and lower register vocals keeps it captivating and alluring. As it progresses to the chorus, everything starts climbing in the pre-chorus and there is a hopeful tinge behind Yonghee’s vocals. I quite enjoy this sequence and think it is the best part of the song. However, this is closely followed by the chorus, which lands 458 into the electro hip-hop sphere and gives the song some impact. I like how it maintains that low register and aligns itself with that dark and mysterious atmosphere, yet still managing to change the song’s dynamism with the unsettling but also enchanting electronic synths. The second verse and chorus feels like a repeat of the first round of both sequences, just with the addition of some extra subtle percussion in the second verse. Following the second chorus, we are given a dance break that continues the presence of that same unsettling scratchy synth from the chorus. I liked how some of the ad-libs find themselves here. The rapping that follows was good, however it could have been more energetic and dynamic. I think an element of change was needed in 458 just about here and the rapping would have been a great conduit for this. The chorus repeats one final time, before we get an additional distortion at the end and a blip to bring 458 to a close. While I do appreciate the consistency in a song like this, 458 could have used one extra switch up just to give it some extra punch. But overall, 458 remains captivating throughout for me.
As mentioned in the introduction, this comeback had intrigued me via its music video teaser. The dark yet modern aesthetics were definitely worthy of a shoutout. It, like the song, was quite impactful and definitely was jaw-dropping at times. The members were also all shown in visually stunning and aesthetic manners throughout this video. Some of the scenes show the members being winged or even had their wings clipped, suggesting fallen angels are related to the storyline. But aside from that, I have no clue on what is happening in the video. That ending suggests we might be getting another series of interlinked music videos. Let me know if you have any theories regarding the story or meaning behind the video.
What a performance. I really enjoyed the balance between the softer movements and the more intense moments. There was also a slight sensual tinge to the performance as well, which helped smooth out some of the moves and made it a strong performance for the group. The dance break could have been a bit more show-stopping if I am being honest, as I expected the performance to really climax there. But I guess the presence of the ad-libs from Bae Jinyoung got in the way there.
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10