[Album Review] 6IXENSE (1st Studio Album) – AB6IX

As this is an album review post for a studio album, it is lengthy. 

It is time for another album review. For the month of November, I will be diverting back and forth between albums from October to albums from November so that I can knock out some from the ‘Coming Soon…’ list and also cover some new ones. Today’s focus will be on AB6IX’s first studio album. Usually, group’s don’t launch right into a studio album, especially if it is their first comeback. But somehow AB6IX saw the opportunity and successfully launched the album, 6IXENSE, which features Blind For Love.

6IXENSE Album Cover

1. Be There (기대) – I thought the verses were a good start to the album. There was a nice melodic and vocal touch really made the song appealing. The pre-chorus was also quite nice. I just thought the EDM based chorus ended up being a little too heavy for the surrounding sections. It doesn’t make the song terrible in anyway. I just thought it was a little too ill-fitting. Similarly, the deep voice that ends the first chorus song ruined the ambience that the song was set up with. But apart from that, I did like the vocals and even though the rapping was featured heavily during those EDM moments, I thought they were great as well. (7/10)

2. Blind For Love (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Blind For Love. (8/10)

3. Dandelion (민들레꽃)Dandelion was a really nice song. It takes a break from the EDM and dance nature that the group focused on for their title track and initial opener. Dandelion focuses more on the vocals, allowing a melodic touch to be brought upon the pop song. The rapping, as much as I really like Woojin and Youngmin, didn’t seem necessary in this song. But I guess since it was an OT5 song, they had to be incorporated somehow. (7.5/10)

4. Sunset – I thought Sunset was a very interesting track. The song manages to pack a punch, which is something that I have noticed to be lacking a lot in my more recent song reviews. I think the song does it really well thanks to that vocal slowdown just prior to the chorus. Woojin takes responsibility for this section and his vocals are really good (Hint – they should be used more in the future). This slowdown really made the chorus feel so much more powerful when it launched right into it. I thought the EDM touch was needed in this song, which made the song a little more powerful than if they took on board a typical dance instrumentation. (8/10)

5. _And Me – I am not particularly sure how one would pronounce the song’s title. Is it ‘underscore’ And Me? Or just And Me? Moving along, AB6IX takes an R&B approach with this track which sounds nice. I really liked the rapping in this song, which contrasts nicely with the slow pace of the song. Vocal work is pretty good as well, particularly the ad-libs you would find towards the end of the song. I just wish they added something more throughout the song to make it more memorable and not as forgettable. (7/10)

6. Pretty (이쁨이 지나치면 죄야 죄) – The album takes a turn with a colourful song. Pretty plays more towards the typical bright boy group concept, something that I felt was more MXM’s style (see Ya Ya Ya). The track has a good set of vocals and rapping, with both showing nice technique (there are a few speaking moments in this song which I thought gave it a unique touch). The piano or keyboard in the background was fun and made the song appealing. It does feel like the song conforms to the more typical boy group sound. But it is still enjoyable. (8/10)

7. ShadowShadow is probably my pick for a ‘hidden gem’ on this album. There are a few things about the song that made it stand out for me. I did like the lightness of the song and the harmonies during the chorus. Both elements we have yet to hear on the album. I liked the acoustic guitar in the instrumental. Both the vocal and rapping components were amazing and worked well with this lighter sound. It is another melodic piece that deserves attention. This time around, it stayed melodic throughout and hence why I really enjoyed it. (9/10)

8. Deep Inside – This song is another ‘hidden gem’. Usually, I don’t pick two songs on the album to be the ‘hidden gem’. But you do have to get a fair way through the album before listening to the song. Deep Inside feels very calming and that is thanks to its instrumentation. The song takes a form similar to a ballad but it has modern elements to give it a very grand feel. The vocal work is fantastic. The rapping here was extremely fitting for the soothing and flowy nature of the song as well. Come to the think of it, I think every member shined in this song. (9/10)

9. D.R.E.A.MD.R.E.A.M is performed by both rappers of the group (Youngmin and Woojin). Another fantastic song to add to the album. It seems like the good tracks are concentrated at the end of the album. Youngmin doesn’t seem to get a chance to shine in the title tracks, so it is definitely nice to hear him more clearly with well-deserved lines. Woojin sounds equally as good. My favourite bit has to be when the two raps together just before the final chorus. I also liked the autotuned chorus. Not really my favourite combination, but I didn’t mind it this time around. I also wonder who did the vocal adlibs at the end, as they sounded quite nice. (9/10)

10. Nothing Without You – This track is performed by the vocal line of the group (Daehwi, Donghyun and Woong). Nothing Without You is the actual mandatory ballad on the album. No doubt it, it shows off the vocal work that the rest of the album has yet to show off in full glory yet. From the first second, Daehwi’s vocals really jumped out at me. I did like how they added to the instrumental as the song went on. I didn’t really enjoy the parts prior to the second chorus where they seem to attempt at quick singing to give off a slight rapping impression. I just felt it made the song rather messy. But apart from that, a nice ender to the album. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

6IXENSE Teaser Image

[Review] Blind For Love – AB6IX

The second comeback to kick off the week is AB6IX. The group have proven to be a major rookie to beat, earning awards at recent music award ceremonies and topping the weekly music charts with their debut track, Breathe. Today, the group returns with Blind For Love, which the title track off their very first studio album. I think this is the first time a rookie had released a full-length album within the first year of their career and as part of their first comeback. Let’s see what Blind For Love has to offer.

No doubt that Breathe was going to be hard to exceed (the track has grown a lot on me since my review). After all, their debut track managed to set the bar high for any future release. Blind For Love seems to use that same house genre that Breathe had. But at the same time, it managed to change enough to really be different. Blind For Love did contain one segment as part of the first verse that featured the same lyrics and melody as Breathe, which might be a smart way to carry over the Breathe fanfare to this new song. I have enjoyed the new track as well, with a great vocal opener and the rapping sounds amazing. But not the extent that I had hoped for. The chorus didn’t have that oomph or wow factor that I think AB6IX had in both Hollywood and Breathe (after it grew on me). The song doesn’t even seem to be as catchy this time around. A few more listens might totally change my mind. But at the moment, it seems like I am having deja vu to when I first listened to Breathe and didn’t feel like it was enough.

Something that I am sure every fan and music video player can agree on is how good their visuals looked. And while the extreme close-ups do show off their amazing faces, they also add that dimension of mysteriousness that I noted from before. I also really like the colours of the video. It made everything feel sophisticated and trendy. The best colour combination in this video has to be that gold and black set, which really made me go wow. And with that being said, it seems like the wow factor seems to be in the music video this time around.

While my first impression isn’t related to their performance, I really like their different hair colours. Back to the dance, I really liked how they had that bouncing finger from Breathe in the performance. I also think they opted for a different routine for the Breathe sample. I really like Woojin’s solo moment during his rap sequence and also the ‘Na Na Na‘ movement at the end of each chorus section.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

[Album Review] B Complete (1st Mini Album) – AB6IX

Following the pre-release of Hollywood back in April, expectations were definitely high for the debut of AB6IX. A few weeks ago, the group made their debut with Breathe. And to continue the weekend of album reviews, today we will be having a closer look at AB6IX’s debut mini-album, B Complete. If I was, to sum up their mini-album in a short description, I think ‘this is one group not to mess around with’ would be the most efficient summary for my thoughts. Let’s see why that is the case!

B Complete Mini Album

1..Absolute (完全體) – Kicking off the group’s debut mini-album is probably everything I had expected with the Breathe (refer to my comments in the Breathe review). Absolute is loaded with intensity through its very robust and powerful instrumental. I personally think for a track like this, both the vocals and rapping managed to shined brightly, which is very rare. Though, I would have to admit that this track would probably be hard to pull off every day for a period of 4 or so weeks (the usual promotional period). It does bring it in line with the release of popular boy groups nowadays such as GOT7 and Monsta X, but still, manage to show off some personality and unique flair. (9/10)

2. Shining Stars (별자리) – Probably to offset the intense nature of the preceding track and to bring upon a lighter nature for their title track, Shining Star does a good job of being the middle man. While it does have a light tone, the track still manages to showcase dance elements in their instrumental, which I think works well with the group. Personally, I like it because it shows us that the group has capabilities of being versatile. Usually, we would have waited for the second or third album release from the group to get that feeling. But by switching it up slightly, the new group have indicated that they know what they are doing in this competitive industry. (9/10)

3. Breathe (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Breathe. (8/10)

4. Friend ZoneFriend Zone is light-hearted and definitely more carefree from the rest of their tracks. I like the rapping in this track, which gives the song some attitude. Not too much attitude, but more like the ‘perfect amount’. While the song does feature prominent dance elements in their instrumentation (like their previous tracks), the song does have a tone that feels like a confession song. Saying that does sound like I have been listening too much of the genre. Though, it seems like AB6IX have different ideas regarding the term Friend Zone, as they refer to the Friend Zone as a step getting closer to their crush and not really the Friend Zone that all people dread. (8/10)

5. Light Me UpLight Me Up, to me, is a very stylish upbeat dance track that I find very addictive. There is a sense of elegance that I felt from the track, which I attribute the instrumental for. The pop-based instrumental (which had some trap influences) is very bright yet powerful, which is expected from AB6IX given their album thus far. I find the track to be quite addictive, as well. I think the song is their best, vocally. The rapping also earns a big tick from me. While the track is very enjoyable, I think the best of the best comes towards the end. I am talking about that short trap-like ending we got. I thought it was a nice touch to the end of the track and it made sense when you think of the track as a whole. (9/10)

6. Dance for Two (둘만의 춤) – Taking a complete 180° change is Dance for Two, which strips always any electronic based instrumentation and opts for acoustics and more traditional instrumentation. While AB6IX has stood out for their dance tracks thus far on the album, I guess they too are not immune from the clichés of album releases in the KPOP industry. The song seems to present their vocals and raps in a more delicate state, which was quite a nice change. I must admit that coming from multiple dance tracks, the song does relieve some of the intensity and energy, But the track feels a little too mainstream and (as I said) cliché for my liking. (7.5/10)

7. Hollywood (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for Hollywood. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

B Complete Teaser Image

[Review] Breathe – AB6IX

AB6IX may have been part of that big Wanna One reunion week back in May, which saw Yoon Ji Sung, Bae Jin Young, Hwang Min Hyun (as part of NU’EST) return with music. AB6IX made released their pre-debut track, Hollywood, which left a lasting impression that particular week. And it was promised at the end of the music video for Hollywood that the group would make their debut on the 22nd of May. Well, that day has finally arrived (it was yesterday!) and the five-member group have officially debuted with Breathe.

As I said, Hollywood left an impression on me. Breathe definitely tries to make that same lasting impression but I am confident in saying that the song fell short of that goal. At least, it has for the number of listens I have given the track. The house track definitely has aesthetics, namely that very sleek drop that started off the chorus. It was groovy and definitely appealing. I personally thought that was a really cool aspect of the song. Likewise, I felt the rapping to be another great aspect. Woojin’s deep voice, in particular, was so fitting for the song. The vocals were also definitely another highlight for me. However, the song did feel underwhelming as a whole. I wanted the rush of energy. I wanted something to really make them stand out of the crowd. I wanted something that comes off Hollywood‘s high and really drills AB6IX’s name into my mind. This was good but it didn’t deliver on those desires I had for AB6IX.

I like the video’s edgy vibe. And I feel like the images we saw on the screen really gave off an urban vibe, which I think is equally as suitable for the track. I find the smokiness or the haziness in those scenes other than the choreography was very fitting for the song’s title. I like how it added an extra mysterious layer to the video (or was that just me). I enjoyed how they converge at the end together, which I think ties up the video nicely. I also like their dance set (the one shown in the featured image). Another set but quite cool looking.

I found the performance to be very captivating. I really liked how they linked arms with each other just before the chorus. I thought that was really cool and definitely unique. I have rewatched the performance from today a few times already and I keep on picking up something new each time. I also like the energy in this performance. Not too crazy and upbeat, as that would be mismatching with the song. Instead, it is more subtle.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] Hollywood – AB6IX

Did anyone know that AB6IX would be releasing their pre-debut track today? I haven’t been paying too much to teasers lately, but I do have an understanding of when certain artists will be making their comeback. Not that I am complaining, though. AB6IX is a brand new male group under Brand New Music. They are one of the highly anticipated debuts of the year as the group consisting of two former Wanna One members (Lee Dae Hwi and Park Woo Jin), the MXM duo (Lim Young Min and Kim Dong Min) and newly revealed Jeon Woong.

Their pre-debut single is title Hollywood. Right off the bat, it throws intensity and edginess right at you. It is overwhelming to an extent but in a good way. Not often do songs leave me shaking and wanting more. It could be the cold climate that I am in at the moment but I like to think that it was the song’s effect on me. The song takes on dance trap elements, something that is a little different from the usual electronic and EDM music get nowadays from other releases. The line ‘Welcome To My Hollywood‘, especially Park Woo Jin’s opener, was very impactful but in a subtle way. To me, the rapping was definitely the other highlight of the song. It went extremely well with the intensity. That being said, the vocals were really good as well but the focus just wasn’t on them, unfortunately. I thought the mad energy rush during the final chorus was ideal, as the song needed a little extra push in that department or else it would have been a tad too consistent. Overall, Hollywood leaves me wanting more, perfect for a pre-debut single.

Unfortunately, this is only a performance video. So, there was mainly choreography shots throughout the video. I think the video started off with just the MXM members watching television and wearing their old outfits. But after a while, they get up and stare at the door, before walking through it to the set of the Hollywood music video (Who else noticed the locks were on the hinged side of the door?). One of the members takes off their jacket and MXM become appropriately clothed alongside the rest of the group. After that, it mainly choreography shots and a very surprise announcement at the end, informing fans that the 22nd of May will be their debut date. Mark your calendars because we will only be counting down days from now.

The choreography was amazing. It was extremely fitting for the intensity and I think pairing the song and choreography together just made everything so much more appealing. My favourite section has to be the entire routine for the final chorus as it makes that rush of energy even better!

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.7/10