Before the debut of AB6IX, duo MXM shone a spotlight on members Donghyun and Youngmin. The guys even released a full album in 2018, which included a solo track from each. Even with this added attention, I’ve never gotten a strong sense of Youngmin as a performer. Judging from all we’ve heard so far, he seems to gravitate towards a laid-back, mid-tempo vibe that mixes hip-hop with the kind of sing-song vocals often preferred by rappers. Yet, he was also the co-composer of the groovy Shadow — one of the more dynamic tracks on AB6IX’s latest album.
Nothing about Break Up (좋게 끝내) feels particularly revelatory. It’s very much the definition of a moody boy group track, complete with all the instrumental quirks we’ve come to expect from this era in K-pop. The energy is languid throughout, and successfully captures the angsty vibe of the track. The problem is, we’ve been fed an unending supply of boy group angst for months now. It’s difficult for a song like Break Up to stand out.
When he’s with the group, Youngmin is primarily a rapper, but Break Up gives him greater opportunity to stretch himself as a vocalist. He’s competent in this regard, especially when it comes to K-pop emoting. But, a track like this would have benefited from a more dynamic blend of voices. As much as I loathe the industry’s current reliance on vocal effects, I think they’re pretty well-utilized here. Youngmin’s individuality remains intact, even as the tuning and layering gives the chorus extra power. Melodically, Break Up doesn’t offer much to write home about, though parts of its refrain remind me of something BTS might have recorded back in their 2014-15 era. Still, I doubt whether this song will have as much staying power as those releases.
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