Despite finding early success thanks to their Produce-fueled notoriety, AB6IX have had a rough go of it. They’ve rarely been able to promote as a full group, sidelined by injury and now scandal. The Answer (답을 줘) marks their first comeback after leader Youngmin permanently withdrew from the group following his DUI. It will take some time to get used to AB6IX as a quartet, especially given Youngmin’s popularity. The Answer was originally scheduled for release early this month, but was pushed back to allow for re-recording.
The track was written and produced by Zico, which elicited an unimpressed eyebrow-raise from me. I mean, this is a group anchored by the burgeoning songwriting of Lee Daehwi. I know that Zico has been popular this year, but I’d rather hear AB6IX develop their own sound rather than jump on someone else’s. And, that’s my core issue with The Answer. It’s not a bad K-pop song, but it sounds more like Zico than AB6IX. Their trademark deep house production has been wiped away in favor of a trendy funk/trap hybrid.
Still, The Answer sparks enough upbeat vibes to act as a decent addition to this summer’s K-pop slate. Its verses are too sing-song hip-hop for my taste, but they have a playful energy that feels refreshing. The chorus is stronger, bolstered by a laid-back bit of guitar that has a jazzy appeal to it. The chanted post-chorus has potential, but is undone by the tinny trap beats that support it. It’s during these moments that I can really hear the Zico influence, and I can’t help but wonder how The Answer would have sounded if that trap had been replaced by a propulsive club beat – the likes of which you just know Daehwi would prefer.
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