After a debut year highlighted by an addictive deep house sound, AB6IX’s music faced growing pains in 2020. And with the departure of their leader, it felt like the group was at a crossroads. This resulted in a pair of comebacks that were polar opposites of one another, leading me to question exactly what AB6IX wanted their music to stand for. Repackaged track Stay Young (불시착) further complicates things, but it’s a pleasant, uplifting pop song.
Co-written by the group’s own Park Woojin alongside a couple of the Monotree guys, Stay Young doesn’t sound like what I’d expect from a track with his name attached to it. The song is less hip-hop than it is shiny synthpop. And though its various elements are hit and miss, I appreciate the sense of optimism and brushes of pop melody.
Stay Young is highlighted by a brilliant pre-chorus. The orchestral synths are just gorgeous, and underline the exciting melody with a welcome sense of drama. This is Monotree at their best, picking the perfect textures to leave maximum impact. The injection of guitar during the song’s climax is another highlight. In between, we get some ho-hum verses that stall momentum when they could be heightening the track’s inherent theatricality. Meanwhile, Stay Young’s chorus is like a microcosm of the song itself. There are moments of brilliance, but the refrain could do with a greater sense of focus. Its first half feels too offhand, while the second half injects a weightier melody that emphasizes the song’s strong points. As a whole, I think that Stay Young is a frustrating success, like a few rays of sun poking through a layer of clouds.
Frustrating success indeed. However, if we compare this to their last comeback- it is leaps and bounds better. I prefer this lighter sound for them anyday of the year compared to the concept of salute. It was pleasing to listen to, and while there was nothing game changing about it, it was able to make me smile with its simplicity. Smiling > cringing = good for me. 8/10.
I was also really impressed with the pre-chorus. I wanted the chorus to blossom into something bigger though. The song is nice & cute, but I feel like it just has a small presence. It has some great moments, but it fell flat for me overall & I probably won’t seek it out to listen to it again.
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That’s exactly what I was thinking: I was waiting for the chorus to grow into something more sweeping, something fuller.
I thought the prechorus was the chorus. But other than that, my mind drifted away all three times I tried to listen through.