Review

Song Review: AB6IX – Close

AB6IX - CloseWhen it was released in 2015, I never would have imagined SHINee’s View would kick off years of deep house K-pop tracks. It’s the musical trend that refuses to quit, and I fear we’re reaching over-saturation. I enjoy deep house as a genre, but I keep waiting for K-pop to remove the “deep” and jump into more interesting iterations of house music. In the meantime, we get songs like AB6IX’s Close (감아), which prove there’s still life to be wrung from this familiar template.

Close hearkens back to AB6IX’s debut year, where songs like Breathe and Blind For Love cast them in a stylish aesthetic. This time, the guys have enlisted producers Coach & Sendo, who crafted a few 2020 highlights for The Boyz and P1Harmony. They don’t reinvent the wheel here, but Close is slick and engaging throughout. They play with some interesting textures, from the brushes of synth during the verses to the industrial electronics that run through the chorus. I wish the track kicked up another notch during verse two and built toward a standout climax, but I understand its more subdued approach.

Circling back to View, there are moments here that remind me of SHINee. The pre-chorus has the expansive energy of 2018’s Good Evening. But, my favorite melody occurs during the chorus. I love how rhythmic this hook is. It makes ample use of empty space, and Woong’s vocal wraps around the percussion with a graceful restraint that sinks its claws into memory without ever rising above a hushed tone. With that said, I think it’s time to retire this deep house sound for a year or two and push forward into less-explored terrain.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.75

37 thoughts on “Song Review: AB6IX – Close

  1. It’s not bad but it also isn’t deep house SHINee so… it kinda left me feeling meh. Would’ve been a high 7 probably.

    I’m here for the sweet, sweet Woong appreciation, tho!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I do so love Shinee “View”. It has a point of view and a groove, and carries it through. The parts all fit their individual personalities. I have always like the dance too, the shruggy slow down shift, then a heel kick point point, airplane, etc. There are some moves in there that you don’t see in any other kpop dance.

    Ok back to this song. Its OK, but its a bit all over the place in construction and texture, although it is better than whatever they released last year. Rating is way high, for me high 7’s at best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • View also has some of my favourite styling, which is totally unrelated to the song but still leaves an impact on me years later somehow. As a song it’s a fantastic example of simple and effective. This song misses a little bit of ‘meat’ that View did have, I feel.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Agreed. View is the gold standard of this genre in K-pop, but I think there’s a lot to love about this song too. I have a feeling I might have been a *bit* too generous with the rating, but I still think it’ll end up in the mid-8’s for me. I just really love that hook at the beginning of the chorus.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Saaame. Though I guess I haven’t really ever forgotten the View looks because I’ve used one of the nice forest shots from that photoshoot as a desktop wallpaper on and off a lot since that album came out.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I love this song, and I will talk about it later but I am currently not feeling like to do so.

    Instead, I want to show case ONF’s new single coming up. I have been hyping this up for weeks and Hope this will be great! *fingers crossed*

    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHfsgBaq_2I”

    Like

    • ONF! ONF! ONF!

      I still consider their debut mini to be one of my favorites in K-Pop, but I’ve found that I don’t listen to a ton of their other stuff (even the songs I quite like, oddly enough). Very much hoping that this release changes that!

      Like

      • ONF!
        ONF!
        ONF!

        If you want, I have only recently became a fan of the guys variety but my love for their music was all over late-2019 and throughout 2020!

        I immensely love their debut album, It heralded an amazing title track in the form of On/Off. But that’s not even the best song! I love songs such as Original and Difficult (especially the latter)

        Then they came back with Complete! I can’t tell you how much I love that track. It’s such a blast to listen to and has so many, many interesting elements stuffed into it. I especially love that Brass + Guitar breakdown.

        They followed it up with two great mini albums and with Why and We Must Love. They had an interesting atmosphere and solidified ONF’s sound. Hwang Hyun got to stretch even further during this time around. My Favorite of these two mini albums remain Asteroid and We Must Love.

        2020 was a great year for them too! Sukhumvit Swimming is super good and I 100% recommend it to you! I love it’s post-chorus and strings and even though most people in this sit thought it was underwhelming, I actually loved it. It’s grown on me. New World is better for me though, It’s ambitious and theatrical in the best way possible. I do find this particular mini album to be their weakest but who cares! It was a great year for them and acts a good set up for their 2021.

        In 2021, They have been the group to beat! They, Golden Child and SHINee have unsurprisingly sound tracked this year for me. Their First Full Album was top tier excellent, We have songs such as The Realist, Secret Triangle and Trip Advisor. But this was all tied by such a great title track…Beautiful Beautiful!
        It’s funky, triumphant and stuffed to the brim with excellent hooks. It has one of the best bridges in K-pop and It’s surprisingly streamlined for an ONF Single. It’s their best single yet for me, but I think Ugly Dance can give it a run for it’s money.
        And for this repackaged, My genesis is a blend of rock and Jazz and The Dreamer is Vintage Pop! Seriously, It can’t get better with this!

        I advise you to check their variety out too!
        https://listography.com/onf

        I thank Nutmeg for giving this link to me all the way back in February!
        I am so excited for this!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Omg yesss. Team ONF!!!! We are a happy family of fuses here 😍. I have been behind on kpop, but I immeditely jumped back in the moment I heard ONF was going to release something again. I’ve watched the teaser and….I’m so excited even if it’s just for the dance.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’m looking forward to this comeback. I loved Beautiful, Beutiful, which inspired me to look up their other work (music videos, as least). I havea huge weakenss for Sukhumvit Swimming. It sounds so otherworldly.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. I think in this case the main points are basically three:
    1) this is the 4,598th MV shot in the same abandoned school in Gimcheon. Isn’t there in the whole South Korea another building fitting a dark or dystopic concept?;
    2) you can even listen to this song 10 times and still not be able to whistle the refrain under the shower (unless you make the beatbox of the percussion, but – uhm – who does it?);
    3) AB6IX dropped from 53,013 1st day sales with Vivid to 7,663 with Mo’ Complete (source: Korean Sales on Twitter). That’s not a simple drop, that’s a complete failure. Which to me proves that not only the group is losing any kind of Wanna One’s long tail awareness and consideration – just like other post-Produce 101 acts but Kang Daniel and Nu’Est – but also that the deep house trend doesn’t fit kpop and doesn’t lead sales and interest (this is not the 1st case in which it doesn’t work, and maybe it won’t be the last).
    To be honest, it can sound a bit sad because the group’s really talented and has a great potential, but I’m not sure they’ve actually something else left to say apart from “Hey, two of us once were Wanna One!”.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, yes the abandoned school, I had never heard where it is. Can you also help us identify the empty parking garage too, and how about that container ship storage. Then there is the really grassy wind farm hill top, and the fancy schmancy botanical garden, and the helipad rooftop. Also, Jeju island – I can usually pickout Jeju island videos because there is usually a wideshot showing hey we paid for this video to be made on Jeju island.

      Liked by 2 people

    • While I agree that AB6IX sadly don’t seem to be doing as well as they did with their previous comebacks, I’m not sure I agree with your third point. For one, first day sales aren’t based on what the song sounds like, it would have been pre-orders. I really don’t think people supposedly not liking Close is a factor of their poor sales today, and anyway their fandom streaming power on Bugs/Genie still seems to be fairly high in the sense that this song debuted fairly high and in the last few hours seems to be doing fairly well? (I checked the stats on this account for this because I don’t follow the group anyway, this just popped up on Twitter – https://twitter.com/AB6IXchart) Also if we’re talking about the deep house trend, SHINee’s View literally charted a few days ago out of nostalgia because people were talking about how much they love it after MMTG – I don’t think it’s as easy to make a very sweeping claim that there’s no interest for the deep house trend at all.

      Secondly, I’m not a dedicated fan of theirs but it feels like this comeback was announced very suddenly at the last minute, not giving enough time for pre-orders plus they had a repackage release just a couple of months ago. And first day/first week sales tend to fluctuate anyway, I’d hope the group doesn’t have too much of a downward spiral but I’d wait a couple days more before saying this comeback has failed utterly in terms of sales.

      I do agree that things haven’t been going great for them recently and that makes me sad – I liked W1 and I would like to see these boys succeed somehow. They still have a lot of good music I like – Lululala from this album is still nice – I just wish they’d have something to revitalize the group so they (and CIX) can get their initial momentum back.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. AB6IX continue to be one of the most underwhealming groups for me. Even when they tackle genres I should like it’s always so bland and hookless. Honestly for all the criticism Drunk-Dazed deserves, I’ll take the vocal production with that banger of a chorus over anything AB6IX as ever released, album tracks included.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I tend to enjoy a deep house beat, but it doesn’t always work for me. I prefer songs that have some fullness in the production (Exid’s Cream, SHINee’s View, NCT127’s Summer 127) over the ones that use a very stripped down house beat (Puzzle Moon by GWSN for example). This song sounds just a little too empty to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not deep house, but I wanted to let all Golcha fans know that I am obsessed with this cover: “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrWP4gZOaik
      It’s such a fun and modern interpretation of the original!
      Lovelyz’ Kei also sounds fantastic on it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • As a massive golden child fan, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this! It’s incredible. Also, Jangjun and TAG’s voices fit so much with the half-time breakdown.

        ……But Woollim, still don’t try to do it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re very welcome! I first found this a while ago through a meme edit – and I’m glad I did. I’m fine with the breakdown here because it’s uptempo enough to keep the energy going – especially the second part of the breakdown is awesome!

          Like

  7. Hmmmm. Not sure how I feel about this. The begining sort of starts out slow for me, but as the song goes along I like it more and more.

    Ilike Woong’s voice especially this comeback, it suits the airy feel of it. Or at least the bridge.

    Honestly my thoughts are all over the place. I’ve like 3 weeks behind on kpop at the moment because school, so now it’s a catch up game. Next stop on my list- ONF.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I am just ecstatic because they are coming back with another song SO SOON.

        I won’t be able to get the album this time, but that’s fine because I was able to scrap money together for the ONF: My Name album when it came out. I have SOMETHING and that’s all I need 😩🤣

        Liked by 2 people

          • Is Lights On coming in the digital version of the repackage? If not, can I get it anywhere digitally?

            Like

            • I think it will still only be on the physical version, which is too bad because it’s a natural finale to this stage of their career, interpolating many of their old tracks into a megamix of sorts that still manages to be its own thing. It’s very cool.

              I found a fanmade video on bilibili that uses the audio, if you’re curious to hear it:
              https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV17Z4y1c7vs?

              Like

              • Wow, you were not kidding about it being a mega-mix. That was a massive song, maybe NCT could take that as a cue for their next Resonance moment?

                Will Lights On be eligible for your b-side end-of-year-list?

                That said, the physical only idea is pretty sad. I am saving up to get a physical copy of a few of some of last year’s great albums, and I don’t think the rest of the b-sides are good enough for me to buy the ONF album. Maybe if the repackage is stellar?

                Like

    • Not planning to. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of their music. It reminds me too much of American rock bands that I dislike (ie: Imagine Dragons). Unfortunately, this new song is no different.

      I did like the track they did for the Kingdom OST, though!

      Like

      • Ugh, too bad. You have missed a few of my J-Pop favorites this year, as it seems I am more interested in the non-idol Japanese releases, while you enjoy the idol ones mostly.

        Also, I think you missed doing a March J-Pop round-up. But that actually makes sense, because you have been reviewing most idol J-Pop, and you literally have more features running than HYBE does vocal processing machines by this point.

        Like

  8. I find it very interesting because I actualy really love this song. It’s synths border on annoying, but have a good enough edge that it never actially reaches that point. I think I love the contrast and the rough texture of the chorus with the vocals. Caught my ears very quickly and I find myself going back to the song. I love the bridge, and probably helps that the deliberate minimalism in the music coincides with my favorite hook. There’s something the singer’s voice that just performs it so well. I just think the song is pretty well executed to be honest.

    Like

  9. ” I keep waiting for K-pop to remove the “deep” and jump into more interesting iterations of house music.”

    Can you give me some K-pop/Jpop examples of the more interesting iterations of house music.

    Like

    • Oh gosh, I’d have to think about it. But, in the meantime this video should help with the different styles of house music. I’m quite partial to progressive house, which was big in the 90’s and influenced a lot of J-pop of that era. What can I say? I love some big, exciting energy!

      Like

  10. I’ll try to help here, even though I may be wrong with my examples.

    Stray Kids – Miroh / Seventeen – Hit [Future House/Electro House/Future Bounce]

    I’m not sure which one of these three it is but essentially, the gritty electronic bass gives this an ‘electro’ feel. The bassline moves pretty regularly, perhaps occasionally into different octaves to give it that ‘bounce’ feel. Future House tends to be a mixture of these with a swing feel.

    Ab6ix – Breathe/Close [Deep House]

    This one’s pretty clear, but it’s basically just the synth bass that gives this ‘deep’ feel. Deep House also has pretty simplistic percussion and often uses the typical offbeat hi-hats.

    Oh My Girl – Nonstop / Twice – Dance the Night Away [Tropical House]

    I think these tracks lean more towards the tropical house sound. Tropical house may have a slightly lower BPM compared to the other House variations [which are generally around 125BPM]. Basically, tropical house uses ‘tropical’ instruments e.g. marimbas, steel drums, to give that reggae feel. The synth’s sound less electronic and more ‘natural’.

    Red Velvet – You Better Know [Progressive House]

    Idek how to describe this one but I see progressive house as very bass-heavy with a pulsating and constant bass. Progressive House Is generally very reliant on sidechain [an effect that gives the bass this pulsing feel], and it doesn’t have much movement in the bass. Progressive House feels very warm to me and more on the emotional side.

    I didn’t watch the video Nick provided but I hope it gives better and more accurate information compared to what I said lol. House music is really interesting IMO and I hope you dive into it more!

    Liked by 1 person

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