When 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.