Song Review: CIX – Wave

CIX - WaveCIX’s debut-era sound wasn’t for me, but they captured my attention with the bright, melodic Cinema. With the release of their first full album, the group continues to move toward a lighter style, even donning the age-old K-pop sailor suits for promo shots. While clichés like that don’t usually bode well, I appreciate the group’s ability to shift concepts and experiment with their sound. New single Wave has a lot of potential, but is undercut by an inert instrumental that weighs everything down.

I admit personal bias here, because there’s nothing “wrong” with Wave’s production. I simply don’t enjoy beats like this. So much of the instrumental is overtaken by huge slabs of synth that crash along a lockstep structure. You’re probably sick of seeing this word on the blog, but it all feels so plodding. I crave a more human touch. For what I assume is supposed to be a dance song, Wave never finds much of a rhythm. It’s just stuck in this lurching, mid-tempo murk that drains all spontaneity from the arrangement. The track needs time to breathe. A livelier, more nuanced beat would have completely transformed it.

This is a shame, because the song itself is quite solid. The verses pass by without landing any punches, but the effusive chorus has potential to soar. CIX imbue the titular hook with a sense of freedom, at odds with its apathetic EDM backbone. I’m not as taken by the “like thunder, thunder” refrain. Though it aims for catharsis, its repetitive nature plays into the track’s worst instincts. Judging from the album’s highlight medley, there are much stronger offerings to be found among the b-sides.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 6
 RATING 7.25

20 thoughts on “Song Review: CIX – Wave

  1. I don’t know. I wasn’t smitten by any of the tracks on the album and even this title feels kind of..slow? Inert is the right word. The instrumental feels like it lacks life to get started. I think definitely have to give it more listens after reading this review.


  2. Huh. Well, I like this a LOT more than TXT’s comeback, though that’s because the emo sound isn’t really for me while synths are more my thing.

    Personally, this feels like ACE’s Higher but a bit more restrained in the drama department. I like Higher, but it’s leans very heavy into its dramatics. They even have the same water-y concept.

    You did kind of admit noise-heavy synth beats like this don’t very much appeal to you, but to me they are great. I like that the song never really stumbles and transitions well. In particular I like the bridge into the final chorus, a slower return rather than big bombast. I also thought the thunder hook was off at first, but I do like the inclusion after some repeated listening.

    An entire point and a quarter between this and LOSER=LOVER though? I don’t see it. In fact, I’d reverse the two placements but this is Nick’s blog so I can’t exactly complain that much haha.

    Also, I like that the video isn’t even CIX’s Wave. It’s ATEEZ’s summer collab haha. I guess that’s how much the music grinded some of Nick’s gears.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A fine song. The music video ending was shocking though and more like surreal to me. I don’t like comparisons so I will not compare this to TXT’s song, but WAVE is miles better than Jungle (yes, I am so sorry Hallyureviews).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to admit I started singing over the chorus the line “crazy sexy … … cooooool” because it actually goes.

    “Cinema” from February 2021 is an underappreciated gem. Let’s go watch that one again.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s not the strongest cut on the album. Kind of lumpy and slow. The album didn’t grab me immediately like their last ones did (I’m a secret FIX and think all the EPs are excellent), but it’s the kind of thing that worms under your skin and i already have a few cuts i know i’ll live with for a long time.

    Here’s a live band version of Wave I like better than the recorded one, feels looser and less stodgy.


    • That version is definitely an improvement, though it reveals the limitations of the song’s melody. “Lumpy” and “stodgy” are perfect words to describe the original production. I don’t vibe with this sound at all.

      The album is so lop-sided. After track five, the energy just falls off a cliff. With that said, there are at least four songs I prefer to the title and one that will definitely be featured as a buried treasure later in the week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The energy kind of does, but I love how they do a ballad even though the ones on OK aren’t as strong as “Round 2” and “Stairway to Heaven” on the last one.

        (It’s a testament to how good Stairway to Heaven is that i didn’t even listen to it for three months because I am a big Led Zeppelin fan. I finally listened to it, and it’s completely different but very gorgeous.)


  6. Your words about the instrumental describe exactly what I felt! I couldn’t place what exactly was wrong – but I really felt there was so much more potential! They have the voices for a song like this, the MV looked real fun – but the song…

    I have a feeling their lives are going to be real good!! I’m no technical expert – but the mixing felt horrible. Their voices were so muffled and the crashing instrumental actually added a robotic touch – That chorus would have hit so much better if it were clear!

    It’s interesting because just the other day their was RV’s Queendom which as a song was pretty normal & nice but the clearness, production and audio quality made it extremely attractive! I was excited for Wave because of the cute teasers 😂 but the audio quality left me disappointed.

    I shall await the stages now…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved Higher so I guess I’m the right listener for watery songs. I hear the roar of the wind and crash of the waves in this. But Genie in a Bottle is my favorite song on the album.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I just discovered this and if I had known about this song last year, it definitely would have been one of my top songs. HOLY COWWW The Production, The Vocals, Just EVERYTHING about this song is Perfect. Easily a 10/10 for me. Why am I so late to this group??


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