Rising rookie group CIX has made their latest comeback. (Well, they did several days ago… but I’m just getting to it now because my week has been crazy ^^”’) Much like most of the boy groups I’ve covered so far this year, my knowledge of CIX is rather limited and I don’t follow them that closely. But I’ve listened to all their previous singles, and I do think they’re pretty underrated – especially for a group with a former Wanna One member – so I was more than happy to check out their newest track.
In the recent past, CIX was putting out title tracks with more of an edgy vibe like “Numb” and “Jungle.” So, the gentle sweetness of “Cinema” was quite a surprise to me. It’s a really pleasant tune with a very memorable chorus, and it definitely gives CIX a chance to shine in the singing department. It’s actually pretty rare for K-pop songs to have no rapping at all – especially for groups who have a strong rapper like CIX does with BX – so they always have a refreshing feel. And while I know nothing about vocal technique, I like the breathy quality their voices have here. It makes the song sound very light-hearted and dreamy.
That being said, “Cinema” seems just a little too mellow to me. This might be a more of a personal thing, because I regularly have trouble mustering up long term enthusiasm for feel-good type songs. But it’s just not the kind of song I get really excited about or want to listen to over and over. I think part of my issue is the music video; it’s very pleasing to the eye, but I feel that the focus on the aesthetics emphasizes the more easygoing nature of the song and takes away a bit of what makes it unique. This isn’t a problem unique to CIX – there are plenty of times where I feel kind of ambivalent about a song just from watching. the music video. I think that a lot of companies spend their time and money making their music videos as aesthetic as possible, and they end up looking gorgeous but don’t really do anything to boost the song itself. It’s just really a shame in CIX’s case because “Cinema” is a good song with impressive vocals, but it kind of gets smoothed out into nice background music when it’s put together with the music video. And since “Cinema” is already on the low-key side, that makes it harder to stand out to a casual listener like me.
Personally, I found “Cinema” a lot more enjoyable when I was watching the choreography. The dance really matches the beat and highlights the song’s unique inflections, making everything a lot more energetic. And I love how a lot of the moves are reminiscent of those old Hollywood movie musicals, like the spinning twirl in the chorus. I think adding just a few more dance scenes in the music video would have really helped it bring out the song’s true essence and helped it be a little more dynamic.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
I’m still not sure where I stand with CIX, and I don’t know if I’m ready to become more than a casual listener. Their debut song “Movie Star” didn’t make much of an impression on me, but I was incredibly taken with “Numb.” Actually, “Numb” ended up nabbing a pretty high spot on my 2019 year end favorites list because I thought it was that good a song. And I liked “Jungle” a fair amount too, though I was mostly mesmerized by the stunning music video. “Cinema” has so many great things going for it, but unfortunately, it’s just not the type of music that I really love. Like I said for other groups who recently released music similar music, such as TREASURE and AB6IX, I know I’ll listen to this kind of song for a week or so and then move onto something else. I still think CIX is a really talented group that has a lot to offer; I just wish “Cinema” reflected this a little better like some of their previous singles. But they’re still new and finding what works for them, so I’m looking forward to seeing what their journey brings us.
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Music video belongs to C9 Entertainment. Cover image is of CIX at SBS Inkigayo on February 7 and was originally posted on Inkigayo’s Twitter account here.