For some reason, I just don’t click with AB6IX like I do with other groups – and it’s driving me nuts because I REALLY want to. I’m familiar with most of the members because of Produce 101 and Wanna One, both of which I was very invested in, and I truly want them to do well and be successful. When they made a comeback with “Stay Young” in January, I wrote lots of nice things about it and I genuinely meant all of them. However, I also knew I’d listen to it for about a week and then switch to something else… and that’s exactly what I did. This cycle has happened for every single one of AB6IX’s releases so far: I think it’s nice, I listen to it for a short period of time, and then I move on. I do like their music, but I just haven’t had that one song that I absolutely adore – the one that pushes me from “casual listener” to “fan.” To be honest, I’m not really sure if “CLOSE” will be that song for me. However, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
“CLOSE” is most definitely a deep house song, and it’s a style that suits AB6IX well. If I recall correctly, they’ve done it at least once before with their debut single “Breathe.” (I can only ever remember the hook of any AB6IX song… why am I the worst) I’m not always into house or deep house because it can often be just a *little* too chill for my tastes, but I think “CLOSE” has exactly the right mix of calm and energy. The beat is dynamic enough that it keeps my attention, and it provides a nice contrast to the smooth and melodic voices of AB6IX’s vocalists. And as the rapper, Woojin’s strong lower-tone voice works with the percussion to ramp up the excitement in just the right places.
I understand why AB6IX would choose a deep house track, because it’s been a popular style in K-pop for a while now. I think that songs of this nature are always pleasant to listen to, regardless of how you feel about them. However, the one downside to such a trendy genre is that after a while, everything starts to sound the same. So while I like “CLOSE,” I feel like I’ve heard it many times before. I actually thought it sounded like a laidback version of Wanna One’s “Energetic” at first, and I was imagining what would happen if someone made a mashup of the two. “CLOSE” is still a very nice song in its own right, so I don’t think its similarity to other deep house singles is necessarily bad. I just personally wish it was just a teeny bit more unique, though the clean and polished choreography does help with that (per usual).
One part of “CLOSE” that does stand out to me is the lyrics, because they portray such a simple yet powerful message about trust. Since this is K-pop, the most obvious way to interpret these lyrics is in a romantic fashion; the singer is telling his love interest that he’ll always be there for them, even if they close their eyes and can’t see him. But what’s nice is that the lyrics are also somewhat open-ended, and they could easily translate into other relationships. For example, it could be a message from AB6IX to their fans too. And I think that in a way, it could also be about self-confidence and self-love – like telling yourself you can trust your own feelings and instincts. Honestly, any of these interpretations are lovely.
The music video for “CLOSE” shows another way of construing these lyrics: as a show of trust between the members of AB6IX themselves. In the video, each member falls asleep and finds himself in his own personal dreamscape that he must navigate to reunite with the others. But no matter how bizarre things get, AB6IX manages to find their way to each other in the end. It seems kind of cheesy when I write it out like that, but I think it’s sweet. My best friend and I have had related dreams before, so I’d like to believe that connecting to people through dreaming is possible. On another note, I think the music video does a really good job of depicting just how surreal dreams can be. I’m a vivid (and sometimes lucid) dreamer, and it reminds me of my experiences. I think it really captures that sense of when you’re in a dream and you’re just following where it takes you, but you’re also trying to figure out exactly what’s happening.
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.)
In the process of writing this reaction post, I’ve found myself in the exact same spot where I always am with AB6IX. I genuinely like “CLOSE,” and I think they’ve done yet another great job that shows how creative and talented they are. However, I just don’t know how long this song can hold my attention, especially when there are other recent comebacks that are much more my style. Still, I’d like to point out that when I first watched it, I did feel much more of a connection compared to other AB6IX videos I’ve seen. It wasn’t the “instant love” reaction that I’ve been hoping for, but it WAS an “instant like.” So there’s progress happening here! Despite my current situation as an AB6IX listener, I’ve always believed that one day they’ll drop a track that I won’t be able to stop gushing about. And while “CLOSE” wasn’t the one, it gave me faith that day is definitely coming soon.
(“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: Featured image and music video belong to Brand New Entertainment.