An Album a Day is my exploration into the Korean music scene. This podcast will cover mainstream, indie and some underground artists within the scene and provide both factual and opinionated commentary. The biggest benefit to sharing my thoughts this way is that it will hopefully expose you to more great music and exploration of your own.
On January 6, 2020, we were briefly introduced to Woong, Woojin, Donghyun, Dae Hwi, and Youngmin during the 2019 Rookie Roundup. Their first debut anniversary was May 22, 2020, so that means it’s time for a more in-depth exploration of a group of Produce 101 Season 2 participants. Wanna One’s star power runs through their veins but do they have legs of their own to stand on for long? The discography of boy band Absolute Six begins, right after the drop.
You’re tuned into An Album a Day. Show start.
Hey y’all, months ago I was on the fence about AboveBrandNewSix, the intended extra meaning of Absolute Six’s more common name, AB6IX. South Korea knows that they love to throw a number into an idol group’s name whenever the chance presents itself, so let me say this now: there are four members in the group. I know! Initially, there were five and the “six” comes from acknowledging them and their fandom. However, a poor decision led to the dismissal of one. We don’t avoid controversies as they arise in this show but it’s best to leave that incident for Final Thoughts. The show isn’t called A K-pop Scandal a Day -- we want to focus on the music as much as possible.
The group belongs to Brand New Music, an entertainment label founded by and for the R&B and hip-hop scene in Korea. Brand New Music’s been around since 2011 and has turned out works by popular hip-hop stars such as Verbal Jint, Bumkey, and KittiB. One of AB6IX’s seniors, As One, belongs to the same label and those ladies will be featured on the show in the months to come.
AB6IX’s debut album, “B:Complete,” consists of seven songs and clocks in at 23 minutes and 34 seconds. The smartest thing they did, off the top, is place their debut song at the end. They open with a hip-hop attempt… an attempt, yes, I said it… called “Absolute.” The music is dubstep and I’m telling you, the strength of their rapper could’ve had him kick the song off with just an 808 and that would’ve worked. They follow the first track with “Shining Stars” and it’s refreshing, with its random ocean spray sounds. The chorus is easy to remember and the song demands nothing of the listener but to sway along to the calm beat.
Again, about not opening with their debut song and instead placing it at the end. The song isn’t necessarily bad but the production isn’t full-bodied. During Rookie Roundup I only listened to their debut single, “Hollywood” and could hear that there was potential, but it is a track for the masses, so to speak. It doesn’t reflect what else they can do and putting it last allows a listener to fall in love with other tracks. Take for example track number 3, “Breathe.” That is a bop! It’s got a groove to it and the music evolves with the transitions from one group member to another. It’s fun, fresh, and even though the young men are still gaining their vocal strength and unique colors, this is one that they’ll likely enjoy performing for a long time.
“Light Me Up” has a chorus that is reminiscent of Wanna One’s “Energetic” and that’s as far as it goes for me. There’s a sprinkling of dubstep and some shouts of “You better let me go!” and despite playing it twice it didn’t stand out. What was perfection? The movement into “Dancing For Two,” a lovely acoustic ballad. Absolutely lovely, I tell you! The young men sit within the track comfortably, rapping complimentary cadences, harmonizing with the guitar and piano, and set a tone of innocence and butterflies in one’s stomach.
K-pop fans on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being essential listening and 1 not worth mentioning, the A3Day rating on this is a 4.5. I definitely had mild expectations for this debut. Some groups deliver a strong one, while others jump from one musical style to another, testing out every facet of artistry possible. After all, there are zero guarantees in life and the entertainment industry is a solid reminder of how you can set out to succeed and promptly fail. Given that they come from a survival show background, I’m eager to hear more of their work! The #A3Day Highlights Playlist on Spotify is updated and features a few tracks from this album, and we’ll look more into their discography in the next episode. Bye y’all.
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