Breakout K-pop act AB6IX are proving their artistic chops and songwriting mettle with their new single, “Close.” The first release from the boy band’s fourth EP, Mo’ Complete: Have a Dream, “Close” pays homage to classic Nineties dance tracks, with nods to house music, techno, and even a little new jack swing.
The song starts off with a dreamy, laid-back vibe, showcasing the group’s vocals and harmonies on the opening refrain, before the first verse kicks in and takes the intensity up a notch, with Woong, Daehwi, and Woojin trading rap-sung lines over a syncopated, toe-tapping beat. It all builds to a triumphant chorus when the beat finally drops, launching into a thick, bass-heavy groove you can’t help but move to. The saucy vocals and slick production wouldn’t sound out of place at a club in Ibiza, though it’s equally made for soju-fueled karaoke nights in Seoul.
“I’ll take care of you one by one, just close your eyes,” they sing on the chorus, reassuring a loved one they’ll always be by their side. The Korean lyrics to the song loosely translate to staying together through the unknown, with love guiding you through the darkness. Written while quarantined in Korea, the song sends a message of “hopes and dreams” to help fans with “overcoming the current pandemic situation”: “Don’t be afraid so you can feel me with your eyes closed/Close your eyes.”
The K-pop signature of mixing hard and soft elements, and mixing genres, is on full display on “Close,” which was produced by hit-making duo Coach and Sendo, known for working with K-pop acts including NCT 127, Super Junior, solo star Chung Ha, and others. AB6IX’s Daehwi also serves as one of the main producers on the track (and on the EP), while Woojin penned most of its rap lyrics. It’s another step forward for the group, who are taking on more active roles behind-the-scenes in their music.
AB6IX debuted in 2019 and have quickly risen the K-pop ranks thanks to their versatility, confident vocals, and surprising emotional maturity for their age (Daehwi, the Maknae or “baby” of the group, just turned 20 in January). Though they’ve yet to break the North American market in the same way as other K-pop acts, they aren’t complete unknowns. They appeared on the Korean remix to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in 2019 and were featured more recently on a remix to “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)” from Why Don’t We. Just this week, AB6IX even made a cameo appearance on the new TBS series Chad, after Nasim Pedrad’s title character reveals his obsession with K-pop.
The guys hope their new single can continue to help build momentum for them internationally. “We want the audiences to feel that AB6IX is finally about to show something, like ‘They are the next big thing,’” Woojin tells Rolling Stone. “And in order to make this happen, we will be working extremely hard in diverse ways, so that we can communicate closer to the wider audience.”