X1 – 'EMERGENCY: QUANTUM LEAP'
1. Stand Up (Intro.)
2. Flash *Title
3. Like always
4. I’m here for you
5. U Got It (X1 Ver.)
6. Move (Prod. by ZICO) (X1 Ver.)
X1 just dropped their debut EP 'Emergency: Quantum Leap.' These boys were the top 11 contestants from Produce X 101, namely Dohyon, Dongpyo, Eunsang, Hangyul, Hyeongjun, Junho, Minhee, Seungwoo, Seungyoun, Wooseok, and Yohan. They have a 5-year promotional cycle: the first half exclusively with X1 under Swing Entertainment, and the second half where the members are allowed to promote with their original contracted companies. Fun fact: Seungwoo is the younger brother of Han Sunhwa of SECRET fame. Talent definitely runs in that family.
And this album is a runaway success. Less than a day after release, the album shot to No. 1 on iTunes album charts in 19 areas. Not only that, the title track “Flash” hit No. 1 on several domestic real-time charts, and placed in the top five in several others. Sales figures are at 260,000 units and climbing. Obviously, a much-anticipated debut.
"Stand Up" is their intro track. It's a rather full one, too, with the boys bringing a club-banger vibe to kick off the mini-album. There are fierce vocals, sick raps, and some loud synths to complete the picture. This is a great way to say "hi, we're here." Their title track is "Flash", adopting a disco-style beat. It starts out soft, but we get the boys' buttery-smooth vocals throughout this track. The electropop synths during the chorus are a nice touch. I really like how this song is put together. It's got that danceable beat I crave. "Like Always" has a tropical house beat. It doesn't take long for that beat to get stronger, but the initial backing track morphs in the pre-chorus and the chorus. It drops back to normal again quickly enough. I like the buildup here. They definitely load this song with plenty of production effects, and it makes an effective club-banger.
As you might guess from the title, "I’m Here For You" is a tender ballad. Nice placement, right in the center of the EP. The boys show off their gentle side on this one. I had higher hopes for this one. The vocals are rather unique and fresh, but the song structure is bog-standard. They bring you an old standby from the show, "U Got It." This is the X1 version, so it sounds different, particularly as a studio track. Though, other than the vocals and a slightly different backing track, it's the same song. So if you liked it the first time around, you'll like it here. "Move" has a harder-edged sound. It is largely hip-hop with some effects borrowed from metal. I really like this one, as there's some attitude coming through those raps. The repetition and the flute really make this song pop. I like ZICO and this particular track reminded me of Block B at times.
Five bops, and only one weak one in the mix (you might like it, though, so YMMV). These boys have mastered the club-banger, which is nice. They could have gone bland and slow with those smooth vocals, but instead, they wanted to start with a bang. I, for one, am glad they did.
The boys take you on a ride into their world in "Flash".
There are all sorts of thing going on here. From butterflies to lines that draw themselves, to straddling strange pipes between buildings, moving neon lights, clones of the boys, to just some outright strange set-pieces. They don't linger on any one thing too long, other than the dance sequences.
And that's where they really shine. Boy bands have usually been masters of that art form anyway, but it still doesn't stop it from being intense. From jumps to drops and even multiple arms peeking out from behind one of the boys like some bizarre homage to the goddess Kali, the dancing is a pleasure to watch.
The red uniforms look absolutely killer in the darkness, and yes, I get that they're often dancing in front of a neon "X". But everything looked so cool I didn't really want it to end. Maybe it's cause I liked the song, who knows?
MV SCORE: 8.6
ALBUM SCORE: 8.3