CIX – 'HELLO CHAPTER 2. HELLO, STRANGE PLACE'
1. Black Out
5. Maybe I
It’s been 4 months since their first album, and boy band CIX is back with the second part of their 'HELLO' project: 'Chapter 2. Hello, Strange Place.' The new mini-album has 5 tracks, one of which is the title track "Numb."
"Black Out" is a straight-ahead tune, an aggressive sonic assault. Fierce vocals, extensive use of violent sounding beats, loud synths and a lot of rap. In my opinion, the perfect lead track. "Numb" is a smoother offering than the first track. The raps are more melodic and fit better with the song. It's more of a pop tune. There are some epic drops during the chorus, though. It's a socially aware song, a shout-out to teens who are reduced to bystanders as adults spoil the world. It's not bad, though I like "Black Out" better. Starting with a sound like a tape rewinding, "Rewind" starts with smooth croons giving way to aggressive sounding raps. I love the deep vocals on those raps. The boys position their chorus against noisy synths, too. I love how the second verse has actual clean singing and then switches to rapping. A fun tune, among my faves on this EP.
"Bystander" seems to be R&B. It starts with rapping -- I love BX's voice. Then it gives way to smoother cuts. Regrettably, that's the only time you hear him -- at the start. Though there are deep-voiced ad-libs throughout. The rest of the time it features Seunghun, Hyunsuk, and the others. Still, it's a good song, with razor-sharp production. They do soft R&B on "Maybe I." It's a breakup song, with all that entails. You get to hear BX's singing voice on this one. It sounds a little awkward, and I prefer the throaty raps that we heard from him previously. The tune itself isn't bad, even if it sounds like most R&B I've already heard. Notably, it's different from every other song on the album.
They may be saying Hello, Strange Place, but to me, it doesn't sound that different from many things I've heard. It does sound distinct, but that's different than familiar. The things I like on this album are the little synth nudges and such, little flourishes. I like that. It's a layered delight. Not bad at all for a sophomore effort. If their first album didn't prove it, then their second should make it clear. These guys are good.
In the beginning, it's all about mood lighting. The boys dance around, punctuated by individual shots. There they look out windows in darkened rooms, and they seem reflective of what's going on. We don't get a lookout, though, which adds to the tension.
The second half is where it really picks up. The prophecies of doom have come to pass, the city is smashed, with shattered concrete walls the only reminder of what was. The boys hang out there, or are dragged into it, and join hands in a pledge of resistance. But when we return to our reality, it's with an implosion as we see them once again in the classroom.
And there's the dancing. The choreo is intense. The boys throw their arms wide in some sequences and keep them close to the body in others, elbows bent. The movements are fierce and explosive, adding to the mood of the MV. This is a seriously dramatic MV. If all the scenes, in the beginning, don't grab you, the scenes near the middle will. While they don't show too much of what happened, it's easy to guess. It goes right along with the theme of the song, too. They told us, but we didn't listen.
Overall, an excellent MV.
MV SCORE: 8.6
ALBUM SCORE: 9.0