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 their debut A3Day episode, I shared that AB6IX had survival show experience and Wanna One’s star power running through its veins. What did that mean? It means that the group gained invaluable knowledge and support pre-debut. This isn’t exactly unique to them, especially between 2010 and 2020, but even American artist Lizzo took notice. What does any of this have to do with today’s debut studio album? Let’s find out, right after the drop.
You’re tuned into An Album a Day. Show start.
Hey y’all, if you’ve been wondering why shows are posting later than their usual 8:00 a.m. Central Time, worry not. We are testing different marketing times, is all. So even though you’re hearing this episode whenever it is you’re hearing it, you possibly saw online promotion much later in the day. These A/B moments help me to carve out the plan for this show’s sister show. Teasers for that come out this week and I seriously still don’t have a name for the extended recording twice-a-month show. It’s been called A3Day’s Sister Show in development for months. Don’t be shocked if that’s where I go with it, because I’m struggling.
On October 7, 2019, AB6IX released their first studio album, “6ixense.” The album boasts 11 tracks -- none of which are an instrumental -- and is just over 38 minutes long. The sequencing of the album is respectable but what’s most interesting is how they interpret the current pop scene as future bass and deep house. They are alongside many other groups of recent, choosing to deliver on genres that aren’t always the mainstream vibe.
The album was a larger canvas for some of the group members to display their songwriting and production skills too, as every track had a contribution from at least one AB6IX member. K-pop listeners of recent years are much more familiar with groups having some of the production and songwriting responsibilities dispersed amongst them, so this might not be a big deal to them. As a second generation inductee into the world of K-pop, I still get excited when I see it in the credits. Mainstream music has staying power -- everyone involved in the creation of a pop song crafts it for survival, so to speak. Survival is something that AB6IX understands first-hand, so let’s go back in time to pre-debut activities.
Of the original five, Youngmin, Donghyun, Woojin and Daehwi, participated in Produce 101 Season 2 in 2017. Of the four, Woojin and Daehwi earned spots in that season’s wildly popular eleven-member boy band, Wanna One. Unlike some number-named things in K-pop, that 101 is true. Approximately 101 young men from well over 50 entertainment labels in South Korea compete to re- or pre-debut in the final concept group. Can you imagine grinding it out for several weeks on a nationally syndicated television show, hoping to impress the thousands upon thousands of viewers and the show judges, to whittle down from 101 to only 11 guys? Survival! And for the two who didn’t place in the top 11, they went on to be a subunit called MXM. And the fifth member, Woong, had the opportunity to hone his skills as a trainee at various labels before joining Brand New Music. He was even a backup dancer for his eventual bandmates MXM. Everyone was grinding it out before the AB6IX debut so by the time “6ixense” came along, they’d already premiered their eventual debut single on Produce 101, hosted a fan meeting and collaborated with American singer, songwriter and flutist Lizzo on a remix of her smash hit “Truth Hurts.” Again, survival!
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. Because of how recent it was released, the production quality is a major win here, even if every song isn’t memorable. By having the latest technologies associated with creating music at their fingertips, I am biased about the sound. Time will only tell if this album stands the test of time to become Essential Listening. The #A3Day Highlights Playlist on Spotify will be updated with a few tracks from this album soon, and we’ll look more into their discography in the next episode. Bye y’all.
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