AB6IX debuted just six months ago, but they have already made their name as one of 2019’s monster rookies. From scoring their first win on MTV’s The Show for “Breathe” just two weeks after their debut, to featuring on a remix of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts,” AB6IX have proven they have the skills and fan support to cement their name among K-pop’s top tier.

While well-deserved, their success is not unprecedented. All six members were previously known to the public before uniting to become AB6IX. In the wake of Produce 101, Daehwi and Woojin made their mark on the world stage as members of Wanna One. Meanwhile, fellow Brand New Music trainees Youngmin and Donghyun teamed up to form MXM, and released a succession of genre-shifting singles to maintain their momentum. Final addition Woong, best known by fans for his pre-debut appearance on Mnet’s Stray Kids survival show, has trained with Woollim, JYP, and YG, and rounds out the group with his smooth vocals.

“Blind For Love” builds on the sophistication of AB6IX’s debut,“Breathe.” The title track is taken from the group’s first full-length album, 6IXENSE, an impressive milestone at this stage in their career. All six members have co-writing credits throughout the LP, and “Blind For Love” was composed by Daehwi, with Youngmin and Woojin penning the bars for their respective rap verses. The song is a deep house track, built on an infectious bassline and embellished with bright synth flourishes. Its slick, stylish vibe meshes well with the music video, which uses strong cinematography and lighting effects to give the group a polished aesthetic.

This mature approach separates AB6IX from their contemporaries, who often rely on the contrasting poles of youthful innocence and teenage rebellion to establish themselves. By skipping this stage, AB6IX give themselves more creative freedom and the flexibility to create their own identity.

“Blind For Love” follows a familiar theme as the members find themselves lost in the rush of first love, and the music video does a great job of immersing the viewer in this whirl of emotions. The sets favour dark colours, with Woong’s burnished gold solar system and Daehwi’s geometric rocks both set against black backdrops. Clever editing overlays these scenes with striking visual effects, transforming the video into a kaleidoscope of marbled colours. While the main choreography scenes shown during each chorus depict the members wearing contrasting black and white, these are spliced alongside solo dance shots of each of the boys in bright, stylish outfits.

This fragmentation echoes the dichotomy of the lyrics. The members might find themselves blind, yet they are lost not in darkness, but a vibrant world of new wonders. This idea is explored in the first verse, as Youngmin raps:

I’ve fallen into something
Nothing can compare with this
Each moment is being filled
You flicker before my eyes
The pieces of ash in the fire swallow me up
Making me fall into the fantasy

The use of lighting in the MV echoes the highs and lows of first love. The video opens in darkness, with Donghyun lying alone, surrounded by dying flames. Daehwi’s stony set is initially shrouded in shadow, but burns red as he begins to sing. Youngmin and Donghyun share the same scene, standing alone on a plinth in the centre of a rippling pool of water. However, Youngmin’s shots are lit in warm gold, while Donghyun’s lake glows the soft pastel pinks and blues of sunrise. These ever-shifting colours add to the feeling of disorientation explored in Woojin’s rap:

Blind with love
I can’t hold onto you so I’m wandering every day in my dreams
I’ve gone to faraway places to look for you
It was a given, cuz I couldn’t forget you
Let me tell you the reason for my love
I can look around but there’s no one like you
What I wanna hear is OK

During the choreography shots that frame each chorus, the camera mixes quick cuts from different angles to give the effect of a constant flow of movement, even as the members and their costumes change and blur before the viewer. This shifting lens is fractured further by the glitches and bursts of colour that fill the frame at random. Scattered solo shots of the members are filmed in extreme close-up, giving the viewer no impression of their surroundings, further adding to the song’s central concept of blindness and confusion.

As Donghyun sings the bridge, each member is shown wearing a blindfold, slowly looking up as if searching for something they cannot see. At the same time, Donghyun runs through the burning door shown in the very first scene, and the frame is momentarily lost in darkness. The lyrics draw out the contrast of first love bringing both wonder and pain, while the metaphor of a fiery door leading to darkness echoes the idea of jumping headfirst into a new relationship, defiant of the drama it may inevitably bring.

The world seemed different
But now I’m used to it, even in the darkness
I can run to you without holding back
Even in the dark, you shine so bright
I won’t look anywhere else
Because I’m blind with you

The choreography is sharp and slick, with a strong emphasis on complex hand movements. At one point the members look ahead, then to the side as if searching. At another moment, they blow a kiss not towards the viewer, but away into the darkness around them. The key point move of covering the eyes encapsulates the song’s title, while these elegantly complex gestures complement the fluttering electronic effects that balance the track’s moody ambience.

“Blind For Love” has a vibrant, dramatic energy that complements its striking visuals. Youngmin and Woojin’s raps give both members the opportunity to prove their skill, creating standout moments in verses that otherwise keep the song’s momentum stable between each chorus. There is no obvious hook here. Instead, the song gathers momentum by layering parallel melodies that echo each other, creating a complex, sophisticated structure. It may not sound unique, but the overall effect is stylish enough to carry a maturity that builds on the sound AB6IX first showcased with “Breathe.”

“Blind For Love” is a signal of more to come. With a strong sonic foundation crafted this early in their career, AB6IX demonstrates both the finesse gleaned from their pre-debut projects, and the vast possibilities of their future potential.

(YouTube [1][2][3], pop!gasa. Images via Brand New Music)