For those keeping up with all of the comebacks this month, I applaud you. Even with my calendar notes and obsessive scrolling, I know I’ve missed things. I know because people are sending them to me and I’m at a loss when I realize my oversite. At least I’m getting the big ones. The big ones for me anyway. One of those, however, isn’t quite the same as the others – as in it’s got a new track, but for the most part, it’s the re-release of their debut EP as the Japanese version. Not terribly exciting except for the fact that I’m pretty sure this group is gonna be killer and everyone is going to fall all over themselves for them in fairly short order.
If you haven’t met them yet, please kindly give a shout out to CIX. Pronounced C-I-X, they are a five-member group on C9 Entertainment with both a proud history of pre-debut success and some delicious underdoggery. The members include Bae Jinyoung of Produce 101 Season 2 and Wanna One fame as well as Byounggon (BX) who ranked #9 on Mix Nine – we all know that meant nothing in the end – and Seunghun, who, along with Byounggon, was a YG trainee that participated in and lost at The Treasure Box. Thank the gods. Seunghun was also part of the Stray Kids survival show while still at YG. Rounding out the bunch is the former acting trainee Yonghee and the former model Hyunsuk – the giant maknae.
Now I very much realize that this tiny snapshot of the members does not an idol school make, but I’m hoping that it’s enough to show you just how much and what varied experience the members bring to the group. They have years and years of training under their belts, stage and screen time galore even before they released that debut song in July of 2019. They’re already good at variety, produce wonderful pictorials, have stunning choreography, and many of them have long standing relationships with each other and with other idols in both new and well-established groups. These relationships with other idols are something I look for in the members I start to bond with. I like seeing that they have friends outside of their own units, that they still hold onto the relationships they formed in school, as trainees, and backstage at music shows. Byounggon, for instance, is close friends with Woong from AB6ix, Bang Chan from Stray Kids, and Chan from A.C.E. They’ve all had a different start in how they debuted, the trajectory of their respective groups, and the reception of their music, but they have such an overwhelming amount in common. It makes me happy that they have each other.
I look at the things I’ve heard from the former BAP members about how their image dictated that they were a cold, aggressive group that didn’t mingle with other idols and it gives me a hollow ache in my tummy. Now, after they’ve disbanded and have struck out on their own, I’ve heard them all mention how few friends they have, how their networks are so tiny compared to the large number of folks in the industry. It’s heartbreaking and I don’t want this for anyone else.
So here’s to rookie groups like CIX with their sometimes painful but always educational pre-debut experiences that allow them to forge strong friendships with idols who are both their closest companions and rivals for the limelight. They seem to be managing these potentially turbulent waters pretty successfully while putting out solid tunes in their own sound and style – one that pretty conveniently aligns with what I feel like hearing.
My New World, CIX (Japanese Version)