C9 Entertainment’s K-Pop quintet CIX – made up of BX, Seunghun, Yonghee, Bae Jinyoung, and Hyunsuk – are back with Episode 1: Ok Not. Returning after their <Rebel> in US Tour and HallyuPopFest London performance, this is the group’s first Korean release in a year, having released their Japanese album Pinky Swear in March. The EP contains the tracks “Without You”, “Bend the Rules”, “Drown in Luv” and the title track “458.”

The album was initially teased with a visualizer featuring a familiar black cat, a key character within CIX’s storyline. The cat first appeared in 2019 as a part of the CIX Town Scene #2 T Castle Aquarium and has been involved ever since. The clip ended with a golden feather, the symbol of the EP. Wings and feathers are significant throughout all the visual aspects of “458,” with all the members being seen with them throughout the music video. Bae Jinyoung is even spotted holding a bird of prey, and Yonghee’s face is adorned with butterflies. 

Running in the Ferrari

The music video for “458” mixes both the angelic and racer concepts that fans had seen in the album’s concept teasers. The 화(火) version of the album shows off their youthful, almost angelic side whilst the 염(焰) version shows them in red racing gear with more of a devilish influence.

Vocalists Seunghun and Bae Jinyoung show off the top of their vocal range as they sing the chorus of the song. In conjunction with the racer theme the main lyric of which “Go run in the Ferrari” refers to a Ferrari 458, which the song is named after. Further lyrics continue with the angelic racer theme including words such as “whiplash,” “crash,” and “falling” as the song tells a story of giving up everything for their love.

The track is composed by Anthony Russo who has been writing for CIX since their debut EP with the song “Movie Star” in 2019. The writer finally met the group in LA at the opening concert of their <Rebel> in US Tour. Singer-songwriter Jackson Morgan who has also worked on several of CIX’s songs including “Jungle,” “Move My Body,” and “Young also participated in this track as well.

Different Approaches To Love

The album starts with the track “Without You,” setting the scene for the EP. Though the song is initially calm, as it continues it begins to build up the pace, reaching its peak at the chorus. Much like the feeling of falling in love, with emotions growing gradually until the crescendo when the feelings are all-consuming. The song is catchy and upbeat, a contrast to the lyrics, “I’m nothing without you.” The track also serves to introduce the listener to the member’s love interest, who remains the subject of all the tracks.

The track has composition credits from Ryan Lawrie, a Scottish singer-songwriter who is known for his work on “Mikrokosmos” and “Inner Child” by BTS, and Didrik Thott, a Swedish songwriter who has worked on tracks such as “Chica Bom Bom” by NCT 127, “Body Rhythm” by SHINee, and “SNEAKERS” by ITZY.

Bend the Rules” is the third segment of the EP’s fallen angel story. It highlights the contrast of voices within the group with the difference between the vocalists’ high tones and the rappers’ low tones. The instrumental boasts a more technical sound, a stark contrast to the final track. The song depicts the members looking back over their actions and how they can no longer fix what they have done because they have bent the rules too far to be with their love. The track has credits from KZ who has written tracks for many K-pop groups such as Stray Kids, WJSN, and IZ*ONE. He was also involved in “458,” and “Drown in Luv” on the EP.

The story ends with “Drown in Luv,” a track with raw emotion that can be heard through the member’s voices and a more acoustic feel with the sounds of a piano and guitar prominent in the background. CIX sings about facing the consequences of their actions and whether it was all worth it. The song wouldn’t be misplaced in the ending scene of a romantic film, lending to the perfect finish to the EP and its story.

Want to Drown in Luv with CIX?

With the album charting both nationally and internationally, the response from fans has been numerous. Now that CIX have released the Prologue and Episode 1 of the ‘OK’ album series, listeners have a taste of what may come next. You can keep up with CIX on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

Interested in more CIX content? Check out EnVi’s coverage of their LA concert here!