X1 Debuts with a “Flash”
The wait is finally over; Produce X 101’s final group X1 has made their arrival in the K-Pop world! The fourth group formed in the Produce 101 series, X1 follows WANNA ONE’s footsteps in becoming the next generation of super popular male idols. They also follow IZ*ONE’s footsteps in nearly record-breaking music video views, on pace to hit 10 million before the 48 hour mark of release.
The Title: “Flash”
The first thing that caught my attention with “Flash” was the drastic musical shift within the first 30 seconds. The track begins with a softer and almost melancholy melody, easily overpowered by the vocal powers of the group. The shift in musicality is instant; rather than continuing with the dramatic and glum feeling, the melody immediately switches into a high-energy EDM track with a heavy emphasis on the synth. The two different sounds mix at the chorus, making for a surprisingly overall cohesive sound coming from two very different angles. It’s extremely intriguing and memorable, which will get you listening over and over to pinpoint exact rhythmic and melodic pieces being put together. The track reminds me a lot of WANNA ONE’s debut “Energetic,” just with a darker and edgier tone.
Of course, it’s no surprise that the visuals and aesthetics are absolutely breathtaking. With a basic recurring color palette of bright red, black, and white, the moments that contain flashes of color have a heavier impact. When color is used, it is incredibly vibrant in contrast to monochrome, most definitely a pleasing sight for the eye. What really stands out, however, is the chic and precise choreography that will have your jaw dropping to the floor. The group does an excellent job of executing these detailed movements, leaving the viewer mesmerized during the dance shots. The uniqueness of the track itself is matched with equally distinctive choreography and color themes, bringing it all together for a strong and memorable debut.
Debut mini-album Quantum Leap features six tracks, two of which are the X1 version of songs produced for the show. Quantum Leap starts with intro “Stand Up,” a track that opens up with a dreamy feeling and a beautiful piano line. Much like “Flash,” the complete 180 in melody 20 seconds in is a bit jarring, especially since the rhythm features an electric guitar. The song takes a more groovy turn with the uplifting lyrics “Stand up, stand up, stand up, fly high, fly high, fly high” immediately recognizable in the chorus.
After flash comes B-side “Like always,” a bright and light pop track that definitely contrasts the overall aesthetic of the title. If you are a fan of WANNA ONE’s discography, this track will be right up your alley. No melodic surprises with this one—just a straight and predictable upbeat pop song. “I’m here for you” flips the script completely and introduces a sentimental ballad into the mix. The softness of the track is undeniable, with a heavy focus on vocals and piano in the melody. You’ll surely find yourself emotionally moved after listening to this song.
Ready for another switch? “U GOT IT” comes next, returning to the upbeat sound of “Like always” and uplifting the somber mood. “U GOT IT” is a classic bright bop, once again with a normal rhythmic line with no major switch ups. Closing out the album is the intense “Move,” a dance track produced by ZICO. The track definitely shows traces of ZICO throughout the melody, with some rather unconventional musical elements added into the track, particularly into the chorus. His hip-hop background lends itself to the grooviness of this track, giving it a different flavor from the other B-sides on the album.
I’ll admit, the only reason I had any interest in the debut of X1 was my lingering attachment to the members of UP10TION, VICTION, and UNIQ who made it onto the final lineup. Even if that was initially my only reason, I’m glad that I took the time to listen to this full album and dive into the title music video. X1 has definitely left an impression on me, and I’m interested to see where the group goes from here.