[Review] CIX finally get their feet on solid ground with “Cinema”

Though they debuted back in 2019, CIX have yet to release a title track or album that has connected with me. Within the idol worship world that is K-pop fandom, this may lead fans to believe that I have something against the group themselves. But, that’s not the case at all. I just haven’t liked any of their songs so far. It’s as simple as that. Thankfully, new single Cinema ends this unwelcome streak.

Thus far, K-pop’s retro trend has largely been constrained to girl groups and soloists. I’ve been (very impatiently) waiting for the sound to permeate boy group releases as well, and I’m hopeful that Cinema might be the tip of an iceberg. With this track, CIX have reinvented themselves as purveyors of gentle synth pop. The song fully commits to its concept, opening with a movie-themed English-language dialogue. The verses utilize chugging synth bass and airy harmonies to forge a dreamlike sound. The melody itself is a little too hesitant for my taste, but I appreciate the consistency that runs throughout these segments.

Cinema’s trump card is its chorus, which hinges on a catchy repetition of the title. You all know how much I love a chorus that opens on a high note before making its descent. The instrumental becomes punchier here, and the hook has a singalong quality that’s been missing from the group’s work thus far. I’m happy to hear a well-constructed bridge, which adds another shot of momentum before we hit the song’s finale. If I’m being picky, I think Cinema could do with a bit more funk and a bit less airiness, but this is still a welcome surprise.

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