Over the past two years, CIX has followed a brighter concept. Their previous title track “Wave” — which was over a year ago — was no exception. However, for their latest comeback with “458”, the group takes on a sound reminiscent of their earlier releases but incorporates a newfound sense of maturity.
During CIX’s comeback showcase, Hyunsuk explains that the song is about a “strong will to proceed forward to find the essence of love.” In other words, the song tells the story of racing at full speed in search of love’s true meaning. The name of the title track lends nicely to this concept since “458” has a double meaning. The number is derived from one of the most popular sports car models, the Ferrari 458 Italia, while also being the last three digits of the speed of light.
The song itself is an electro hip hop number with a consistent vibe that can leave listeners yearning for more. The most captivating part of the track is the song’s beginning. The striking piano sets the dark tone of the song, whilst the lower registered vocals create an alluring feel. The instrumentals slowly climb throughout the song’s progression until the chorus hits. The addition of electronic synths provides the song with some impact and is what lands “458” into the electro hip hop category. The synths keep the dark atmosphere but also provide a different dynamic to the song. It adds a slight scratching effect and has an unsettling placement which gives the track its charm.
The following verses are a repeat of the previous sequences with the addition of subtle percussion. The zig-zagged placement of the synths appears once again in the dance break with the accompaniment of ad-libs. The rap part follows and the chorus is played one final time before the song ends. With many songs following the production of Girls’ Generation’s “I Got a Boy”, it is nice to hear the consistency that “458” has, but it feels as though an extra dash of energy and dynamism is missing. The rap portion of the song could have been a great conduit for an element change, one that would give the song a little extra oomph. Though, the song remains relatively captivating as a whole.
The aesthetics and lore of the MV only add to the song’s overall appeal. The members are consistently shown in visually stunning manners that add to the song’s dark atmosphere and lyrics. In the last line of BX’s rap verse, he says,
“Your love, I desire more of this sweet suffering”
This line clearly establishes how “458” is about racing to find love no matter what. The MV builds upon this theme by showcasing the members as turning into fallen angels due to their lust for love. Some scenes throughout the video show members either being winged or having their wings clipped from them. These images suggest the members are fallen angels. Fallen angels are angels that are cast out of heaven for sinning. One of the seven deadly sins is lust, which can be defined as an unusually intense desire or longing.
Another symbolism for the members longing to find the meaning of love is the orange butterflies that cover Yonghee’s face. Not only is the shot a great addition to the aesthetic of the MV’s visuals, but also pushes the video’s narrative. Orange butterflies are used as symbols of passion. Since Yonghee is the only member to not have a scene with wings or feathers, his representation of his lust is through these butterflies.
During group shots, the members were shown sporting black and blue racer-inspired outfits, along with fiery red tracksuits. The wardrobe is a nice nod to the name of the track, but also adds to the MV’s lore. Red can be linked to represent love, lust, and passion. All three are core elements of the song’s meaning and aid the concept of the members falling due to their lust for love. The ending suggests that CIX might continue this concept into their next comeback and start another series of interlinked MVs.
The visuals of the MV create the impact that the song itself is missing. The song utilizes empty space between the scratching synths and the percussive keys that allow listeners to focus on each element without it becoming overwhelming. Although the song hasn’t fallen into the I Got a Boy-ification of fourth-generation music, its consistency can only go so far. The song lacks a strong centerpiece that could leave viewers with a memorable high.
All that said, “458” is a good song with an even better MV that could have benefited from one simple element change.