Live Review: Infinite “Infinite 6th Mini Album: Infinite Only” Showcase – Blue Square, Seoul (19.09.16)

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Seven gifted idols are back with their sixth mini album, Infinite Only. As the album title suggests, Infinite have brought new music that can only performed by themselves. The album displays a variety of musical attempts, including “Eternity” “The Eye” with dramatic melodies, to “AIR” of electro pop sound, “One Day” composed by Rphabet, Hoya, and Razar, “True Love” which talks about a real love story, and a fan song “Thank You.” The title songs, “One Day” and “The Eye” that were released on September 19th, while the showcase was held on the same day at Samsung Card Hall, Blue Square in Seoul.

Although it has been a year and two months since their last album was released, each member was busy with their individual activities. Sunggyu and Dongwoo performed as musical actors, Woohyun released his solo album, Hoya performed as a dancer at M.net’s dance competition show “Hit the Stage,” while L starred in several dramas. Woohyun added, “Sunggyeol and Sungjong rested very well.” Above all, they were on a concert tour under the title “That Summer” that has been held every other years in Seoul, Busan, and Japan.

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Despite their hectic individual schedules, Infinite members occasionally met with each other for their album recordings, music video shootings, and dance practices until the last moment during the Chuseok holiday. Famous British mastering engineer Christian Wright from Abbey Road Studios, who already participated in Infinite’s “One Great Stop Returns” album, also joined the production crew again this time, while composers and producers 1Take, TAK, Rphabet, Razar, and Oreo also contributed to the album making. Sungyeol confessed that “During the album-making process, I realized that I became old and felt the necessity of working out,” while Dongwoo responded, “I still don’t get sick that often even when I only sleep for three hours. Since our debut, there were too many schedules from Wednesday to Sunday—a cycle of appearing on a television show, practicing through the night, performing at a sound rehearsal, sleeping for a while, performing again for a regular live show, then practicing again—so I think that’s how I started to sleep less and less. Now I’m used to it.”

The album maintains the retro-style Infinite identity despite of the recent boom of hiphop and EDM in the music market. Dongwoo explained, “Composers emphasize the melody line when they make our songs. A lot of people think of our music as a ‘trendy retro’ style and I think we have eventually developed our identity based on that. Although we do not cease to attempt new styles, we still try to maintain our initial retro identity.” Yet the members complained that the CEO’s opinion is too strong that their opinions are often neglected in the album-making process. Hoya mentioned, “I wrote a lot of lyrics, I wrote many songs, but I was able to add my song in our album only after the composer hyung submitted the song to the CEO under his name, not mine. That was how my song was able to be included in the album.” Woohyun also mentioned that he wished to participate more in the album-making process. Yet he explained, “I was once entirely in charge of the production when I was making my own solo album. Then I realized that it might be risky if we make (our Infinite album) in the same way—how will I be responsible for the possible negative results if I make Infinite albums in a way I want? So there are risks when the members individually express their opinions for group projects. Yet we continue to send our songs and opinions all the time to our CEO.”

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Among the new songs, the title song “The Eye” indeed best describes Infinite’s identity as a synchronized dance group. The eye of a storm in the lyrics reflects the emotional condition of a person who broke of with his lover. In the midst of explaining the choreography, Sunggyu suddenly confessed that he just received “a stormy signal” from his body and must go to bathroom right away. Eventually he ran to the bathroom while singing the song for Hoya who was showing the choreography. The choreography also well-described the eye of a storm as one member was circled around other members.

The music video was directed by Hwang Sueah, who has worked with Infinite members as a group and also as individuals for a long time. Woohyun mentioned that “We have worked with three other music video directors before, but eventually we’ve always ended up working with Director Hwang. Now it is extremely comfortable working with her because she knows our personalities too well and that is eventually well-reflected in the music videos.”

As their favorite songs, Woohyun chose “AIR” because of its exciting mood, while L chose the fan song, “Thank you.” Hoya chose “One Day” because he composed the song after watching the movie, “One Day.” Sunggyu also chose “One Day” because he was familiar with the song compared to others as he already performed the song at their concert. Lastly, the members promised their fans that they will either eat jjajangmyeon with fans or busk “The Eye” in an acoustic version if they get a first place at music programs.

The members lastly made a resolution that they will work hard for their promotion so that “The Eye” could be a turning point of their careers: “We’ve never thought of ourselves as top artists. We continuously work hard because we always try to move toward the top spot instead of remaining at where we are now (Woohyun).”