I swore to myself, at the announcement of NCT’s debut, that I wasn’t going to get sucked into SM Entertainment’s weird new formula—a seemingly unlimited number of members also debuting in sub-units. However, NCT 127 quickly made me eat my words when they debuted with “Fire Truck,” and they have continued their streak of catchy music to date. While their title tracks are indeed impressive, there’s no doubt that every album has quite a few great B-sides.
Off of their first mini album NCT #127 comes our first selection “Mad City.” The track features a heavy EDM harmony that is primarily complemented by the intense, angry rapping of members Taeyong and Mark, with the occasional vocals of Jaehyun added in. If you’re ever feeling particularly angry for any reason, “Mad City” is the perfect song to blast on full volume to release all that pent up anger. The track builds and builds until reaching the chorus, maintaining that intensity throughout.
Released alongside title “Limitless” on the second mini-album NCT #127 Limitless, “Good Thing” is a jazz-influenced melody that has a distinctive saxophone sound backing the vocals of the group. NCT 127 has a tendency to either focus on hard-hitting power tracks or cutesy boy concepts, but “Good Thing” is one of the few tracks that falls dead in the middle. It’s a mix of bouncy swing and catchy jazz, rounding out their two signature sounds nicely.
Running 2 U
From their newest mini-album Cherry Bomb comes “Running 2 U.” Following fierce track “Cherry Bomb,” “Running 2 U” is a mix of high energy EDM influences and the relaxing vocals of members Jaehyun, Taeil, and Doyoung. The contrast between the vocal line’s smooth melody and the intense dance track accompanying the rap line makes for a nicely balanced song that showcases NCT 127’s strong points.
“0 Mile” is a prime example of NCT 127 at the top of their cute and bouncy pop game. While you may think a group like NCT 127, executing fierce concepts so flawlessly, would have difficulty mastering any other type of concepts, “0 Mile” quickly suggests otherwise. Groups that have musical versatility like this are important to K-Pop in order to keep the genres sounding fresh and reach a broader audience. “0 Mile” is a nice contrast to “Cherry Bomb,” bringing a lighter sound to the otherwise intense album.