A few days prior to NCT 127’s long-awaited comeback, the words “Cherry Bomb” were both on everyone’s lips and everyone’s fingertips, as the hands of fans were glued to their phones and keyboards. Then came June 14, and the surprise that came with the group’s brand new title track was either a little sour for some, or very tasty for others. Needless to say, “Cherry Bomb” is hard to reconcile—but here’s why you shouldn’t give up on it yet.
“Cherry Bomb” is the title track of the new mini-album by the same name from SM Entertainment’s most ambitious boy group to date, NCT 127. Ever since the concept of NCT was unveiled, it was obvious that the group’s subsequent releases weren’t going to fall on the generic side of the music industry—and NCT 127’s title tracks are definitely no exception to that rule. “Firetruck,” the group’s debut song, surprised at first with its unusual trap sound, before it turned many onlookers into devoted fans. The follow-up track, “Limitless,” had a slightly more melodic hook to it, but it didn’t take away from the edge of NCT 127’s music—it was just as weirdly experimental and musically intricate as the rest of the group’s music.
In many ways, “Cherry Bomb” follows that trend. It draws from NCT 127’s tendency towards hip-hop, while having that weird EDM twist to it, distorting the song and giving it a dark vibe, in a way. However, unlike “Firetruck” or “Limitless,” the elements usually so characteristic of NCT 127’s music might have been a little too much for this track. From the odd lyrics at the chorus taken straight from your childhood’s favorite sing-along tune, to the distorted bass and automated voices in the song, “Cherry Bomb” sounds like whoever produced it decided to line together a variety of random tracks and was somewhat satisfied with the chaotic result. And as much as I’d love to disagree, I’m slowly starting to see the appeal to it.
“Cherry Bomb” begs to be listened to again—and each time, you realize you’re still not used to all those strange elements coming together in the song. However, you’re more and more willing to give it another chance, just to see how it’ll sound like this time around. Plus, you can’t get enough of the bridge near the middle, where Doyoung, Taeil, and Jaehyun take over for a toned-down, beautiful vocal melody break, followed by Mark’s skilled rap. But then the song goes back to that melting pot of weirdness, and you’re left with more questions now than when you started.
And so you hit replay. And the cycle resumes.
Whether you like or absolutely despise “Cherry Bomb,” though, make sure you do check out Cherry Bomb, the third mini-album by the group. The release is amongst NCT 127’s best songs to date: the funky “0 Mile” is something never heard of before from the group, while the entrancing “Sun & Moon” displays the best of SM’s composing and writing. I’ll also leave you to the surprise of discovering the strikingly different “Whiplash” and “Summer 127.”
Maybe it’s too early to assert my feelings on NCT 127’s “Cherry Bomb.” After all, I’m still trying to figure out just how that song works, and why, in all its oddity, it was picked as the title track of what seems to be one of SM’s best album releases to date this year. But one thing is certain—the potential of NCT 127 is unrivaled, and they’re only set to get better as their career gradually grows. They definitely have the energy and the overwhelming skills to be “the biggest hit on the stage”—maybe not now, but definitely in the near future.