Wake Up and Listen to NU’EST W’s new Album
Originally, I believed NU’EST W’s new album title was Wake Up; it’s actually WAKE,N, but the title still stands.
The Pledis Entertainment boy group has graced us with another short and sweet album. After the experimentally funky “Dejavu,” the sub-unit has more or less returned to the blaring electronic sound with “HELP ME.” Since the EDM-centric “WHERE YOU AT,” this new era shows maturity in their production while maintaining the group’s crisp aesthetic.
“HELP ME” borrows from nostalgic electronic K-Pop but still sounds modern, almost futuristic. The mainly monochromatic style of the music video is reminiscent of their last comeback. While NU’EST W has built their own sound and aesthetic, their moody abstract releases are teetering towards predictable. It makes sense since this theme brought them popularity after their participation on Produce 101, but those of us who were there before the big break know just how experimental the boys can get. Therefore, it feels as if the boys are settling rather than continuing to push through boundaries.
The album structure also mimics W, HERE in that we receive two group songs and a solo track from every member. The title track and “L.I.E” almost resemble intro themes for an anime with their dramatic instrumentals. The latter never really drops, but rather maintains its slower tempo. It contrasts but complements the chaotic “HELP ME.”
The real highlights, however, are the solo tracks. Each boy’s color shines through—each track is so dramatically different from the others. Their creative visions clearly shine through as all of them contributed to the lyrics or production of their own song. Aron’s “WI-FI” is a personal favorite—a smooth, sleek song with jazz and R&B elements and a pretty piano melody over a dancing mixture of trap beats and live percussions. JR’s track is most similar to the group’s central sound. In “I HATE YOU,” he fervently raps most likely about the inner turmoil within himself. The song meshes a hard-hitting electronic drop with an electric guitar.
Ren’s track “YOU & I” is undoubtedly the prettiest. The pop-rock ballad is the OST track that plays as the main characters face their biggest conflict, but the bittersweet lyrics might just bring you to tears. Baekho concludes the album with the most sonically interesting track of them all. You might not understand it at first; it’ll hook you until the first chorus and then completely switch it up in the second verse. “FEELS” intertwines elements of funk, alternative pop, electronic, and even disco. The complexity of the production makes sense since Baekho took part in producing the whole album.
“Dejavu” was criminally slept on, but Pledis thankfully gave the boys more material to shine through their music. Solo tracks are always the best expression of character, and we can’t wait to get a Minhyun solo track on the next NU’EST release.