- City 127
- Replay (PM 01:27)
- Welcome To My Plaground (Regulate only)
- Knock On
- No Longer
- Interlude: Regular to Irregular
- Simon Says (Regulate only)
- My Van
- Come Back
- Fly Away With Me
- Chain (Korean Ver.) (Regulate only)
- Regular (English Ver.)
- Run Back 2 U (bonus track)
1. City 127
Opening the album up, City 127 kicks things off on a bit of a laidback and calm setting with its light R&B. After the introduction (which is the chorus), Taeyong does his rapping and singing in the verses before the chorus with Taeil, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Haechan, and Yuta filling that out then following with Mark in the second verse. Yeah it seems it’s just these 7 members that are featured here so the remaining 3 are just missing. For the opening track, it’s light and soft and sweet, but I don’t know if I would’ve had it open the album up IMO.
Which is made more apparent because Regular was chosen to promote the album as a whole. Of course NCT 127’s comeback songs have mostly been hard songs (with the exception of “Touch”). Unlike previous efforts though, Regular has more of a Latin sound to it and I find it refreshing for the group. Now this song features all the members here (which includes Johnny, Winwin and new member Jungwoo). I thought the song’s more meaningful lyrics were easier to like than the English version, but it’s still a great listen. While it still has Taeyong & Mark leading most of the song, just about everyone has a singular solo here and I found myself loving the arrangement. Groovy song, might not stand out like “Limitless” or “Fire Truck” did, but this is a good comeback!
3. Replay (PM 01:27)
I had wondered if there was any connection to one of their past songs, “Back 2 U (AM 01:27)” and it just seems it’s kind of a vague connection as it’s more of like something you would listen to in the afternoon versus the other track in the morning. Replay is quite slow at first and I like the opening sections with Jaehyun & Doyoung. Then after the prechorus with Yuta & Haechan, the song gets a cool beat and turns upbeat and club-centric and I just ended up loving the track! Hell even hearing Jungwoo, Taeil, and Johnny in the 2nd verse was awesome! Little surprised with no Taeyong and Mark, but this song is quite a strong song for them!
4. Welcome To My Playground
Of course the album was rereleased with some extra tracks (a common thing to do with K-pop albums, albeit “EMPATHY” seemed to not do it). The first of the new tracks on the repackaged album, “Regulate”, Welcome To My Playground is more for the fans who enjoyed “Touch”. It harbors some of that cute playfulness about it in its arrangement, but of the three is probably the weakest. I’m surprised to see how much Jungwoo there is here (probably the most through the entire album). Though I guess there was less of Johnny, Winwin, Yuta, and less Taeyong…I guess I was pretty much OK with it. I suppose it has its place, but I’m not remembering much of it.
5. Knock On
I feel like the album’s overall sound so far seems more relaxed than previous releases and it shows with the last track and now this song! The tune just feels dream-like, but I’m very happy to hear everyone get a decent line in this track. Though beyond that, the song kind of floats through my mind and dissipates pretty quickly. I don’t know, this one doesn’t really stand out to me very much.
6. No Longer
This one only features 6 of the 10 members (Taeil, Yuta, Jaehyun, Haechan, Doyoung, and Jungwoo). Yeah, it’s even lighter than “Knock On” being more of a ballad than anything else this album provided so far. With a simple piano arrangement with light high-hat, the song is here for the 6 to show off their vocal prowess. I mean I already know how powerful they all can be, but I’m happy to see Yuta and Jungwoo as we don’t quite get to see their vocals much and both can handle themselves just fine. While it’s not my type of song, it’s nice they threw a ballad on here.
7. Interlude: Regular to Irregular
A 3-minute interlude to give us a break from the music? I mean, I do like the classical sounds I get from it with the piano & strings and the fact this is the same track that played on their Yearbook video (a vid showing all 18 NCT members), but the fact this track exists to kind of bridge from the slower stuff to the more hip-hop stuff as a little past halfway, the arrangement shifts into a darker motif with some chaotic chords and some trap high-hats, though when played backwards it’s actually kind of a chaotic take on “Fire Truck”. Interesting interlude and I feel like it did its job here.
8. Simon Says
Chosen to promote the repackaged cut of the album, Simon Says is such a strange song but yet fitting for NCT 127’s more hip-hopish sound. The sound is mysterious and kind of harboring a darker vibe like “Limitless” and “Chain” but more the latter. Of course the song is pretty much littered with a lot of Taeyong and Mark, but there seems to be a bit more of a nicer line distribution. For a promo song, it’s odd, but I dig it in a weird way.
9. My Van
Moving into the irregular side of the album, My Van only features Taeyong, Mark, Jaehyun, and Jungwoo. Honestly, I feel like the track is more for the rappers as a LOT of the song is back and forth between Taeyong & Mark and as usual, they sound great and bounce off each other so nicely. I don’t know why, but this song makes me think of like weed or something was involved here as the lyrics seem so…off? I don’t know Jaehyun and Jungwoo both could’ve been left out and it wouldn’t change much honestly. This was kind of a weak song.
10. Come Back
At least the pace is picked up again with Come Back which does sound like an album track from something previous of theres (maybe “Cherry Bomb”?). While I feel like a lot of the members are once again left out of solos and a lot of the focus is between Taeil, Doyoung, Haechan, Taeyong, and Mark, there are some smaller parts are there for some of the other members. The rapping part is odd in the song, but the rest of the song is funky and cool! After a while it dawned on me…this is a Korean take of Come Back that was originally found on their Japanese mini-album, “Chain”. No wonder why it sounded so familiar to me!
11. Fly Away With Me
Hearing Taeil & Doyoung lead so much is rather nice, but I’m happier to hear a longer solos for both Jungwoo & Winwin alongside in the first verse of our next track. It does feel like this song suits being closer to “Replay” and “Knock On” more than back towards the end of the album. The chorus is nice and the beat is relaxing and not in your face. Once again surprised that Taeyong and Mark aren’t here, but this song is a decent jam I’d say. What I will say, is this song sounds almost 1 to 1 with a Jordin Fisher song, “All About Us”…is it a cover?
12. Chain (Korean Ver.)
Of course I say the repackaged album came with 3 new tracks, but this technically doesn’t count since it’s just a Korean take on their Japanese lead-in track off their mini-album of the same name. Right from the beginning besides the language change, the song feels like it had some arrangement editing like adding in an echo filter to make the tune feel a bit more rounded. Though not surprised that I didn’t hear Jungwoo here since he wasn’t present in the original release (ironic, since Jungwoo was added to “Cherry Bomb”). Hmmm…
13. Regular (English Ver.)
The timing couldn’t have been more predicted that NCT 127 would opt for an English cut of Regular (even to the point where the lyrics are different). Granted, the line distribution stays the same which is great to show off all the members in some fashion (Winwin getting shafted again). Either way, the English cut sounds quite good and the members mostly sound good speaking in English (Taeyong has some questionable mumbles) but otherwise it’s still Regular and it just sounds very American-friendly!
14. Run Back 2 U
So we have “Running 2 U” and “Back 2 U” as well…is there some other connection that I need to know about? Either way, when I saw this was the bonus track, it made curious as to why it was so and as it turns out the chorus is actually taken from a track called “BASSBOT” which was used to showcase 6 of the SM ROOKIES (Taeyong, Jaehyun, Johnny, Yuta, Ten, and former SM ROOKIE Hansol) back in 2015 before NCT was formed. I thought it was an awesome track and seeing that idea extended and given to NCT 127 (would’ve been great if Ten was involved) was an awesome idea. The new parts are great and seeing the other 127 members (minus Haechan for some reason) is a good way to turn this track into one of theirs. I still love the heavy chorus and its speedy and catchy as hell too! What a surprise to see making the album!
- Replay (PM 01:27)
- Regular (both versions)
- Run Back 2 U
- Simon Says
- Fly Away With Me
Song of Avoidance
So finally here we are with NCT 127’s first full length album and all I can say is…it’s OK? Maybe it’s just from being blessed by “EMPATHY” or something, but I feel like regular-irregular was kind of a bit dull in places. Stuff like Regular, Replay, and Run Back 2 U showcased their harder style, but I feel like majority of the rest was just sleeper songs for me. It’s not bad, but at this point I think they could do better. Also, hey Jungwoo joined the group and he was pushed pretty moderately here, but his voice is enough to really pop alongside Doyoung (as to me, they both have similar power and sound). Interesting to see where they go next after their adventure in America…though if rumors are correct, a new Chinese NCT unit? I’m kind of excited to see Kun, Winwin, Lucas, Chenle, and Renjun possibly get something cool (especially since the recent SM ROOKIES; Hendery, Yangyang, and Xiaojun were just added to SM ROOKIES earlier in the year).
As for Regulate, the 3 added tracks were kind of these and didn’t harm the rest of the album in anyway, nice to see NCT go back to more of their edgier sound for Simon Says and added a cuter song in Welcome To My Playground while Chain was kind of a bonus to say the least. Overall altogether, I’d say this album era was pretty good!