Kurayami Monogatari

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NCT DREAM – Fireflies June 16, 2020

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 3:41 am

fireflies

Track Listing

  1. Fireflies

1. Fireflies

After hearing “Don’t Need Your Love” and really loving the crap out of it, I kind of wonder if they had it in them to do it again and Fireflies was kind of pleasant too, maybe not to the same degree as the aforementioned song, but now we’re hearing NCT DREAM singing a song in English fully with this track.  Though I really do like the buildup to the dancebeats of the chorus.  Plus hearing everyone tackling the language shift is surprisingly nice with little problems.  Plus Renjun really caught me with his vocals the most for sure!

 

 

Considering this released a month after “Don’t Need Your Love” and before “BOOM”, Fireflies was quietly announced and yet I found myself shocked at how little attention it got because it’s one of their better tracks to be honest!  The atmosphere is fun and bright and the members sound good singing in English as well!  Is it me or does NCT DREAM excel in these random releases?

 

NCT U – Coming Home

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 3:24 am

cominghome

Track Listing

  1. Coming Home

1. Coming Home

Seeing as we have another STATION song to deal with, this time it’s another ballad from NCT U.  Though guessing when this was released, of course it’d be a wintry song to celebrate the holidays.  I mean we’ve heard Taeil, Jaehyun, and Taeil together before in a song like this, “Timeless…” so we already know what to expect with such amazing vocalists, but adding Haechan to the mix was really sweet of them to include.  The song itself doesn’t do much for me as a winter ballad, but the quartet sound so good anyways, though they don’t sing in unison anywhere, but I suppose it’s OK.

 

 

I guess SM didn’t forget they still had NCT U to use after “EMPATHY 2018”.  Honestly, I feel like they should give up on this part of the NCT brand because they just don’t utilize this idea enough to make it worthwhile, especially since this was only a STATION song with their better vocalists handling a winter ballad.  I mean it is interesting now that Haechan has been in one NCT U release, but I just don’t know…this seems pretty farfetch’d and throwaway to me.

 

WayV – Awaken The World

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 3:04 am

Awaken The World

Track Listing

  1. Turn Back Time
  2. Bad Alive
  3. Unbreakable
  4. After Midnight
  5. Interlude: Awaken The World
  6. Only Human
  7. Domino
  8. Up from Here
  9. Electric Hearts
  10. Stand By Me

1. Turn Back Time

I feel like WayV’s comebacks (minus “Regular”) have been really interesting due to the group doing these kind of time-based themes, especially after “Moonwalk” and it’s no surprise WayV would come back again with Turn Back Time!  I am liking the kind of futuristic sound I’m getting from it and even more when Lucas, Winwin, and Ten pop in the verses.  Then hearing Kun and Xiaojun taking the pre-chorus in a light way just kept me interested with the dramatic and cool chorus.  My only quip is that it’s the 3rd time that the bridge of the song is something with gritty guitars (similar to both “Take Off” and “Moonwalk” which is slowly get old and in this case, didn’t really work for me.  Still, it’s good, not quite as memorable as the aforementioned songs but decent otherwise.

2. Bad Alive

Getting into the remainder of the album, Bad Alive comes in with a bit more of an aggressive and dirty atmosphere and I’m pretty surprised by the whole thing here.  The darker and gritter tone is neat and something I haven’t heard the group do yet and the filters on the vocals add to the atmosphere as well!  I’m also liking everyone getting lines here to a pretty nice amount I’d say.  Surprisingly good coming after “Turn Back Time”!

3. Unbreakable

Next track in, Unbreakable tones thing down to more of a slower R&B track.  With the fingersnaps and the interesting synth line gives an interesting vibe to it, but it brings the group together, especially in its chorus and everyone sounds great here together.  I’m surprised they don’t utilize Yangyang more as a vocalist because he sounds great in this track (though the solo lines from everyone else are decent too!)  Nice tune though~

4. After Midnight

Coming after “Unbreakable”, After Midnight brings in the lower 80’s vibe and I instantly fell in love with it because it has that nightlife feel alongside some pretty smooth synth lines and vocals from the vocals line for sure.  Ten, Kun, and Hendery sound great in this song and the song blooms in its chorus where the dance beat are at their most profound.  Despite Yangyang and Winwin getting one solo, I’d say this was a pretty great track overall and did anyone else think “Love Talk” in this track?

5. Interlude: Awaken The World

Then we enter the interlude of the album, a minute long of some interesting synth lines that kind of gave me a mix of both “Turn Back Time” and “Moonwalk” for some reason building to a short dance beat before fizzling out to our next track.  Weird, but I suppose aesthetics are a thing.

6. Only Human

Seems that Only Human has only Yangyang, Lucas, Hendery, and Winwin in the track and I wasn’t expecting the group’s rappers to get something so lowbrow and relaxing for a track like this, but I’m pretty much digging the laidback arrangement for sure.  Plus it really showcases the quartet’s talent here, though I think Winwin is more singing than rapping his lines which is fine, his lower tones really work well in the pre-chorus.  Yangyang though of the 4 impressed me the most, he’s really coming into his own as a rapper and I’m just happily surprised at his growth in the group.  Lucas and Hendery both handle their lines well.  I really dug this track though overall, nice job here!

7. Domino

Not sure what’s that opening, but Domino seem to be another track that’s kind of mellow but has a steady beat to keep things interesting.  It’s got a B-side flavor to it that’s hard to escape, but the more sensual sounding vocals and the rather catchy chorus really caught me off guard.  Of course everyone has something to do here and it’s just a really smooth tune for them.  Yeah, another great one!

8. Up from Here

Are we going back to some 90’s New Jack?  At least that’s what I’m feeling when I get into this track and I’m feeling it from the members, then Xiaojun & Yangyang (and the 2nd time Ten & Winwin) get their lines and gets this really odd descending synth melody which is a little off?  Maybe??  Luckily, the New Jack Swing pops back in the chorus and we’re back to normal and I’m liking the mood and feel.  Maybe not as high tier like some of the other tracks, but decent enough!

9. Electric Hearts

I was curious with this title just simply at how it catches the eye and I was not expecting something like this for a song like this and I was happily surprised because the group was more awake and with how much English was in it and just so happy with the amount of lines for everyone (especially Winwin <3).  The tone of the song just demands attention and I loved it a LOT.  Definitely my favorite from the album that’s for sure!

10. Stand By Me

Then we get to the finale of the album and Stand By Me is definitely a song that kind of screams bubblegum boyband music with the acoustic guitar-fronted arrangement that makes it feel like it was from One Direction almost or even something like Disney Channel-esque.  I’m not sure why they chose to close things out with something rather cheesy, but the group still sounds rather nice and works with most genres.

Tracks Recommended

  • Electric Hearts
  • Only Human
  • After Midnight
  • Domino
  • Turn Back Time

Song of Avoidance

  • Interlude: Awaken The World

So we’re finally at WayV’s first full-length album and I have to say if the worst track is its interlude, you did pretty damn well for yourselves here.  Awaken The World is definitely something that caught my attention and with the lukewarm reception I had to NCT 127’s “Neo Zone” album, I was pleasantly surprised at what we got here from the Chinese unit!  The group is really finally settling into its place and even expanding to new sounds and each member is shining with it be the vocals or rapping, both exceeded my expectations here and is a must listen! *RECOMMENDED*

 

NCT DREAM – Reload April 30, 2020

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 4:58 am

Reload 46

Track Listing

  1. Ridin’
  2. Quiet Down
  3. 7 Days
  4. Love Again
  5. Puzzle Piece

1. Ridin’

It feels like it’s been forever since “BOOM” so I was excited to see NCT DREAM return and it seems we’re back to something a bit more harder for the group, kind of feeling like “GO” without the pure aggression it had.  There’s some really neat parts especially with Jaemin kicking things off and hearing all the remaining members doing their thing that they’ve been pulling off since the last couple of releases.  Not bad at all and I was still pretty impressed overall that’s for sure!

2. Quiet Down

I actually was more interested in hearing Quiet Down, though it’s still pretty much in the same cool vein that “Ridin'” had which is neat.  Though this one has a bit more interesting dynamics and overall sound like Chenle singing low lines and Renjun rapping in the second verse.  I mean still, Jeno and Jaemin still own the raps, but I was just overall surprised in these switch-ups.  I’d even argue that it’s better than the leading track to be quite honest!

3. 7 Days

Though the remainder of the mini-album has the group take on more lighter arrangements starting with 7 Days which takes the group into an R&B sound (something that NCT 127 has done a lot of from their latest album).  Though I’m already more interested in the song because of the younger vocals and the harmonies are sweet to hear.  I do enjoy the arrangement of the song a lot, but I don’t think I’ll be able to remember the melody much except for its chorus which is pleasant!

4. Love Again

Oh do I like Haechan opening the next song Love Again a lot.  I mean the song screams like 90’s boy band style here with the vocals chops and the chanting alongside in the verses.  Yeah, once the chorus hits, it heavily starts to feel nostalgic to the kid in me back in the 90s and I kind of love the New Jack Swing groove from it.  Nice little tune here and did pretty well!

5. Puzzle Piece

Ending the mini, we have the ballad of the release in Puzzle Piece and it’s pretty much your cute love song from the group.  I do like the stripped down feel of the song mostly surrounded by acoustic guitar which is interesting for the group as they haven’t tackled something like this.  It’s pretty intimate and soft-spoken and that was nice to see from them.

 

 

I was wondering where NCT DREAM was after last year’s “We Boom” and they returned with another great mini-album here.  I think 4 out of the 5 songs were really good tracks and showed the group growing more.  I think 7 Days is the weakest to me because it feels like other NCT songs out there.  I think this group of 6 is continuing to be awesome…

would be the thing I’d say if they didn’t announce a couple days prior that NCT DREAM’s graduation concept is being dropped entirely, Mark is returning to the group, and from the sound of it will act like NCT U (which makes me wonder how active they’ll be moving forward because NCT U is barely kicking right now).

 

NCT DREAM – THE DREAM April 29, 2020

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 4:21 am

thedream

Track Listing

  1. Chewing Gum
  2. My First and Last
  3. We Young
  4. GO
  5. We Go Up
  6. BOOM
  7. Candle Light

1. Chewing Gum

Of course we start this mini-album with their debut song and boy the group has come a LOOOONG way since this song especially in doing more mature songs.  Jumping back to Chewing Gum is a little jarring because it was so youthful and happy-go-lucky.  I just remember a LOT of Haechan & Mark in the song because they were at that time the popular members (thanks to NCT U & NCT 127).  The song is pretty cute still and hearing the new members (Renjun, Chenle, Jisung, Jeno, and Jaemin) was refreshing and held the song up too.  Still a fun song to come back to!

2. My First and Last

As it was the group’s first comeback, My First and Last kept the youthful sound up, but kind of took it in a more funkier route which was great!  Sad that Jaemin had to miss this and “We Young” due to an injury so the remaining 6 had to continue on.  I’m really liking the group’s dynamics for the most part (Haechan leads while Mark still has the main rap lines).  Though hearing the other new members is nice to hear too, a good sign that the group was just going to get better!

3. We Young

I still definitely am here and there with this song to this day, but I’ve warmed a bit more since reviewing it originally.  I think the move to it’s kind of genre was an odd choice and felt more like a step back to the kiddy nature of “Chewing Gum”.  I do like hearing Chenle and Renjun step up a bit more here and with Jeno and Jisung taking more rap lines is interesting too.  Like I said, it’s a bit divisive of a song, but it works and made sense as a leading track!

4. GO

So with “We Young” diving back to the child-like wonders, GO was a HELLA SHARP 180 in comparison.  Being as NCT DREAM’s contribution to the NCT collective album, “EMPATHY”, GO was a huge change for the group’s sound as it was more hip-hop and aggressive (as if they traded styles with NCT 127 here).  Though I love this song still and it remains one of the best NCT tracks out there.  Also, Jaemin returns and he shares a decent rap line with Jeno in the song actually everyone but Jisung had shine here.  It’s such a change of pace, but I love that they did it.

5. We Go Up

Which made sense they’d continue that streak with their next comeback which was also the last main song Mark did with the group before his graduation from said group due to age.  Though it’s great to see Jaemin and Jeno kickstart the song with Mark and Jisung following behind leaving the other 3 members to take the pre-chorus for once.  It’s a very energetic song with a booming chorus that’s really catchy in some ways (the chorus’ lyrics are a bit…monotonous though).  Great song though I will say!

6. BOOM

So the first post-Mark NCT DREAM song, BOOM was pretty cool too giving us a classier style for the group and showcased more of the members and it’s really interesting to listen to because of the beats and great energy the group has.  I was worried that Haechan wasn’t going to be involved because of his international trip with NCT 127, so I’m happy he was able to do it though making sparse visuals in the MV.  Still an awesome song!

7. Candle Light

Interesting choice that they closed this mini-album with Candle Light considering it wasn’t an official release from the band, but more like an SM Station release.  It is also slightly strange because it’s the ballad where the rest of the album was upbeat danceable songs.  Though I will say I still enjoyed this song because it’s just a happy song especially since this was the last PV Mark did as part of NCT DREAM.  It’s a nice track overall and closes the mini with a cute little bow.

 

 

I get that this mini-album was the group’s sort-of debut in Japan, but like was this truly needed?  I mean they didn’t even redo the songs in Japanese and purely left as the Korean takes.  I mean the group’s 6 main songs and an SM Station track was nice and is the best songs from the group, but like if you were going to include Candle Light, might as well included “JOY”, “Trigger the fever” and “Don’t Need Your Love” at that point.  Like I said this mini-album is 7 amazing songs, but the effort and lack of surprises or anything new hurts this release a LOT.

 

NCT 127 – Neo Zone April 28, 2020

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 2:39 am

neozone

Track Listing

  1. Elevator (127F)
  2. Kick It
  3. Boom
  4. Pandora’s Box
  5. Day Dream
  6. Interlude: Neo Zone
  7. MAD DOG
  8. Sit Down!
  9. Love Me Now
  10. Love Song
  11. White Night
  12. Not Alone
  13. Dreams Come True

The Final Round Tracklist

  1. Punch
  2. NonStop
  3. Prelude
  4. Kick It
  5. Boom
  6. Pandora’s Box
  7. Day Dream
  8. Make Your Day
  9. Interlude: Neo Zone
  10. MAD DOG
  11. Sit Down!
  12. Love Me Now
  13. Love Song
  14. White Night
  15. Not Alone
  16. Dreams Come True
  17. Elevator (127F)

1. Elevator (127F)

As the opening to the album, Elevator starts off with a nice funky synth that follows into more funky riffs throughout!  I’m really caught off guard that we’re here with the group and everyone seems to have a nice amount of presence here.  Of course I’m always mostly vocally impressed by Haechan, Taeil, and Doyoung, but it seems more of the group is starting to show presence here.  Nice song to open things up with.

2. Kick It

Of course we’ll get into the promoted track from the album (though that’s saying a little, but since every song had a short version PV with the exception of “Dreams Come True” which had a full one as well).  Not shockingly it’s one of the few edgier songs from the album, in some ways.  The main hooks are the more snappier ones (and strange talking about Bruce Lee), but then you have the verses which are a lot chilled out and the raps from Taeyong and Mark.  It’s a little weird, slightly making me think of “Limitless” in a way.  Still not the best leading song from the group, it just seems to carry the kind of in-your-face groove style that songs prior (“Chain” and “Wakey Wakey” did but better).

3. Boom

Not to be confused with NCT DREAM’s song of the same name, we get a different song completely with NCT 127.  Right from the start, it’s a lot more laidback and chill with acoustic guitars and more focus on the vocals (like “Elevator”).  I really do appreciate this lightness and kind of glowing feel.  Though it does this thing after the chorus where it felt like it was gonna go harder, but doesn’t do it lol.  Sad, because I kind of liked where that part was going like it was going into a rap for Taeyong who isn’t really in the song I’ve noticed.  It’s OK, but felt like more could’ve been done here (or actually had the group cover the NCT DREAM song instead lol).

4. Pandora’s Box

I’m kind of wondering where this album is going because other than “Kick It”, it’s been pretty mellow so far.  For a title such as Pandora’s Box, it’s pretty much light R&B here like another “Elevator” which is OK and everyone once again gets a decent spotlight shone on them in lines and I’m really loving the vocals especially from Johnny, Jaehyun, and Yuta!  This does feel more NCT 127 though with Mark and Taeyong swapping raps in the bridge though, so that’s nice, but I don’t know if I like this more or less than “Elevator” as the two are kind of way similar to one another.

5. Day Dream

Not sure where I’d put this song to be honest.  It’s like NCT U’s “YESTODAY” with the kind of slow R&B, but kind of urban-ish in some ways?  Like 90’s R&B.  Though this time it’s covered in lovely vocals, especially from the vocal line who are really wrangling listeners with the angelic vocals in this one.  Like those high notes from Doyoung, Yuta, Jaehyun, and Jungwoo is just eargasmic.  Hell, Johnny is in the rap line in the bridge so there’s some decent surprises.  Though vocally I’m super impressed, the song’s arrangement is kind of bland, but it sets itself behind the impressive vocals, so I can’t bomb it too hard.

6. Interlude: Neo Zone

So we come to the middle of the album with a little bit of a musical break.  It still feels like a continuation of “Day Dream” with the melody in the background, but it slowly changes and gets a bit more edgy again with some aggressive synths and powerful synth beats which is really cool!  It ends with Johnny saying a line and that’s about it…short but I suppose it’s there to shift tones!

7. MAD DOG

At least the interlude works because MAD DOG is a bit more edgy right from the start.  Though it is the first of the group splitting into smaller grouping, this one with Taeyong, Mark, Doyoung, and Taeil.  I’m kind of surprised since y’know half is the rap line, and the other two are powerful singers.  Though it turns out most of it is on the rap line (Taeil & Doyoung only get one solo line in the bridge).  The song itself is cool to a certain extent, the which screeching synth in the chorus kind of lame and the bass falls back…making it more kind concerning to me.  It’s OK but not the best.

8. Sit Down!

It’s funny, Sit Down! also fits more of the edgier side with the softer verses.  Like “MAD DOG” it feels like Taeyong and Mark once again get the focus here, but with the remainder of the group being a part of the song, makes it feel better in places, I do like the verses a LOT more than its chorus where that chorus is so robotic and more of a nuisance (Johnny’s endline is kind of goofy and Yuta under the immense amount of auto-tune, kind of kills me on the inside).  Though I think the raps and the slower clean vocal parts save the song, but yeah, this was too much.

9. Love Me Now

I’m pretty happy we leave the harder tracks behind and return to something nicer in the tropical dance track, Love Me Now.  It gives me some really nice vibes to songs like “Replay” and “Highway to Heaven” with the chants and light dance vibes.  Plus once again the vocals kill it and really puts a smile on my face, this may be my favorite track from the album if I had to be honest.

10. Love Song

Did we return to the same sound from “Boom” and “Pandora’s Box” for Love Song?  Of the songs I thought was going to be a ballad, it’s anything but, but I really ended up jiving with this one especially with the group’s harmonies in this one.  The vocal line seem to be having fun with this one being able to freely show their chops (especially Haechan, Doyoung, Jungwoo, and Taeil).  Even better with the rapping trio having the bridge.  Though I have to say again, it’s leaving me like “Day Dream” did where the music wasn’t as interesting as the vocals.

11. White Night

I guess it makes sense that the actual ballad of the album is in White Night and no surprise that once again the vocal line takes priority.  Though with a simple piano and light synth arrangement, it suits all the amazing vocalists in a great way.  I had thought the song would remain the whole way through, but the chorus introduces the R&B beats.  I’m actually liking both sides of the song and really comes together especially since Taeyong and Mark are singing and not being rappers here.  Not bad overall here!

12. Not Alone

Interesting ethereal synths open up our last track and we hear Haechan, Jaehyun, Jungwoo, and Doyoung with their stellar vocals and then hearing Johnny and Mark tackle the chorus, it’s pretty surprising to say the least to hear members used this way.  It’s a strange track since it doesn’t rise and fall like other tracks do and the minimal arrangement is nice (the trap snaps are a little annoying, but otherwise, not bad here either).

13. Dreams Come True

Though the album comes with a bonus track in Dreams Come True, which was a gift track for fans on January 27th (or 1/27…NCT 127 Day) and hearing it, it definitely gives me a light 90s R&B groove behind it and it was well mixed I’d say.  Though once again, it kind of meshes alongside “Elevator” and “Day Dream” and I find it difficult to remember it after a while, especially since it is a bonus track.  Though this was also the song to bring back Jungwoo (who I didn’t know prior was on hiatus).  So I mean yay?  Where’s Winwin though?

The Final Round

1. Punch

So the repackaged album released and of course they shove 3 of the new tracks at the front, but for whatever reason threw “Elevator” at the end of the album.  Punch was the promotional track for the re-release and I’m slightly confused how I feel about this one that’s for sure.  It does harken for more of an electro vibe and yet the feel of the track feels a bit more familiar to “Kick It”.  Even down to the aggressive chorus but softer verses.  Though I’m enjoying the equality of the song and hearing Johnny singing is always nice to see up front.  It’s OK, but I think the aforementioned track did much better in the long run.

2. NonStop

Though the futuristic vibes continue into the next track, NonStop and this is a little more of what I was hoping for without the aggressive nature of the group being at the front.  The group’s R&B tone was nice and the flow of the track felt more cooler to me than something like “Punch” did.  Still does kind of feel like an album track though so there’s not a heavy hook going on, but the tune is great!

3. Prelude

Which brings up to the 3rd track which is more or less something to pretty much open into “Kick It”  I mean the Japanese vibes mixed with the funky arrangement and things that sound like Kung Fu stuff is throughout on top of this trap-like atmosphere is interesting.  Not quite sure “Kick It” needed something, but it appreciated that the hook of the tune is a part of the Prelude so that’s good right?

8. Make Your Day

Later on in the tracklist, we get the 3rd and last of the new tracks with Make Your Day, a song sung between (Doyoung, Jaehyun, Jungwoo, Taeil, and Haechan), it’s another ballad for the album, but it feels a bit more romantic in nature which is surprisingly nice and with the tune being piano-onlu, really adds the fact that these 5 are a great vocal unit.  Though seeing as it is after “Day Dream”, it does come off slightly boring at that point, but I can’t deny that this was a good track.

Tracks Recommended

  • Love Me Now
  • White Night
  • Pandora’s Box
  • Kick It
  • Not Alone

Song of Avoidance

  • Sit Down!

I personally cannot begin to say where I think this album failed to be honest.  I mean NCT 127 has been incredibly busy since “regular-irregular” released and I think the fatigue was kind of starting to show…although…it’s the writers/producers and not so much the group themselves?  There was really no winners here and their best track, Love Me Now, is still lower than many of their previous songs.  It felt almost generic in places and at this point I feel like NCT 127 should have evaded these rather vanilla offerings at this point.  Maybe cut off half the album would’ve done better in this case, though it seems there’ll be a repackaged release soon with 3-ish new songs (one is an interlude to Kick It, as if it was needed).  Dunno, just wasn’t into this one sadly.

Then The Final Round repackage came out and for the most part, the 3 new tracks are decent additions, but I still feel the overall package was just kind of there for me, a little better, Prelude could’ve easily been left off and throwing Elevator at the end of the album is a bit strange of a choice, but I would say this would be better to get between the two.

 

WayV – Take Over The Moon November 20, 2019

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 5:36 am

Take Over the Moon

Track Listing

  1. Moonwalk
  2. Yeah Yeah Yeah
  3. Love Talk
  4. King of Hearts
  5. Face to Face
  6. We go nanana

1. Moonwalk

As the group returned for a 3rd release in 2019, Moonwalk really shows a different side to WayV without stretching far off from what “Take Off” previous was able to do for the group.  The piano, the dramatic strings in the poppy arrangement really reminds of Kpop of yore (as in like 2nd Generation of like TVXQ, TEEN TOP, VIXX and similar groups with these kind of songs).  I’m really liking this and finally it feels like Ten, Kun, and Xiaojun really felt like the vocalists while Winwin, Lucas, Hendery, and Yangyang were the rappers.  I have to give props though to Yangyang, his raps were pretty fire in this one, but everyone did well in their parts.  I think it’s currently my favorite leading track and really shows the group growing more and more.

2. Yeah Yeah Yeah

As the 2nd track in, Yeah Yeah Yeah feels a little more of the hip-hopish vibes that NCT 127 was heavily pulling off.  It’s slower than “Moonwalk”, but the groove is pretty much hefty and brings out the cool side of the group.  I’m liking everyone here and I’m surprised Winwin was pronounced in some of the sections.  I also am impressed by Xiaojun’s growth as a singer too.  It’s a pretty neat song overall!

3. Love Talk

I guess this could be considered another track that promoted the mini (it had a PV, although it was with the English version, which was released separately digitally).  I’m really like the toned down feel of the song and the kind of sexy glow that’s all about it.  That kind of laidback, with the light tropical synths is nice and this was definitely a song based around Xiaojun, Kun, and Ten for the most part while Lucas, Hendery, and Yangyang had the raps.  I was surprised at the lack of Winwin, but they gave him the closing line…interesting but I mean why?  Honestly, the English version is so much better in line distribution, so I have to say listen to that over the Korean cut.

4. King of Hearts

Next up are the two kind of splintered groupings on the mini.  King of Hearts is another slow jam of a song, but this is more R&B/Hip-hop based.  I’m enjoying Lucas, Hendery, and Yangyang together rapping their sections as it adds a bit of spice to an otherwise slower tune during the verses.  Though what caught me off guard the most was that Winwin had the singing lines of the song and he sounded amazing in them, makes you wonder why he gets shorted so much in NCT.  The tune is a short one though with two verses and two choruses basically.  It’s fine overall, but yay for some kind of appreciation for Winwin!

5. Face to Face

Seems the next track only has Kun, Ten, and Xiaojun singing together here and fair enough is that the tune is a ballad on the mini-album.  Granted it is the 3 best singers here so I feel like it made sense to hear them in this track.  Though the open space in this ballad with the echo filters and light arrangement is kind of boring to me.  Though the 3 melodically sound great though.

6. We go nanana

The mini-album ends with We go nanana and it feels like WayV is pulling a similar tone like NCT 127’s “Touch” with that cute upbeat pop song that’s kind of 90’s funky but sort of pulling on those nostalgic strings.  I’m just enjoying the nature of the song and it’s a style I haven’t seen WayV tackle until now.  I’m also loving that everyone is getting some decent spotlight here.

 

 

This could be WayV’s best release to date!  There’s just a lot of variety here in the songs and really showcases every member in the group in a positive way, everything that was shaky from their first two releases has kind of dissipated here.  The two leading songs were pretty good tracks (although English version of Love Talk is much better) and the other 4 songs were pretty good too!  I would say WayV really had an awesome 2019 overall and this was a great release towards the end of the year *RECOMMENDED*

 

NCT DREAM×HRVY – Don’t Need Your Love September 12, 2019

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 4:59 am

dontneedyourlove

Track Listing

  1. Don’t Need Your Love
  2. Don’t Need Your Love (Inst.)

1. Don’t Need Your Love

I wasn’t expecting a collaboration for the group’s 3rd SM Station song, but hey anything is possible these days eh?  This time, they’ve chosen HRVY who as far as I know is pretty popular out in the UK.  Though knowing previous efforts with collaborations in Kpop, I was expecting much, but for some reason HRVY really slid smoothly alongside the group and his singing REALLY worked!  The rest of the group handled it well too with Renjun, Chenle, and Jisung singing while Jeno & Jaemin doing the raps (Haechan was too busy promoting with NCT 127 to be a part of this).  Honestly, this song is amazing for the group and would love to see HRVY collaborate with them (hell, the fact that PV made him actually feel part of the group is so cool!).

 

 

NCT DREAM’s 3rd SM Station single was a complete winner here.  I mean it is the first release without Mark and shame that Haechan had to miss it, but this might be one of NCT DREAM’s best songs currently because of how smooth yet teen bop it is.  HRVY was also a great addition as his English lyrics just suited alongside the Korean ones too.  Could we have him join NCT?

 

NCT DREAM – Candle Light

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 4:35 am

candlelight

Track Listing

  1. Candle Light
  2. Candle Light (Inst.)

1. Candle Light

Did NCT 127 give up one of their R&B ballads to NCT DREAM for their 2nd SM Station song?  I mean for some reason I kind of like the sincerity of the song a lot and when it opens with Mark, Jisung, and then Chenle singing, that’s got to mean something right?  It’s such a laidback and relaxing tune for the group and the line distribution was a bit more interesting than in “JOY”.  That being said, Mark has a rap in the bridge and its mostly because this was his final song with the group before he graduated out.  One of the more underrated songs from the group to be honest.

 

 

SM really did nicely by this song.  Being that this is Mark’s farewell song, Candle Light was soft and soothing which is a surprise after the hectic sounds of both “GO” and “We Go Up” so this was a nice breakaway for a bit.

 

NCT DREAM – JOY

Filed under: NCT — solarblade @ 4:23 am

joy

Track Listing

  1. JOY
  2. JOY (Inst.)

1. JOY

I kind of figured that NCT DREAM would be the unit from the NCT umbrella to be thrown SM Station songs and considering it was the Christmas season, JOY just makes a LOT of sense for them.  If it wasn’t apparent from the start and when Haechan starts the verses, JOY is essentially their cut of the classic, “Joy to the World” and later on, “Jingle Bells”.  Granted, it’s really only Haechan, Renjun, Chenle, and Mark as Jeno & Jisung gets like a small part towards the end.  It’s not bad, but rapping in Christmas-themed songs never work and Mark’s is pretty awkward here.

 

 

Released around the time after “My First and Last” happened, JOY was the first SM Station NCT DREAM was involved in and it’s kind of a throwaway song for me.  I will say that Haechan, Renjun, Chenle did a pretty good job singing, but everything else was just a mess.  Oh well.