- Regular (English Ver.)
- Touch (Japanese Ver.)
- Blow My Mind
- Long Slow Distance
- Kitchen Beat
- Cherry Bomb (Korean Ver.)
- Fire Truck (Korean Ver.)
- End to Start
Opening the album up, Lips kicks the album off on a rather interesting track. Starting with Jaehyun and then building up in this kind of jungle-like hip-hop track, I found it pretty interesting especially when there’s lines from everyone all over the track against this deep and rather cool-sounding track. Not bad for the opening song and sets up nicely for the next tack, but maybe Lips would’ve been better somewhere in the middle because of the subject matter? I don’t know lol.
Though the 2nd track was the one used to promote the release and it definitely fills in the gap that pretty NCT has been doing (most recently in “Simon Says” which can be somewhat similar, but also to “Chain” too). Wakey-Wakey though has a lot of build-up and likewise with “Lips”, it has great build-up and leads to rather catchy chorus. Though I’m noticing Jungwoo and Taeil a LOT in this song. Though the tune is for sure in their style and really worked here (I wonder if there’ll be a Korean version someday)
I wasn’t surprised to see that Chain would be here considering it was the main track off their mini-album debut in Japan. Chain was a surprise for the group because it felt a bit more dirty and mechanical but for some reason it somehow worked and I was happy to see some Yuta getting attention on top of Taeyong giving one of his fastest raps and Taeil’s super high notes. It’s so unique for NCT and one of my favorite songs from the group!
4. Regular (English Ver.)
I’m more shocked that there wasn’t a Japanese version of Regular (considering there’s an English & Korean take and a Chinese version done by WayV). Instead we get the English cut of the song and it’s still a great latin-y song that really get the mood going and was exciting because it was Jungwoo’s debut into the group. I mean for what it is, it’s still a pretty awesome song regardless and the tune just wins, but maybe I would’ve preferred some effort and made a Japanese cut instead, but that’s just me.
5. Touch (Japanese Ver.)
Which is bizarre because this is a thing too. Although this was released by itself digitally last year so I suppose it doesn’t count? If you don’t recognize the song, Touch was originally on “EMPATHY 2018” as a Korean song and ONLY track NCT 127 kind of repped for it. Not quite sure why a Japanese version was made, but hey it’s on this album woo! I will say this though that Touch is their most unique leading song because it’s not fully hip-hop like their other efforts and really stick out. The poppy, upbeat groove is nice and the song remains catchy from the lingual switch-up so altogether, it’s a nice inclusion overall!
6. Blow My Mind
The next new track pulls us back into their darker and smoother side and it kind of reminds me of “Lips” in that way, but it’s nice to see everyone once again just showing off their vocals here. I’m starting to feel like Taeil is just used for her belting in the end of bridges like how Taeyong & Mark are just rappers. Not bad overall, definitely fits the mold of a good NCT 127 track and hey more Johnny is always nice!
Another track from “Chain”, Limitless is of course the Japanese version of the same Korean song that was their 1st comeback in Korea. I mean I still love this song even if this version does sound slightly smushed up in the transition from languages and doesn’t quite ride or has the same oomph as the original. Still, the song is just a rally for NCT to get noticed and I love that this song was used to introduce Johnny and Doyoung to the group and they fit in just nicely.
8. Long Slow Distance
After “Limitless” it kind of hits a brick wall and we’re led into the album’s lone ballad, Long Slow Distance! With a small amount of actual ballads in their discography, Long Slow Distance is a pretty simple song compared to the rest of the album. I really do love that Haechan, Yuta, Taeil, and Jungwoo have the first verse, but let’s be honest, it seems Taeil is the main vocalist here. Though it is fair that both Mark and Taeyong didn’t get any lines here (though I think they should have since both can sing well enough to keep up with the rest of the group >.>). Regardless, the tune is OK, but nothing here for me to dwell upon
9. Kitchen Beat
I wasn’t sure what to expect with a title as such, but this follows the dirtier sound that 127 has adopted in the last couple releases. It has an unusual beat and has some weird sounds going on that kind of mimic “Chain”. I mean I do like the aggressive sound of the track for sure, but I can’t help but feel that something is missing here. Though those ~nananana’s~ can get somewhat annoying since it is the chorus essentially. Probably the weakest song off the album for me.
10. Cherry Bomb (Korean Ver.)
Did we slightly get lazy for this end stretch? I mean Cherry Bomb and “Fire Truck” both in their original languages? Really couldn’t update it could ya (y’know with no Winwin and newly added Jungwoo who oddly was in the English cut of the song >.>). Anyways, Cherry Bomb is my least favorite of their leading songs just because it felt a little repetitive and kind of off when compared to their other songs. Not saying it doesn’t have merits because some of that repetition is catchy on occasion. Lots of both Taeyong and Mark here which compliments the hip-hop sound of the song (a lot of rap-like than anything else previous). Might be my least favorite, but it’s still passable.
11. Fire Truck (Korean Ver.)
Which brings us to Fire Truck which was the group’s debut song! I mean remember when 127 was just 7 members in the beginning? Yeah, this song is still pretty dope today and really feels like something unique was there when they debuted. Fire Truck might not have a strong melody like later releases did, but it’s a cool song nonetheless and helped give this group some identity out there!
12. End to Start
Ending the album, we have End to Start the last of the new tracks from the album and like I was saying back in “Long Slow Distance”, I think Mark and Taeyong could fit along with the rest of the group singing. Mark actually opens the song in a singing line and later on Taeyong kind of does this too! End to Start though is kind of in the middle being not quite a ballad but not a full-on attack of dance either. For the album’s finale, this wasn’t something I was expecting but it’s definitely cool
- Fire Truck (Korean Ver.)
- End to Start
- Regular (English Ver.)
Song of Avoidance
So we have arrived at NCT 127’s first Japanese album and for what it’s worth, it’s not bad really and for the most part the new songs really suited the group nicely (maybe except Kitchen Beat, but it definitely had that NCT sound to it). Though I can’t help but feel it was slightly padded with a little too much fluff and maybe not enough effort. I mean the original songs were great and Limitless and Touch were nice but like why wasn’t Regular, Cherry Bomb, and even Fire Truck given the same treatment (especially since it’s two other languages here). Add in this album had a LOT of different iterations of the group here (the original 7, the 9, the 10, and now the current 9 since Winwin is busy with WayV still and isn’t participating here nor the group’s next Korean comeback). It just seemed like a little more could’ve gone into the album but what we got isn’t bad all luckily! Just a nitpick I guess!