There are many underrated groups in k-pop, but Nu’est have to be one of the most notorious. They burst out of the gate in 2012, but in a case of poor management and promotion cycles, quickly lost much of their initial popularity. Even so, they’re a group of remarkable consistency, with a crazy-good back catalog of music. Like many groups struggling to reestablish themselves, their comebacks are a hodgepodge of various styles, from the haunting to the euphoric. So which one reigns supreme?
10. Sandy (2012)
One of the many tracks taken from their first mini album, Sandy begins as a ballad but morphs into breezy summertime pop as the first chorus hits.
9. Shalala Ring (2014)
Their first original Japanese single, Shalala Ring pulses with celebratory energy and a brilliantly bonkers second verse.
8. Overcome (2016)
Moving toward a darker, more production-based sound, what initially feels like little more than a series of dramatic notes morphs into something bigger the longer you listen to it. (full review)
7. Na Na Na Namido (2015)
Fusing a lush, stately chorus with ballad-like, midtempo verses, Namido proved that the group’s Japanese output could be just as strong as their Korean releases.
6. Good Bye Bye (2014)
Good Bye Bye takes a page from VIXX‘s book, pairing the group’s newly matured performance with an electronic throb that gave their music added nuance and intrigue.
5. I’m Bad (2015)
Released to little fanfare in the winter of 2015, I’m Bad‘s addictive synth line propels what would normally be a simple midtempo track into something much more special.
4. Sleep Talking (2013)
An underrated single, Sleep Talking layers snoring (of all things) over sweeps of aggressive synths, a heavy electronic beat and an irresistibly propulsive chorus.
3. Face (2012)
Nu’est came strong right out of the gate with this incredible debut. Pairing symphonic elements with a dancefloor pulse, the central hook is so memorable that even a too-trendy dubstep breakdown can’t sabotage the song’s incredible effect.
2. Not Over You (2012)
Nu’est’s melodic highlight, built on a swirling bed of synths and guitars that frame this pop anthem perfectly. The group would go on to tackle edgier sounds in the future, but Not Over You‘s gorgeous build still stands on its own.
1. Action (2012)
Heightening Face‘s sense of drama to a fevered pitch, Action‘s pulverizing beat crashes in like a wrecking ball, augmented with strings and chugging electric guitar. It’s the group’s most immense-sounding moment, and stands as an excellent reminder of 2012’s aggressively ambitious sense of sci-fi style.