Review

Song Review: NCT 127 – Cherry Bomb

SM Entertainment doesn’t always get the credit it deserves when it comes to being a boundary-pushing agency. They’ve been blending genres and playing with song structure since the very beginning. Hits like H.O.T’s I Yah or TVXQ’s Rising Sun still feel miles away from what we think of as “Top 40” radio fare. But these tracks are at their best when their more adventurous elements are softened by classic, engaging melodies. This is pop music, after all.

Of the three NCT units who have debuted so far, 127 has become the heir to this experimental spirit, incorporating hip-hop and off-kilter production styles much more strongly than any SM act in recent memory. When they released Fire Truck last July, it felt jarring and somewhat off-putting, but quickly grew into one of the summer’s highlights. Cherry Bomb may have the same trajectory, but it has a much tougher hill to climb. On first listen, its obnoxious series of English-language catch-phrasing grates more than you’d expect from a major agency who doesn’t need to try so hard to feel meme-worthy. The “If you’re happy and you know it” refrain may just be the worst bit of lyrical sampling that SM has ever given us. The central hook isn’t much better. It’s just as repetitive as Red Velvet’s Rookie, but feels too self-serious to be fun. When it comes down to it, Cherry Bomb just doesn’t really have a proper chorus. Coming off a return as triumphant as January’s Limitless, this feels like a major disappointment.

Luckily, the instrumental has a few tricks up its sleeve. It’s a claustrophobic brew, driven by creeping rumbles of bass and an eerie backdrop of sinking synths. Every once and awhile it jerks to life, most notably during Mark’s climactic rap verse just before the breakdown, when the beat drops out only to rev back up with synth-assisted fury. With this style in mind, Cherry Bomb would have been better served as a Taeyong and Mark sub-unit release. It pretty much is already. But as a group comeback, it fails to display the full breadth of what makes NCT 127 so promising. The vocalists have little to do, even if their brief harmonic segments are among the song’s strongest moments. More than anything, the track is a wasted opportunity. I want to love it. I will try hard to love it. But NCT is billed as a limitless group. Cherry Bomb feels the exact opposite — too restricted by its concept and coolness to make a meaningful push into more compelling territory.

 Hooks  5
 Production  8
 Longevity 8
 Bias  7
 RATING  7

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT 127 – Cherry Bomb

  1. Pingback: Buried Treasure: NCT 127 – Summer 127 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Pingback: Top Three K-Pop Songs of June 2017 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  3. Pingback: Song Review: EXO – Ko Ko Bop | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  4. Pingback: Buried Treasure: Girls’ Generation (SNSD) – Fan | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  5. Pingback: Song Review: NCT Dream – We Young | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  6. Pingback: 2017 in K-POP so far: Risers & Fallers | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  7. Pingback: The Top Ten Best Songs by NCT | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  8. Pingback: Grading the K-Pop Agencies 2017: SM ENTERTAINMENT | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s