There are two ways to approach NCT Dream’s Go, and each will color your perception of the song in vastly different ways. Up until now, Dream has acted as the pop-oriented unit of NCT, and the delivery method for the music most closely aligned with my personal taste. Their 2017 My First And Last remains an ebullient high-water mark in NCT’s discography. But if you come into Go looking for a continuation of that vibe, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
As the concept of NCT continues to evolve, its various sub-units seem to be circling closer to the same core sound. Approach Go as if it’s an NCT 127 track and you’ll set yourself up for a far less jarring experience. Whether every NCT unit should be peddling the same style (they shouldn’t) is a discussion for another time, but the track forgoes the type of sunny melodies you’d expect from Dream. In their place is a dulled techno trap crunch punctuated by bursts of bratty declarations where the group reminds us yet again that, yes, they are still young.
Not since EXO’s Wolf have we heard such a shout-heavy chorus anchoring an SM track. And like Wolf, Go doesn’t shy away from the kind of belt-it-out power notes that defined SM’s early material. Main vocal Haechan carries these moments, but the rest of the group has clearly shown growth in this area as well. The song’s verses are an unsettled brew of competing rhythms and electronic blips, supporting a surprisingly robust vocal line. This extends to the icy post-chorus hook that feels like vintage EXO. Two thirds of the way, the instrumental shifts tempo in a fitful build towards Haechan’s climactic power note. I can’t help but think that Go would be even stronger had it done this earlier and more often, truly exploiting its experimental sound. In fact, there exists a world where Go abandons its trap backbone entirely, substituting heavy metal guitar to create the kind of teen rock anthem its abrasive chorus so wants to be.
More than retro-EXO, it sounds like contemporary-BTS, and the shift between We Are Young and Go is actually too hard to think it’s just an “evolution”.
If all NCT sub-units play exactly the same kind of music, I wonder what’s the reason to have sub-units.
I’m a huge fan of Dream’s fun pop sound, so I kind of hate this song on principle. It’s not a terrible song, but it has nothing on My First and Last or Dunk Shot. I really do not like that SM is turning NCT into yet another edgy hip-hop boy group, what’s the point of having 3 sub-units if they all sound the same?
Why didn’t they give this song to their 127 or U unit? I’m so confused.I thought that was the point of NCT’s different units, that they each adhered to a different genre/overall concept.
I sort of wish the chorus was more melodic, but I felt the shout-y approach growing on me even on my first listen.
I definitely agree with your review of the song, and I don’t by any means think this is a poor track, but I feel like I would have enjoyed it more had it been released by 127 or U.
Oh well, we can only hope that Dream’s next release is a pop song (or maybe it’ll be 127 or U who come out with a pop number lol)!
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