Review

Song Review: NCT 127 – Regular

When I heard that NCT 127’s Regular was going to be a hybrid of trap and Latin, I let out an audible groan. Trap is one of the few genres I absolutely detest, and K-pop’s Latin trend already feels overplayed just as it’s getting started. Add to that the fact that SM Entertainment seems eager to push this album onto American charts and we’ve got ourselves a problem. Foreign dilution of K-pop’s unique identity has been a concern of mine for awhile, especially given the dire state of what currently passes for pop music in America. I don’t have any need or desire for K-pop acts to “prove” themselves in the States. There’s a reason I never reviewed (or even listened to) the English version of Regular.

That was probably a smart idea, because I can only imagine how insufferable this song would be with a bunch of generic English posturing thrown in. Up until the first chorus, Regular is about as bad as I’d expected. I get that 127 is a hip-hop unit, but it seems like every NCT configuration is turning into a hip-hop unit. And when “hip-hop” means dirge-like trap beats with a bunch of ‘whoop whoop, skrrt skrrt’ nonsense over the top, I just don’t have any interest in the style anymore.

Thankfully, NCT come through with SM’s trademark layered vocals during the chorus. Still, it isn’t a particularly strong chorus. Its energy feels quite flat compared to superior 127 offerings. But, at least it gives us a scrap of melody to hang on to. Other than the vocal arrangement, there’s not much to say about Regular‘s production. Its trendy beat feels cut and paste from any number of American acts, failing to bring the unique sonic atmosphere NCT were giving us at the start of the year. Regular‘s best moment comes during its last thirty seconds, when a wall of competing vocals reminds us of the kind of boundary-pushing bombast that SM used to be known for. That sense of musical exploration seems to be in short supply these days. I’d hate to see NCT become intent on recreating the BTS phenomenon — craving global success so badly that they lose their own identity in the process.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

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16 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT 127 – Regular

  1. I really wanted to love this coz the boys were so excited for it and they worked so hard but this is just… dull. I’ve listened to it a bunch but its not growing on me at all 😦 guess I’m going to have to keep blasting chain for the foreseeable future. I hope there are some good b-sides :/

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    • update, I’m not really feeling any of these b-sides either 😦 replay and my van are cool but don’t have much replay value. i feel let down 😦 esp considering dream’s album was pretty good.

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      • On first listen, Replay and Fly Away With Me stand out the most to me. I’m liking the greater focus on vocals throughout the album, but I wish there were some stronger melodies.

        As a whole, this doesn’t feel as memorable as their past albums, but that could change with further listens.

        Not a fan of My Van at all, and I wish that Run Back 2 U didn’t devolve into a noisy mess halfway through.

        Oh, and Regular is starting to grow on me already. Still one of my least favorite title tracks from them, but we’ll see how time treats it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • i had a feeling you would like fly away with me and replay! city 127 is also growing on me.

          i think i like my van bc of the instrumental and atmosphere. like, its the song where the album concept and the song itself go best together and really enhance each other.

          they didn’t need to do run back 2 u dirty like that T_T we were so excited for the full version of bassbot, literally all they had to do was fill in the template of the original (from one of the rookies dance videos) T_T

          tbh I was dreading the full album bc i knew there would be ballads, i just wish they were slightly more exciting like sun and moon is 😦 that song made my like the cherry bomb mini more than the limitless mini.

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  2. It seems like SM is going to turn their male artists into battery chickens who play one and only music genre imitating someone else: Super Junior have become the new Enrique Iglesias, NCT the new BTS, SHINee the new Kaigo/Robin Schulz/Sam Feldt/SeeB/Random Tropical House Producer, and I’m really scared about what could turn EXO into in their next concept.

    Not to mention the over-overwork they are forcing these artists to bear, just after Jonghyun’s suicide due to stress and depression. Is the world really needing – in their opinion – 423 NCT comebacks, 325 SHINee albums or 216 EXO and sub-units tracks and concerts in only 10-TEN months?!

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  3. One rare occasion where I find myself singing the English words over the Korean song when listening. I think it made a bigger impact on me in English because of HOW OVER THE TOP the lyrics were (like come on guys, they probably haven’t broken even yet)
    It is probably my least favourite NCT song but if it’s still going on my gym playlist.

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    • I’ve heard this from a few people. Eventually, I’ll give the English version a listen, but I wanted to make sure my “definitive” version was Korean.

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  4. I’m actually on the opposite end of this spectrum. This song sounds like something NCT would’ve done anyway, regardless of whether SM was trying to break them into the American market or not. It’s already similar to their overall style, just with a few new trendy elements like the Latin flair. The “whoops whoops” and “skrrts” aren’t too far off either from what we’ve heard already in Fire Truck.

    If you actually compare the Korean lyrics of Regular to the English lyrics (which I still recommend you listen to), it might give you a better understanding of why it was pretty damn smart of them to include an English version. The Korean lyrics are about the realities of working hard to achieve your dreams, while the English version conveys the dream sequence of the album, in which the members have already achieved their dreams and now they’re living large which allows them to be more boastful about their success.

    For me, I just love the confidence that NCT always seems to exude in their title tracks and Regular might be their most confident one yet, along with Cherry Bomb and Boss. I don’t think they’re trying to prove themselves to anybody. NCT’s whole concept from the beginning was to “go global” and expand their outreach to different parts of the world with unique concepts that are tailored to specific target audiences — hence the reason why their introduction is “To the world, we are NCT”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Valid points, for sure.

      We’ll see how this ages with me. Typically, NCT tracks tend to grow the more familiar I become with them. I imagine this will be like Cherry Bomb, which I hated for the first few days until it eventually wore me down. I don’t dislike “Regular”… I just wish the group would steer in a different direction musically.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The English lyrics are terrifyingly awful, but it’s actually really quite okay in Korean. The Latin bit is more rhythmic and less acoustic guitar and melody so I don’t really mind it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Buried Treasure: NCT 127 – Replay (PM 01:27) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  7. ****4.5 stars.
    NCT 127 Korean version on Regular is hot. I prefer the Korean version over the full English version. Aaesthetically it is more pleasing. Love the locations shoots. Line distribution was okay. Give Win WIn more lines please. Music was great. Could do without the braking glass. Remember families with impressionable kids are watching. All NCT 127 members looked sexy in black so girls will be happy. Every member was a visual. They also looked relaxed in their more colorful designs. Have been playing it this week repeatedly.

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  8. Pingback: Song Review: Wendy X John Legend – Written In The Stars | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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