Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of k-pop, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
It’s only been three days, but I’ve already gone on quite a whirlwind journey with NCT 127’s Regular. On first listen, I hated the song. A few more plays and it wasn’t so bad — even if I wished the group would steer in an entirely different direction. And now, I’m on the verge of actually liking the track quite a bit. That kind of quick transformation doesn’t happen all that much any more.
When it comes to the full album, things were a bit more straightforward. It’s a primarily subdued release, and elicited an equally subdued response. In this case, “subdued” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad.” Regular-Irregular feels like it’s going to be more of a grower compared to their previous releases, and that may actually be a benefit in the long run. However, one song that didn’t need time to grow is Replay (PM 01:27) — a sequel of sorts to their 2017 album track Back 2 U (AM 01:27). Producers LDN Noise deserve much of the praise for Replay’s instant shot of pop. We haven’t heard much from them this year, but they haven’t lost their touch.
Replay borrows from the popular deep house trend, but funnels these tropes into a dynamic track that feels at once high energy and melancholic. Its one-phrase chorus may be underdeveloped compared to other songs on the album, but it’s the sharpest hook of them all. LDN Noise get their mileage from this melody, playing coy as they rip away the instrumental and slam it back in listeners’ faces. This gives the track a liveliness that results in a sense of funky spontaneity similar to ONF’s Complete from earlier this year. I wish NCT (any unit of NCT) would explore this kind of energy on a title track rather than simply relegate it to b-sides. They pull it off too well to bury on an album.
I hoped you’d review this! A friend described it as “something that’d be Top 40 in the summer of 2014,” and I think that’s scarily accurate (as well as a great genre). Definitely the album’s biggest standout for me, and a song that further cemented that I much prefer the “regular” half of the album.
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You thought you had me pinned down as a trap-hating, cute concept-loving, Sweetune-obsessed maniac but here I am LIKING “Regular.” I don’ geddit. I have zero reasons to like it. There’s the Latin rhythm, which is really very alright; that is not the part of Latin pop which I really kind of dislike, but it’s not my favorite thing either. Then there’s the trap, which is always a big no. And then you have Taeyong… Taeyong-ing all over the track, which is quite bad but also kind of endearing; he’s a cute cut rate g-dragon but he really needs to learn how to, uh, write lyrics. On top of that there’s the…. skrrt whoop ice ice skrrrrrrt, which is really kind of obnoxious. But emerging from this den of awfulness, a kind of crappy chorus appears! It’s not that good? But it gets to me. Yoo Youngjin worked on this track and the influence shows. If you’re not screaming 더 높이 높이 by the end you’re basically soulless. The moment I put this on the gym playlist during practice I had succumbed.
Anyways this song is alright. Deep house has only been really good when SHINee does it. So few get it right. I haven’t heard LDN Noise in awhile, and I used to complain about them – seems they haven’t changed their tune in the slightest. They have some good tracks don’t get me wrong, but “Replay” really feels washed out in a post-2016 world.
Take a shot every time I write “really” 😂😂😂
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Could anyone tell me what genre are Replay and Wake up? I absolutely love them but I somehow cannot place it in the pop category…