I must be getting old, because I’ve got absolutely no idea who this HRVY guy is. For some fans, much of Don’t Need Your Love’s appeal will likely lie in the interaction between the British singer and NCT Dream. For me, the song is most notable for being the first Dream release not to feature Mark and Haechan.
Unless I missed something, Haechan is still a member of this particular NCT unit, but I imagine his promotion with 127 presented too much of an overlap to participate in this song. His vocals are definitely missed, but the rest of Dream holds their own. HRVY kicks off the track with an English-language verse and chorus, offering a Bieber-esque performance that’s polished but generic. It doesn’t capture my attention at all, but I’ve been pretty divorced from Western pop music for some time now.
Once NCT Dream take over during Love’s second verse, the song starts to feel like a true collaboration. When it comes to K-pop, I’m still not a fan of these cross-cultural team-ups. They tend to cater to the least adventurous aspects of the industry. But, minus the English-language portions, Love feels very much like a b-side from Dream’s 2017 album We Young. It pulses on a tropical beat that would have been perfectly welcome during that era. In 2019, Love’s instrumental is yet another case of “been there, done that.” Fortunately, the song’s slick chorus is relatively engaging. It would have been a great candidate for SHINee-esque vocal layering, transforming this amiable toe-tapper into something more impactful. But alas — the ambition is pretty low here.