Groups of N.Tic’s stature are often overlooked. Without access to the K-pop industry’s best songs, best producers or best anything, it can be hard to deliver a knockout track. Yet, N.Tic offered a solid one-two punch over the course of their debut year, thanks largely to up-and-coming production team Code 9. The exhilarating Do You Know Who I Am even made it into my top twenty songs of 2018! That’s no small feat for a barely-known idol group like them.
Sadly, new single Fiction proves the importance of a solid producer. N.Tic have moved on from their Code 9-forged sound, and have quickly become just another below-the-radar boy group. Fiction has an anonymous feeling to it, as if it might have been shopped around to any working K-pop act. Its funky, brass-kissed instrumental is pleasant (especially when it incorporates elements of new jack swing), but does nothing to individualize itself.
N.Tic’s performance is similarly generic. There’s a half-hearted energy coursing through the entire track. It feels like the guys are simply going through the motions. Honestly, Fiction doesn’t give them anything to sink their teeth into, so I’m not surprised to hear apathy creep in. Do You Know Who I Am supported them with a dynamic instrumental and momentum-building structure — both of which helped forge a commanding presence. Fiction is like a shoulder shrug. Everything about it is fine. The trouble is, “fine” never made anyone stand out. “Fine” is too easily forgotten. If N.Tic continue down this route, I fear they will be left behind by their more compelling peers.