Review

Song Review: NCT 127 – Kick It

Despite unlimited potential for new sub-units, NCT’s Korean promotion has largely boiled down to releases from either 127 or Dream. Both have secured plenty of fans under the NCT umbrella, showing a remarkable level of diversity when it comes to genre and style. Still, when I think of NCT 127, I immediately picture experimental soundscapes, hard-hitting hip-hop and atypical approaches. With this in mind, new single Kick It (영웅) fits right alongside past tracks like Simon Says and Cherry Bomb.

This is both a blessing and a curse. The song is a bit disappointing for those of us who adored the group’s more pop-minded material last year, but it also suits them so well. Kick It feels like a catchier, more approachable version of the style 127 built their name on. It’s a loud track, filled with chants about Bruce Lee and “new thangs,” and it’s more than a little silly. Even the hip-hop verses feel needlessly aggressive, as if the guys would rather pummel us into submission than gradually draw us in.

Still, I think Kick It is at its best when it goes over the top. Its chorus is memorable from the very first listen, even if it relies more on energy and novelty than well-developed hooks. The song loses me a bit when it slows down. Its first verse subscribes too heavily to the kind of skeletal trap that everyone’s already doing. Thankfully, its guitar distortion backbone keeps things compelling. The second verse does a better job hitting us with unexpected aural exclamation points, though it could have embraced its inherent oddness even more. Just as Kick It’s bridge is about to segue into the final chorus, the song delivers the kind of musical madness I was hoping for. The instrumental warps into a demented breakdown, kicking up a grimy funk. With these kinds of tracks, NCT 127 are at their best when they throw everything at the wall. Kick It is solid, but I wish the entire track had been as unhinged as its final moments.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

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33 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT 127 – Kick It

  1. I should find this annoying due to all the shouting (as I usually do) but I find it incredibly addictive and the grit feels right. The downside is really that I hoped that it went a bit more gritty and less shouty. I’m enjoying it more with each replay, 8/10.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. .

    I like to believe that they are saying “new dance” rather than “new thangs”.

    This song brings them back to their older sound, Firetruck, Cherry Bomb style. Its not quite as unique as those songs, but it will do. Way Way better than Wakey Wakey.

    I also appreciate that SM is taking a lighter, less serious approach for NCT127 with this. They have always been too serious, almost trying to hard to be cool. But, here, New Dance Bruce Lee high kick!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Simon Says was really not to my taste because the way they rap/sang “simon says you’re a real vibe killaaa” felt like the listener was being mocked. Other songs that talk trash about someone real or imagined sit fine with me, like I’m joining with the speaker in a “yeah screw that guy” moment, but Simon Says only irritated me (despite the awesome bridge, unique synths, and haka sampling).

    When I first heard Kick It’s chorus, I was worried it’d be another Simon Says for me. After a second listen.. it’s ok. Kick It’s chorus brushes against that mocking tone, but it’s more bravado than telling the listener they’re a vibe killer, so I’m down with it.

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  4. i really really want to like this more than i do but every time that i convince myself that its great, i find myself comparing it to 127’s other great title tracks and this one feels a little basic in comparison. Its like an unhappy medium between simon says and cherry bomb, both of which were so great (imo at least) bc they were so extreme. (forever will not understand why so many people disliked simon says, i found it incredibly catchy and compelling) Most of nct’s best title tracks took a while to grow on me (fire truck, chain, limitless etc) so i’m hoping this will grow on me too but im not sure there’s enough melodic elements to actually make it stick in my head more. sorry to be so negative T_T

    im super excited for the album tho! really looking forward to boom, elevator, not alone, mad dog, sit down, love me now, day dream.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Damn I am so disappointed… I’m such a huge fan of NCT (listened to every song every unit has ever released) and I’ve been a fan of the vast majority of the whole group’s discography, including the oddball ones like Simon Says and Go, but this song was really not it. The “new thangs” drop chant chorus AND the weird repetition of Bruce Lee is super cringeworthy (sidenote: also annoying bc SM literally kicked the only Chinese member out of 127 and now is trying to shove a super gauche, tacky, culturally appropriative Chinese “kung fu” concept down our throats).

    The vocal sections are super weirdly mixed, but the “chorus” sections really take the cake with the super tinny electric guitar sounds and the horrible artificial-sounding percussion mixing.

    Let’s all move past the “omg Johnny and Jaehyun are shirtless” moment and discuss how much of a drop in quality this song was compared to Superhuman, which was in my opinion was one of the tightest, most clever, most well produced kpop songs of all time.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s a bit of a letdown for me because i like the teaser a lot (my bad for trusting teasers). The vocals are kinda confusing too. I hope it’s a grower like most nct songs do to me. I’m excited for b-sides hope we can get full mv of them.

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  7. NCT 127 tracks are mostly solid, even if I’m not really a fan of hip-hop kpop tracks. I loved (and still do) the guys as TV personalities (?), but only listened to their music stuff casually. Last year’s “Superhuman” impressed me and made me a fan, no longer a casual listener.

    Now about “Kick It”? It’s a solid, well-produced track, a bit of a downgrade from last year’s 127 releases, and most definitely not my tHanG. But at least it doesn’t have any “skrrt skrrt” in it! Also I love yellow, and this has a LOT of it. I’m not complaining 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I thought they were gonna totally switch to audience friendly R&B style. Oopsie my bad.

    Personally this release really lacks the grating aspect and that’s my main 127 appeal, it feels forgettable. I will go back to “Fire Truck”

    Liked by 1 person

    • grating is the right word!!! thats definitely the signature sound that’s been missing for a while, pretty much since simon says

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    • What’s really odd to me (despite that fact that I like Kick It, though I agree it’s no Superhuman or Firetruck) is that most of the Neozone *album* is audience-friendly R&B, pop, etc. Kick It, Mad Dog, and Sit Down are the only “noise” songs on the album.

      So I’m curious why Kick It was the title. Because it has more of their signature “noise” sound (regardless of quality)? It doesn’t reveal the main style of the album at all so it’s a strange choice.

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      • Probably because it’s swag-video friendly. I mean, it’s kinda the Hong Kong triad movie version of Boss’ MV, IMO.

        The other songs invite subdued videos like Without You. Not NCT title track material.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Absolutely LOVE this. I think NCT is quickly on their way to becoming my fave BG.

    If I wasn’t familiar with the group, I’d think they were punk’ing all the February GG drops with all the over the top bombast. Thing is, even if they were, they’d have still succeeded in doing that AND releasing a better song.

    No, this song is nested comfortably in their wheelhouse and it’s a very welcome addition to the playlists. Bravo!

    P.S. Girls must be going nutty over all the eye candy in that video. I don’t pitch for that team but even I have to give a nod to the wall-to-wall beef cake on display.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay. That’s it. I’m convinced that I’ve gotten myself stuck in an alternate universe or something. Dreamcatcher’s Scream could have been a fluke, but again? This soon after?

      So Scream hasn’t grown on me yet, which is a shame, and also sort of odd considering how much the rest of the world loves it. It doesn’t hold a candle to Kick It, though. I HATE this song. Like, couldn’t even sit through it, 5.5 at best hate it. I don’t tend to disagree with you or most of the other regulars around here (and if I do it’s more of a subtle thing based on personal preference than a huge difference in opinion), but I just cannot get behind this. I hate it so much. What on earth is going on?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know you didn’t reply directly to me, but I’m replying just the same. :p

        There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. That’s the nature of music. On a subconscious level, every song impacts each of us differently. The instrumentation, the melody, the note/chord progressions, vocals, structure, etc.. If the music didn’t affect us on a personal and emotional level, it would be just a collection of dissonant noise.

        How a song connects with you is unique. No one else will hear that song the same way you do. Think of it this way, colors impact us on a subconscious level the same way music does. Red may make some people flirty, or angry, or warm. Blue might make someone calm, or cool.

        The way a piece of music emotes to a person is between that piece of music and that individual. Sure, it feels great when you’re tastes align with others. It reinforces your sense of self, but it’s not a metric of right and wrong. There is no right and wrong when it comes to music; it imprints on you, or it doesn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m COMPLETELY in love with this song, it is undoubtedly one of the best NCT127’s title tracks besides Regular and Simon Says imo. It grew on me almost immediately, and the “New Thangs” part stuck in my head like a gum stuck to the shoes. I’m looking forward to the whole album, especially Love Me Now, Love Song, White Night, Mad Dog and Not Alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Am I the only who’s totally befuddled by the song and can’t make head or toe of it? The song is all over the place..

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  12. This is, for me, the most forgettable NCT title track ever. Literally. At three listenings, there’s absolutely nothing I can recall about the song besides “Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee”. Not even what comes right before or after. Premiere countdown hype alone should have made me remember a good chunk of the song, like it happened with Jopping. Now all I get are disjointed images from the MV to the soundtrack of Simon Says xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess this is how biases work. If it weren’t NCT I wouldn’t have been giving this song this many chances to get under my skin. But now, by dint of sheer repetition I’ve come to appreciate the madness. Even the whole screaming thing which was my main gripe seems kind of… necessary now. But I still think they’d have made a compelling song with just the guitar and boo-boo-boo-boo-pow-pow, boo-boo-boo-boo-pow-pow plus the breakdown at the end.

      Like

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