Since reuniting as five, Nu’est have displayed contrasting charms. First, we had the angsty Bet Bet, followed by the buoyant Love Me. Anyone who’s read my reviews for awhile will know which concept I preferred. New single I’m In Trouble plays things down the middle, jumping on the minimalist, bass-driven trend with a hook that hearkens back to 2018’s Nu’est W standout Dejavu. But though it’s too early to tell, I’m not sure that Trouble will enjoy the same staying power.
I like this general direction for Nu’est. It’s groovy and sophisticated, complimenting their ‘senior group’ status in K-pop’s current landscape. My main issue is one that’s plagued the vast majority of 2020 comebacks. While the song is polished and crisp, it doesn’t have much of a melodic through line. Its verses are all over the place, unveiling the kind of sing-talk structure that fills time but doesn’t compel in any meaningful way. Even after a few listens, I was hard-pressed to recall anything from the verses, and I think that’s because there isn’t any cohesive melody to be found.
Trouble’s chorus is better, though it relies too heavily on its repeated refrain. It’s almost like the vocal-driven version of a beat drop, looping the same hook over and over until it wears thin. The Seventeen-like vocal layering is as satisfying as it’s always been, but doesn’t give Nu’est a sound of their own. Like I’ve mentioned before with both groups, I wish they’d expand their suite of producers a bit. I appreciate how Baekho composes the bulk of Nu’est’s material, but I wonder how he’d fare if paired with a collaborator outside his comfort zone. Right now, it feels like we’re just getting the same basic thing, filtered through slightly different genre lenses. With this in mind, I’m In Trouble is solid, but brings nothing new to the table.
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