Review

Buried Treasure: Nu’est – Firework

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 want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.


Apart from atmospheric opener Moon Dance and obligatory ballad Must, I’d argue that any other track from Nu’est’s The Nocturne album would’ve made a far better single than I’m In Trouble. I see why Pledis went the way they did – once again the lure of trends proves too great – but Firework, Back To Me and Shooting Star are simply superior songs. Not only that, but they’re diverse in sound and tone, teasing out different nuances of Nu’est’s charm.

I could’ve featured any of these three songs as buried treasures, but I’m going to give the (very) slight edge to Firework. The song sounds genuinely new for Nu’est, while still fitting within this era’s approved pop sounds. It’s not the kind bright, blazing uptempo I often long for, but it makes the most of its atmospheric arrangement. The percolating beat has a great shimmer to it and, most importantly, expands as the track goes on. The two-part chorus keeps things interesting by offering a needed tempo shift as added percussion joins the instrumental. And, we get an honest-to-goodness instrumental breakdown that isn’t indebted to trap music!

However, Firework’s biggest draw is its simple, layered hook. Nu’est’s vocals blend together beautifully here, giving off an ethereal appeal. The short refrain is potent enough to carry the track, proving that a repetitive, one-line hook can actually work if it’s strong and memorable. When everything’s taken into account, Firework really achieves much of what I’m In Trouble set out to do, but the song takes more interesting turns and would have made for a more personality-rich title track.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

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5 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Nu’est – Firework

  1. To be honest its really hard to pick a favorite from those three tracks. Each of them are similar in quality and really elevate The Nocturne. Personally I just love the energy coming from the whole album aside from Must. Personally I prefer Back to Me and Shooting Star by a tiny smudge but think the enjoyment is increased when these three are listened to back to back. As for the track there isn’t much it does wrong, the chorus rocks, the finale is exciting, and the energy is maintained. Hopefully Nu’est’s future albums keep up the energy, because The Nocturne sure is holding up well.

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  2. I really enjoyed the album, I thought it was so good. Back to me was an instant fave for me. I’m in Trouble really feels like the the safest choice which is a real pity cause I almost didn’t check out the rest of the album bc of that. When they sing “Feels like a firework” really hits you in good way.

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  3. I only saved ‘Moon Dance’ and ‘Back to Me’. They were nice but not really great. My favorite is ‘Back to Me’, I guess.
    In terms of repetitive chorus ‘Moon Dance’ worked better for me. ‘Firework’ came off really boring overall.

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  4. I liked Moon Dance and Back to Me! Firework is a good song, but it’s the kind that you close out a concert on. RIP live concerts… NU’EST does really good arrangements for their Korean concerts too T_T

    I’m sad that I’m in Trouble didn’t have the same hook as Dejavu, despite the same producing team on it. NU’EST W era had really good styling and music AND promotions, which is lacking in this comeback. I hope someone can get NU’EST a proper social media manager that uses Facebook & Instagram soon.

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