Song Review: NCT U – Misfit

Like they did back in the winter of 2018, NCT is making full use of their malleable roster for a new 2020 project. Unlike 2018, which saw multiple title tracks unveiled over the course of several weeks, this album’s promotion seems to be occurring in a tighter timeframe. But, NCT has exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. Where 2018 acted as a platform for introduction and a statement of intent, 2020 feels more like a victory lap.

Before the full album is released next week, SM Entertainment has dropped a full music video for NCT U’s Misfit. This unit shines focus on the group’s rap line, featuring members from across the entire NCT universe. Not all of the guys are strictly rappers, but Misfit plays almost like a cypher. To my great surprise and excitement, the track hearkens back to the rap-rock of the 80’s and early-90’s, bolstered by a robust guitar instrumental. “Retro” has become a prominent keyword during the second half of this year, but Misfit takes the trend in a different direction.

The track is quite slavish in its re-creation of this sound. Buoyed by modern production techniques, the production opts for a punchy approach that heightens both the rhythm and energy. NCT U’s flow echoes the instrumental. It’s big and brash and exciting. And best of all, it sounds like the guys are actually having fun. Yes, it’s all posturing and showing off, but in a goofy way that suits them well. Misfit’s immense, shout-along hook is irresistible in its unadulterated bombast. I certainly wasn’t expecting an NCT-related track to sound anything like this, and I hope the rest of the 2020 project continues to bring the surprises.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


20 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT U – Misfit

  1. Lol Nick, I think you may be a little confused — this isn’t a full MV, just a track video. SM seems to have a new promo strategy where they film mini MVs for all the b-sides, basically, and release them as “track videos.”

    That said, great review! I didn’t enjoy Misfit as much as you did, but it’s always a delight to hear your thoughts on songs 🙂


    • Is it, though? I mean, I know it’s classified as a “track video,” but it’s not like the Dream one that cuts out after 90 seconds. Is there going to be more to this song when it’s released on the album? If not, I’d count this as an mv.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not positive, but I read somewhere that there’s a bit more to the full track! My guess is that they needed to extend it to get to a point where every member has lines within the video — other track videos usually (always?) meet this requirement by the end of the first chorus, but Misfit only has half of them covered then.


  2. I hope october will be just as how I expected to be!


    Did you see TXT and Seventeen’s concept photos?!

    I am waiting for October to blossom so bad!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whenever I hear the title “Misfit”, it brings me back to the debut single of Curiosity Killed the Cat, a late 80’s boy band signed by Simon Cowell. That video was directed by Andy Warhol, though it isn’t as swish as you would expect it to be. Warhol does make a cameo in it, towards the end. Ah, Ben from Curiosity, a classic blue eyed soul voice.

    Back to this song: The best thing about this song is that they sound like they are having fun. Being boastful, yes, but not too pretentious or self-conscious. The lyrics are notable for what they don’t mention – there is no references to brands and booze and sexy girls. The backing track also stays with essentially the same loop sample with the occasional record scratch sounds in there. The rapping itself is an old style – they all are centered on the same note, only varying at the ends of phrases and odd words here and there. Chorus is a true chorus, all together. All of these reasons are what makes it sound all old school rap.

    Rating is … a bit high?

    (One of hubby’s other vinyl collection targets is to get the complete Sugar Hill Records on vinyl, and an occasional other group on other labels. It is aided by the fact that Sugar Hill had a distinctive blue cover for the vast majority of their releases so its easy to do a quick look at the color of the tops across many crates. There is also a consistent numbering that you can tick off on a little printout stored in the wallet. He is about three-quarters of the way there. In other words, I get to listen to a lot of 80’s rap, especially when he comes home with new “treasure”.)


    • Agree with you, thought the rating was bit high as well. NCT carries the song mostly on their charisma and enthusiasm, but the rap delivery is largely homogenous. They’re all on the same relative flow, beat, note, etc. The only one who even varies slightly is Mark and that’s because he spits off some triplets.

      Imo, having so many of them didn’t add anything to the song except to add depth in the chorus chanting.


      • That is a good point actually. The one thing missing from this is a unique flow and unique tones from the different members. This could’ ve been a one person performance. NCT imo has this problem more often; they have many members but unlike Svt or Golcha don’ t make the best use out of that.

        All that aside I think the song is still great, and not too long, so the samey verses don’ t become boring.


        • I was thinking along the same lines as well. Like they could’ve just used Mark and possibly someone else (even Taeyong was indistinguishable from Jeno). In other groups (iKon w/BI, BTS, Big Bang, even SHINee with their cringey rap line), it’s very clear switching from member to member in timbre, flow, voice, etc.

          Weirdly, it’s usually pretty clear whenever it was Taeyong and Mark rapping, just not in this song. And you’re right, NCT has this problem a lot, it’s not even limited to their rappers. Their vocalists all sound VERY similar (minus baritone Jaehyun). Maybe that’s why I like Dream as the best subunit? Because they have the most variety? idk. Probably also why I enjoy EXO so much, because in addition to their top tier singers, they all have very different styles and colors.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The way the song is, the monotone rapping, meaning they all rap centered on the same note or tone, that monotone is the point. Like SuJu’s Sorry Sorry, or going further back Nicks’s favorite Savage Garden “I Want You”. Or even further back, REM “Its the End of the World as we know it”. Several others will come to mind before long …

            So actually I don’t mind it at all.


            Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah… I felt like I was listening more to a recording of a rap class than the individual creativity of multiple people. It’s just hard to feel like a song has any personality when the sound being pushed is so schooled and polished. I have this problem with just about any music that I listen to, but a rap hype track just makes it stand out far, far more. It does follow NCT’s issue (for me) of not doing anything with 3 people when you can have 30 instead for fans to grow attached to lol.


  4. I think this track is fun – I also think Taeyong is wildly charismatic
    …and I liked the fashion of this video. This is how my younger self may have imagined how real life Beyblade competitors dress

    Beat is cool – I like the chopped acoustic drums as well as the guitar riff. I hope the trend in K-pop rap is moving a way from trap and showing a lil more stylistic diversity.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. NCT 2020 is the release I’ve been most excited for this year, & so far it hasn’t disappointed. Even as someone who’s not a huge fan of rap, this song is a great time. I feel like in addition to all the improvements the members have made individually, Mark & Taeyong starting the track elevates everyone’s performance. I’m really impressed with Jeno & Sungchan. I’m ready for the full album to drop on Monday.


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