Song Review: NCT U – Work It

NCT is absolutely stuffed with talent and personality. But, that only goes so far without strong songs to harness it. On the whole, both parts of the NCT Resonance album remind me of a b-side collection. They’re not so common anymore, but artists used to cobble together unreleased material and outtakes into a special album created strictly with die-hard fans in mind. These albums were usually interesting and sometimes exciting, but rarely essential.

Though Resonance was buoyed by four title tracks, too many of its songs feel like scraps left over from superior albums. Work It is emblematic of this problem. It’s overflowing with talent (in this case, members Johnny, Yuta, Ten, Jungwoo, Hendery, Jaemin and Jisung), but the song itself is threadbare. The fact that it has four credited co-writers surprises me. It just doesn’t feel like there’s much to write!

Work It throws down a decent groove, but it’s hardly original. If you’re going to jettison a traditional chorus in favor of something more percussive, you had better conjure the most impressive, funkiest beat imaginable. Work It’s instrumental crackles with energy, but it shifts far too often to remain captivating all the way through. The descending synth during the chorus makes for a ho-hum anchor. The hip-hop verses would have been more exciting within the context of a different song, and wisps of vocals hint at the direction Work It’s hook should have taken. Instead, we get some awful “skrrt skrrt” posturing (how is this exclamation not a parody of itself by now?) and a hollowed out structure that delivers the bare minimum necessary for cool choreo. I hate to say it, but SM Entertainment really needs to try harder than this.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7


15 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT U – Work It

  1. I really would take the word ‘song’ out of your review title. Unlike 90s Love (which is a decent song), this is a video of people dancing with some backbeat.

    I literally through my laptop in the air (headphones and all) when I heard that skkrt skkrt (okay, maybe not literally, but that shows what I felt).

    This November is just not SM’s month…

    Liked by 1 person

      • Which one is the title track? I have not been following the role-out.

        Ride or Die sounded best to me, though I personally wished he would make an album that sounded more like their debut-era stuff (Mama, History, Machine, etc., Kai is made for that stuff), rather than the more sleek stuff EXO has been doing recently.

        Now I just hope Xiumin releases something like their debut mini-album.

        And I hope so much that they let Kai rap…


        • “Mmmh” (ie: the slow, boring one)

          And yes, I would die for the debut-era EXO sound again. I’m desperate for some real showmanship in K-pop again.

          The sound of Kai’s album isn’t what I want from him, but judging by SM’s song descriptions I’d already resigned myself to a bunch of Justin Bieber “Yummy” type tracks. So, this teaser was a pleasant surprise. A couple of these sound genuinely great.


  2. People in SM really needs to step up their game… I like some of the SuperM and NCT stuff but no title track has really caught my attention for more than a few days, with the exception of Irene & Seulgi’s Naughty and Taemin’s Criminal.

    Crossing my fingers for the new BoA single!


  3. This will be a nice addition for my work-out list, and it’s nice to have on in the background while doing chores or something. I like the beat.

    As a song, I agree there’s not much there- knowing the skills and talent that NCT has, it’s hard not to be disappointed. It feels like a fun bside at most. “Skrrt skrrt” is here once again (NCT in particular seem to love this sound effect) and once again it is awful.

    This inconsistency in quality of title tracks is one of the reasons why I just can’t connect with NCT.


  4. I liked this when I first listened to the album (which I’ve only listened to once), but when I watched the mv I didn’t like one bit of the song. 90’s Love is so much better and surprisingly addictive.


  5. Honestly I feel bad for SM at this point. They have so many active groups who need good songs. This song was not it for me simply because I couldn’t hear the actual song I only heard instrumentals. This is my opinion, fans can have different opinions and love the song.


    • They’ve got so many great groups. Now, they need some defining producers. Their best output has always been at the hands of a few composers who have distinct vision and musical personality.

      These song camps just ain’t it.


  6. Ok so I am going am going to preface my thoughts by saying NCT is one of my favorite groups and I do like every one of the 16 original full-length songs on the Resonance album. However, I agree that not a single one of those lives up the hype that should be NCT 2020.

    Part of me genuinely wonders if the scheduling of SM releases within the past several months in particular has hampered the actual musical production (apart from the whole song camp thing.) I mean back in august I was waiting for Taemin’s solo but instead they slowly fed us SuperM releases, and then literally right around when SuperM dropped their album they announced NCT 2020. Then in-between NCT’s part 1 and 2, SM drops their first girl group in fours years. While also dropping Taemin’s part 2 and announcing big plans for BOA and Super Junior who are celebrating their 20th and 15th debut anniversaries. And Kai’s getting a solo too, that I feel like I just have not heard much about. Not to mention that SuperM forces several SM artists to juggle large releases simultaneously.

    All of these comebacks were basically on top of each other, and none of them was given enough room to breathe. So, for all the resources and money that SM has I am not convinced that this hasn’t hurt these releases in some way. For as long as I have followed them SM has always been bad at scheduling things but is it just me or has it been worse in recent history?

    SM has retained more active artists through the years than any other company, but they seem to be struggling to balance them all, and I wonder if there is a limit to how big SM can get without the music and individual artists suffering for it (and I mean more than they already do).


  7. Now that Part 1 & 2 and all the mvs are out, I feel like it’s time for me to admit that NCT 2020’s releases have been disappointing, even more disappointing after SuperM’s album had such a variety of songs I enjoyed. Honestly, both Resonance albums feel like a step down in quality from 127, Dream, & WayV’s releases earlier in the year. Empathy had some great songs that I love (Baby Don’t Stop, Touch, Timeless, Without You, Boss) & some really cool songs as well (Dream in A Dream, The 7th Sense, Black on Black), but I feel like Resonance just doesn’t have any songs of that caliber. There’s not even a 23 member song tailored for performance. The members are still super talented, & I’m still a fan, but I hope their next release has better music.


    • There will be a 23 member song tailored for performance (as you can see at the end of the Work It Music Video), my guess is that they’re saving it as a surprise track for the “Arrival” version?


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