Song Review: NCT 2020 – Resonance

I’ve been a little hard on NCT lately, but that’s only because I find their concept so promising. It borrows quite a bit from systems that the J-pop market has been using for ages, but has the potential to bring a uniquely K-pop aesthetic to the approach. That potential has popped up here and there within the NCT discography. but their latest Resonance project hasn’t felt like the big leap forward I was hoping for. The just-released group track of the same name aims to change that, finally bringing together all twenty-three members for a dramatically-lit dance-athon.

When this was first announced, I longed for an original song that would harness the sheer awesomeness of the NCT brand. But, it quickly became apparent that Resonance was instead going to be a mash-up of a few album tracks — a visual highlight medley on steroids. The performance brings together singles Make A Wish, 90’s Love and Work It with b-side Raise The Roof. Apart from Make A Wish, I wasn’t overly impressed with any of these tracks in their original form. But, SM Entertainment has a history of mashing together songs to create a product that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Sadly, Resonance is a bit of an odd duck. It opens with a dramatic manifesto of sorts, bellowed by rapper Mark with a level of swag that doesn’t befit the silliness of the statement. I can’t help but wonder what he was thinking when the producers gave him this line. He sells it the best it can be sold, but it’s a pretty clunky intro.

From here, we move into a highlight reel of the four NCT tracks. Oddly, Resonance jettisons most of the choruses, largely building the song around the hook to Raise The Roof. Even as a standalone track, this chant felt somewhat underwhelming. But, it’s repeated with gusto here. For as forward-looking as NCT is meant to be, “raise the roof” is a weirdly dated mission statement to anchor your biggest song yet. Still, Resonance‘s climax plays the refrain to the hilt, arranged with the strength of a battle cry. Paired with its explosive dance video, it’s pretty convincing. As a piece of music on its own… less so.

In between, we get rap verses pulled from the other tracks, interspersed with a few vocal-led moments. All this really does is remind me that Make A Wish remains the strongest of these three singles, though that isn’t a particularly high bar. Maybe the inevitable NCT 2021 (or 2022?) will push things in a more exciting direction. For now, I can’t help but think that Japan’s Exile Tribe did this whole “bring all the units together” thing with more flair, and in just three tracks compared to NCT’s twenty-one.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 8

22 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT 2020 – Resonance

  1. .
    This is how the first line enunciation sounds to me: “No matter what they say, no matter what they do, we go wrestling! Wrestling!”

    The obvious problem with these sing-talking choruses is that truly sound alike after a while. So this one is a gamish of four other songs, all in just about the same key or close enough that if you didn’t know it was a 4x-mix you would have no idea that it was. Oh, there it is, skrrt skrrt, there is that song.

    Admit it, when the music drops out prior to the what sounds like a chorus, did you interject “We go Hundred!” as a fifth song, because I did, every time. Not NCT, but close enough.

    Alright, its just OK. It averages it out any individuality in the prior songs and makes it all average. This is not Black in Black II, which would have been awesome. In the end, it comes across as an uptempo fan service song.

    Other comments to add:
    Not complaining: Ten! Front and center for almost a full minute.
    Just saying: They deliberately made the shirts and jackets an inch or two too short to get a lot of “accidental” abs shots, didn’t they.

    Liked by 3 people

    • About that ‘We Go Hundred’ comment, I’ve noticed NCT’s chants are always extremely similar and somewhat off-putting in the sense that it gives you deja vu while pumping you up


  2. I listened to this, and it’s okay, but I genuinely don’t think I’ll ever listen to it again – putting ‘Make a Wish’ up first is just BEGGING to abandon ship and listen to that instead. Disappointing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. my favorite part was 90’s Love (probably because it’s my favorite single from them this year), but the song as a whole was okay. It was very obvious that this was made for a stage performance.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Throughout NCT 2020 Activities, I have desperately wanted them to pursue something more ambitious or cinematic, and Resonance is the closest we get! It would seem as if Resonance would be Another Rising Sun but If anything, Resonance was a HUGE Miss!

    I can appreciate the ambition Resonance sought out for but the song is a whole blunder! It’s transitions are messy, Resonance also uses those stupid “skrrts” or “swishes” in its verses and its biggest disappointment is the Chorus. Unlike , Rising Sun‘s Towering , Choir battle-like chorus , the song takes an Irritating Instrumental and random shouting as it’s central hook! (Raise the roof’s chorus).

    But NCT has always been known to give great climaxes and it really shows here! After an insane Dance break we get launched into a melodic bridge which uses their vocals for maximum effect, we get a power note and plenty of ad libs but sadly the chorus ruins any momentum and blunts the overall Impact. What’s even worse is how the song ends with the NCT Members Chanting obnoxiously.

    NCT have great vocalists and Performers who know how to exude charisma and I know they put their all into their performances but Resonance does not know how to utilize their talents properly and I think if they really need to hit something grand, they should tone down their hip hop sound a bit…

    My rating would be 7.5

    Liked by 4 people

  5. ooof this is not doing it for me.
    It feels messy and I really dislike the unmusical transitions.
    Disjoint and kinda just unexciting besides their performance ability, charisma, charms, etc which just can’t carry a whole 2 album project…


    • Also just remembered Exile’s girl group conglomerate E-girls is disbanding right now. Sad! I think it’s interesting the Exile format has non-singing members but that just be my unfamiliarity with J-pop idol groups!


  6. Haven’t commented in a while but just dropped to say wow, what a massive dissapointment. I think it personally should’ve been marketed as a highlight medley but whatever. For what it is I think it still deems an 8 rating. Hopefully it grows over time but damn, you’d think after four years SM would have something more musically inventive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is really just a highlight medley. Like the overture to a musical which play 16 bars of every song with some kind of connecting material, but not much more.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I love this music I love how they combined their main visuals songs it gives an another vibe. Nct is known for no following the trend they make a trend so I think resonance was amazing.

      Idk why people are disappointed.Because NCT is known for a loud noise music which matches the music we listen today.

      So lastly NCT fighting❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. From 4:30 on, I’m a big fan of the song. I wish all of it was like that, not just the last minute. I think another b-side would have been a better choice than Work It, which for me is the worst song on the whole album. I feel like Nectar would have worked well. It’s no Black on Black, & I still think NCT are capable of so much more, but it did a lot to dispel my disappointment with NCT 2020’s releases.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Nick and the other commenters seem to be okay with this but I really don’t like it. I’d give it a 6 at its highest and that’s only because the bridge is the freshest part of the song still in my mind. It’s not even a single song and each sections sounds so disjointed-the chorus, the dance break, the bridge(my favorite part), and all the verses could all be separate songs BECAUSE THEY ARE. SM has definitely mashed up songs before with SHINee and SuperM but this just seems like too much and obviously like 5 different songs in one. Maybe if the songs were stronger or they were remixed to match more I would have enjoyed it at least a little bit.
    As a song-I don’t like it but, and this is a big but, as a statement it makes sense. It’s a way to celebrate their triumphs of the year and more of a reverse album sampler than an actual song. It’s about the performance and the power behind that. They’re proclaiming themselves as a powerhouse group in a very obvious way.
    If NCT 2020 hadn’t been so rushed and lack luster(both in terms of songs but also music videos) I would have been happy with this as a finale but again it just seems like too much at once while at the same time not delivering enough. It’s a weak punch and if I’m going to get pummeled by a group I want it to hit home.
    Also it seems like they tried to be more fair with line distribution compared to black on black(god I miss black on black compared to resonance) but did they seriously just give like half of the From Home group only high notes and adlibs in the bridge? Like even Winwin and Yuta had actual lines though only for like two seconds but I heard Taeil and Renjun only a single time hitting those sweet sweet high notes and I don’t think they even appeared in the video. Also I don’t remember Kun or Chenle appearing at all. I mean at least with black on black it was obvious that half the members were just there to be backup dancers.
    This was just a disappointing end to a disappointing project unfortunately. Damn, I want to like NCT, I really do, but the music is just not holding up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’ll see Chenle pop up behind Johnny’s shoulders somewhere there, lol. I agree with your comment about Taeil and Renjun, like seriously did they just give them those few syllables with the high notes! What’s the point of having a big, 23-member group (and will continue to grow to infinity) if you obviously can’t give them lines anymore or even include a solo shot of their faces in an mv. Just separate them into groups and let them have their sweet time to shine, dammit! SM please stop making ‘NCT is one’ happen, it’s not going to happen!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This does not feel like a song at all. It looks like the medley material they’ll perform in MAMA or something. I am a huuuuge NCT fan, what disapoints me the most is again the unfair treatment of all members. This is supposed to be the joint material for all NCT members and I barely saw Kun, Renjun and Chenle on that mv (yes, I did an attendance check on all members). I wonder if the mv editor even knew all 23 members and made the conscious effort to feature all of them. At least more members get to “sing” here, unlike Black on Black where I think only 4 out of 18 members had solo parts, but that even felt a stronger song for NCT. I saw and heard the song once, that’s enough. I guesss I’ll just patiently wait for the OT7 NCT Dream full album.

    Liked by 2 people

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