Review

Song Review: NCT 127 – Gimme Gimme

There was a time when SM Entertainment’s Japanese releases were something to really look forward to. The J-pop discographies of Girls’ Generation, SHINee and TVXQ are particularly strong and often pushed the artists in new directions. But, I can’t remember the last time a Japanese single by an SM artist really stood out – maybe Taemin’s Famous in the summer of 2019? NCT’s Japanese releases have largely felt like an extension of their Korean work, yet not as strong. New single Gimme Gimme brings together agency powerhouses Moonshine and Kenzie. But, it suffers from the same noise-over-melody obsession that’s marred so many recent boy group comebacks.

To be fair, NCT 127 were an originator of this noisy sound. Their music is often experimental and can come across as inscrutable upon first listen. Usually, these tracks ingratiate themselves the more familiar they become, but the group’s jackhammer-through-the-brain style is beginning to wear thin. Gimme Gimme isn’t helped by its central synth riff, which employs a truly irritating tone that dominates the track. Sometimes, it feels like K-pop producers are engaged in a game of chicken, fighting to see who can anchor a track with the most obnoxious loop. And in a pop culture dominated by memes and trends, this is hardly surprising. But while these sounds may gain attention in the moment, they rarely create music that endures past a limited shelf life.

Like so many tracks of this nature, Gimme Gimme just doesn’t have much meat on its bones. Its dramatic chorus has potential, and might have been a highlight if the members’ strong vocals could fight their way past the maelstrom of instrumental cacophony dragging them down. Beyond this moment, Gimme Gimme is basically NCT’s rappers doing what they always do. As with many recent NCT tracks, there’s way too much posturing for my taste. Lots of grunts and grumbles, but little in the way of memorable flow. What happened to the group that gave us Superhuman and Highway to Heaven only two years ago?

 Hooks 7
 Production 6
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6
 RATING 6.5

38 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT 127 – Gimme Gimme

  1. There are some moments when I question my mortality. This morning is one of them. Darling daughter is back in school physically for the first time since the first week of December. I had forgotten how bleeping early I have to wake up myself , and wake her up to drive her in for the morning bell at 7:30am.

    And then this, three cups of coffee into my morning.

    That synth sound, that obligato that is supposed to be what passes for a hook, Nick would call it “brittle” or “icy”, that sound is piercing.

    The rest of it sounds like standard NCT___ – Wayv – SuperM fare. Its like Turning Back time meets um, um … another one. “Um Um” is going to the title of the next one.

    Also, I was thrice through the song before I realized it was in Japanese.

    Also, when did fast triplets become the default go-to to make a rap sound “good”. I hear them, and my mind begs for the rhythm switch up a la “America” from West Side Story, and it never happens.

    Liked by 5 people

      • Darling daughter goes to a fancy magnet public school, and all the magnet middle schools are on a whackadoodle calendar that matches none of the regular public schools, They had to make up a few days from all the covid calendar switcherooskis. Meanwhile, sonny boy is off today doing … something, idkw, in the house.

        (But only the magnet _middle_ schools, so the kids are off cycle from each other almost the whole year. And then when/if sonny boy goes to a fancy magnet middle school, and darling daughter is in high school, they will still be off cycle from each other.)

        Liked by 2 people

  2. So my brother would call this sound palette “power tool noises”.. and I get where he’s coming from.

    Honestly this song gives off Monsta X vibes for me, along with NCT Dream’s ‘Ridin’’ (which makes sense, since I’m pretty sure Moonshine produced ‘gimme gimme’).

    I think the most interesting part of the song is the post-chorus introduced at the halfway point, but even then it’s hard to hear the vocals over the buzzing power tool synths.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Your brother and I think alike. I felt like someone was doing house renovations inside my ears. Very unpleasant! I don’t think Monsta X songs get quite this..experimental.. but the general loud, heavy vibe is similar.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Everything about this comeback feels very rushed and I really don’t understand the need for it. Its as if SM decided they needed to remind 127’s Japanese fans that they exist, which after their extremely prolific 2020 is completely unnecessary. I have been an international fan long enough to know that fans will pay attention to whatever you put out regardless of the language. So, I don’t see why this needed to be pushed in so early into the year. The production of the music is quite jarring and stifles even NCT’s vast array of talent. The music video also makes me think the whole thing was rushed because if I’m being totally honest its one of the ugliest MV’s I have seen in a long time. It feels more like a glorified warehouse performance video.

    My personal hope for NCT going into 2021 was that SM would give 127 an extended period of rest and finally give dream the full album they deserve, as they are going on five years now without one. Yet as always, the hardest thing to love about NCT is SM’s truly strange management choices.

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  4. I maybe wrong but it sounds like they took a synth sample from uk garage/dubstep producer Rusko and just ran with it. I’m a fan of nct experimental sound, but this just sounds lazy.

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  5. When I saw the suits and that it was a Japanese release my brain automatically conjured up fond memories of SHINee’s “Your Number” and TVXQ’s “Spellbound,” (even though that song wasn’t a Japanese release). Granted, that may be an unfairly high bar, but needless to say, it made the disappointment of listening to this all the more bitter…especially since, like you said, the chorus has potential. But the way it sounds is just nonsensical – like, I don’t understand why they made a song that sounds like this, and I’ve enjoyed some of the louder and more blaring NCT tracks in the past. Even the lyrics are /really/ nonsensical – and I have seen some…interesting K-pop lyrics in my time – featuring such stand-out lines as, “Things were too late / So addict,” “Incurable spicy disease, yeah,” and “Gimme gimme ooh Baby uncontrollable Trauma.”

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    • All the three tracks released today have something in common: bad lyrics.
      Incurable spicy disease is bad on its own, but “I ride It. I ride it. You like it when I read it”, is so extremely dull that it deserves the dishonorable crown for the worst thing I have heard today.

      Liked by 1 person

      • This is true. At least “incurable spicy disease” made me laugh. I guess the song did accomplish something good, even if it was probably not what the creators intended.

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        • I need to know where ‘incurable spicy disease’ is from! I haven’t seen that one before in funny English kpop lyric compilations. Honestly, there’s English lyrics that are “bad” (hilarious and iconic) and then there’s English lyrics that are just bad.

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  6. Oooo my opinion is different. I have a lot of NCT bias though.

    The lyrics ARE very questionable I agree, but they have enough charisma to make me not question it. Johnny saying “dead clown” did not even phase me.

    Is this a master piece? No. But it’s a head bop for sure. Maybe it’s because the noise from the begining has consistency and appears throughout the whole song. Since I do not despise the beat too much, it causes me to remember the song well because of repetition.

    My favorite part of the song has to be the vocals of hae Chan and jungwoo. Their part sounds so distant and eerie, which draws me in.

    Overall, I would give it a 7.75 upon the first few listens. It might be a grower or it could turn sour the more I hear it….we will find out.

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    • My opinion has sadly changed. It grew…in a bad direction 😆. I do not like it as much now. After releases I’ve listened to after this which had more melody- the noise from the beginning is actually starting the grate on me. Oh well. Sometimes songs do not grow the way you want them to.

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  7. I’m trying to think of the way to phrase this properly but do NCT seem to be getting lazier performance-wise? The dancing in this video was pretty anemic. I guess selling a million albums makes you comfortable

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    • I’m not a very dedicated NCT fan, but wasn’t this recorded back during the midst of NCT 2020 promotions and when Taeyong was struggling with his injury? I’m not sure if he’s fully recovered enough yet from his herniated disc (if that’s what it was – I do recall that it was a supposedly serious injury which hampered him from taking part in their December online concert).

      I don’t think the group is getting lazy or whatever, the choreo for this one doesn’t go as hard perhaps as some of their previous releases but it’s not something to scoff at entirely. And their scheduling conflicts and injury issues over the last few months have been pretty high. I’m not a huge fan of this particular song musically-speaking but I’ll give them the fact that they’re really great dancers and a very well-rounded group overall. I hope the members are doing okay now

      Liked by 1 person

      • They’ve definitely been busy, at least Jaehyun must have had a very very hectic late half of 2020. And then Taeyongs injury. Neither I was the biggest fan of the song but NCT slacking off with their performance because they’re too comfortable now is probably not what’s happening…

        Liked by 1 person

        • I second this. ‘Lazy’ performing is likely due to a combination of them being exhausted and the choreo just not looking that impactful.

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  8. The problem is that the group that gave us Superhuman and Highway To Heaven sold way less copies and gained way less popularity and earned way less money than the group that started “skrrr skrrr!”-ing random from Superhuman and Highway To Heaven on.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Linking VICTON in the review reminded me of a bit of trivia that you might or might not know… Youha (of Abittipsy fame) wrote the lyrics to “What I Said”! I know you’re not big on lyrics (neither am I), but I thought it was a cool fact.

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  10. This is in the vein of “sit down” from neo zone, and that isn’t a good thing 😔

    Somebody call Adrian McKinnon and Tay Jasper and tell them we are in an emergency so they can help us 😂

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  11. Maybe I’m weird but i like this song and mv a lot. It doesn’t seem rushed to me at all. The trasitions in the mv are amazing. I mean it definitely isn’t the best song and mv that 127 made but i love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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