Seemingly out of nowhere, NCT 127 announced a collaboration track with the talents behind independent label Amoeba Culture. It’s an unexpected pairing, but not an unwelcome one. With many of NCT’s tracks being outsourced to international talent, it’s satisfying to hear the group tackle a song crafted by well-known Korean producers. Save arrives courtesy of Dynamic Duo’s Gaeko and composer Philtre. And despite not being a promoted comeback, this is one of NCT 127’s strongest singles in years.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Save is perfect. Its beat drop/catchphrase hook feels frustratingly familiar and insufficient when placed alongside the verses. But at the very least, it keeps the song’s energy moving. This is a club track through and through, driven by thumping bass. I appreciate how this consistent kick underlines everything but the noisy bridge, giving Save a streamlined appeal we don’t often hear from NCT tracks.
The song is strongest when it embraces this forward-moving sound. The two pre-chorus segments are galvanizing in their intensity, swerving out of the verses with flair. And when everything comes together for the finale, Save approaches its full potential. It’s also nice to hear the group’s vocalists given prominence. There may be no huge power notes within the track, but the verses rely on melody more than NCT’s usual hip-hop approach. This is surprising given Amoeba Culture’s background. But, the two forces prove to be a great match. Save is a lot of fun, even if it could have been made greater with the help of a robust chorus.