Review

Song Review: NCT 127 x Amoeba Culture – Save

NCT 127 - Save
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.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

22 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT 127 x Amoeba Culture – Save

  1. Excuse my impatience but I just commented about getting this review (more like complained?)

    Anyway, it is all justified as this feels like an actual fine NCT single made in a while. This borrows from most of the recent singles with a thumping bass and that nimble funk background. The verses were fun too. Though not even close in finesse, this feels intentionally so similar to superhuman.

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    • Haha I appreciate your enthusiasm!

      In general, you can expect most new reviews to be published between 7-10am US Pacific time, though other posts arrive whenever I’ve got the time 🙂

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    • If you wonder why I am usually the first, it is because the reviews usually start to get posted at 11am EST (New York) time for me. If Nick hasn’t posted a review by about noon NYC time, he may not be doing one, though that isn’t common unless the artist is Ravi, or its an OST, or a ballad, or such.

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      • I’m typically EST, just like Myma. However, this week I’ve been in CEST (Central European) for work which has really thrown me off keeping up w commenting…I’ll be coming home Monday, so I’m looking forward to returning to the routine of mid-morning/early afternoon posts 🙂

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  2. This song was like my morning, it took a few listens – slash – cups of coffee to get into, but that that I am, its all going alright. Its not terribly compelling, but a nice groove and ride, and best of all the song has nothing that could drive someone like us nuts except maybe possibly that vocal cartoon sample which is transient enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe it’s just me, but the chorus drop resembles that of sf9’s ‘now or never’. Actually, I wish it had continued to follow now or never’s structure into the post-chorus, opting for a vocal section rather than rap/spoken word bit – think it would’ve complimented the track much better

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  4. It’s not bad but it’s just ok. I’d take literally any other 127 title track (other than wakey wakey and gimme gimme) over this though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The biggest thing that stands out to me here is that they sound like they’re having fun. Obviously, I can’t confirm that that’s actually true, but the song feels much easier to groove to when the performers themselves are into it.

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  6. I feel like I have heard this song a thousand times over from boy groups (SF9 Now or Never and AB6IX Breathe come to my mind first). There’s a few elements here that make it unique- the noisier rap part, for example. It’s not enough to spark my enthusiasm, though.

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  7. The chorus is really underwhelming compared to the movement of the verses. I hoped on first listen that they’d introduce a melodic second part to the chorus, but alas. I think I’ll only listen to this if I’m watching the MV or a performance.

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    • This was my thoughts on the song too. There’s a lot of good momentum and melodies in the verses, that it’s a shame they didn’t do anything for the chorus.

      SF9’s Now or Never seems like the answer to a problem like this, keeping the nice thumping beat drop but then exploding into a melodic burst for the seconf half. Although if I’m being honest, the beat drop is still boring with Save’s very empty chorus. SF9’s worked incredibly well because it’s beat drop is actually really fun to listen to. The Jealous hook quickly becoming an earworm with its irregular placements (helps that’s it’s just very fun.) and it has a lot more purpose behind its bounce and production,

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  8. The vibe the track gives is so nice. It’s a groovy club beat. I like how we get to hear more of Johnny. And haechan is singing in his lower range for the most part. I was surprised they didn’t add in a high note at the climax, but maybe it was a good subversion of expectations. Not an amazing song, but it’s still a good listen. I’d give it an 8/10.

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  9. This song reminds me of Shinee’s “View,” am I the only one? It’s a more shouty version, of course. Um, it’s just alright for me. You know it’s got that SM flavor at least.

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