Song Review: NCT U (Doyoung & Haechan) – Maniac

NCT U - Maniac (Doyoung & Haechan)Though he may not receive the same level of attention as other production teams, Ryan Jhun has been a K-pop architect for over a decade now. His touch can be found in many modern classics (View, Love Me Right, Dumb Dumb, Lucifer, My First And Last, Baby Don’t Stop etc etc etc) and his name still pops up regularly on mini albums from a wide variety of acts and agencies. When considering his most iconic work, I envision immense choruses and robust, funk-influenced instrumentals.

Maniac marks the first half of Jhun’s new Maxis project, which puts his name front and center. It’s a smart move for any producer seeking a boost in notoriety, though the song’s guest vocalists are sure to draw the most attention. Maniac is performed by NCT’s Doyoung and Haechan. Neither appear in the music video, but their voices drive the project forward. It’s so nice to hear two of NCT’s fantastic vocalists on a unit song that’s not a ballad.

As I had hoped, Maniac draws upon the funkier side of Jhun’s work, harnessing an exciting rhythm punctuated by blasts of bright brass. The instrumental is straightforward and enjoyable, striking a satisfying balance between upbeat and chill. A full group version of this song would have made room for more dynamic highs and lows, but there’s something gratifying about the purity of Maniac’s groove. Meanwhile, the chorus swells with just enough melodic drama to act as a suitable climax. It becomes more rousing as the track goes on, taking advantage of the guys’ alluring performance.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9


6 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT U (Doyoung & Haechan) – Maniac

  1. Its fine, really. The guys are great. But it sounds so measured, and polished, and deliberate, and corporate. There is no personality here for my tastes. I know, I know, Nick doesn’t mind the artifice and high polish. So his score is higher than mine. OK!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think it’s really good. But I am a sucker for Doyoung and Haechan. such talented vocalists.
    I wouldn’t say this track reminds me of Highway to Heaven, but I am reminded of the power of these guy’s vocal blends.
    I think this song is great and there are many moments I really enjoy…even though I don’t plan to be returning much for further listening.

    in all it makes me crave an upbeat 127 comeback showcasing the vocal line.

    Combined with the Amoeba music release, I like the idea of the NCT universe not being tied to SM production (which these days usually means outsourcing)…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a nice sounding song, but nothing that stands out to me really. The brief bridge is my favorite bit, still the song just grooves on but not in a way that catches my attention that much. Nothing bad though.

    Liked by 1 person

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