For me, Mark’s voice is synonymous with NCT’s music. Early on, he was in every unit, bringing a sense of cohesion to the sprawling project. I’m actually surprised he hasn’t released a solo song yet. But with the advent of NCT Lab – a platform for solo works from NCT’s many members – we’ve got our first Mark track in the form of Child.
Those expecting an extension of his NCT verses may be surprised. Child’s performance blends rap and singing, and is more subdued than usual. An alt-rock atmosphere surrounds much of the instrumental, casting bluesy guitar over robust percussion. I love the moments where the drums really get going, adding dramatic drive to the arrangement. A soft choir of backing vocals is used well, bringing emphasis to Child’s emotional finale. Overall, the production is rather fitful, pulling back just as often as it charges forward. I prefer a structure that creates more sustained build, but Child’s stop/start approach is clearly intentional.
Mark does a nice job navigating the song’s ebb and flow. His vocal matches the intensity of the instrumental – quiet and unguarded when it needs to be, but forceful during Child’s peaks. He displays more versatility than most NCT tracks allow — a quality any good solo effort should strive for. But while I can appreciate the intention and overall effect of Child, it’s not the type of song I’m likely to return to often. If anything, its confessional nature makes me curious how Mark might stretch his talents and ideas across an entire album.
Mark, you bad bad boyfriend.
It starts off in 6/8 time, then shifts abruptly to 4/4 time. Ok, what goes on here. But then the song clings to 4/4 time for what seems like an age, cycling on the same bpm between single and double time. When it gets back to the 6/8 time, it isn’t cathartic, its just a shrug. Like a bad date, cycling from meh to meh, looking at the clock, wondering the whole time how and when you are going to let this guy down.
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it’s flawed, messy and sprawling, and yet 100% Mark. I’m more fascinated by this than some more put together songs because it’s so unapologetically “warts and all”. And the video is some great storytelling.
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Yeah I kinda like this. Like Scallly said, it does at time feel a bit messy but it gives it a nice little charm.
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One of my New Year’s Resolutions for K-Pop was that I wanted to see more self-written, self-produced work from Mark and I am very pleased that this lives up to that expectation. (The others were Monsta X, BTS and TXT – I set realistic goals!)
Like Scalyyy and Statickaa said, it’s a little messy but that does give it a sense of intimacy and honesty; he’s a 22-year-old trying to articulate himself and convincingly stuttering from topic to topic, theme to theme, tempo to tempo (language to language) as he tries to express himself. I think it’s a great showcase for Mark’s rapping and vocals and for his undoubted talent as a writer and composer – and I’m really excited for him to have more opportunities to show this side of himself. (I’d love a Mark mixtape, or Markstape.)
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OT: Nick, this Kazakh song from a few months has kind of become my jam. I wanted to know your (and other readers here’s) thoughts on it. It is not perfect, but it is a nice piece of post-Blinding Lights synthwave.
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Ooh, thanks for sharing. I really like this! And, I think it’s officially the first Kazakh song I’ve ever heard — at least the first I’m aware of.
Glad you enjoyed it! We Q-Pop fans love the building world of Kazakh music.
Would note though, I know two Kazakh (Q-Pop) songs mentioned in the comments that you gave your thoughts on:
Sevenlight – Nukte
Your response: Not bad, not bad! Their voices remind me of C-pop group Oner (My note: They do sound like Oner, several Kazakh groups do, no idea why.), who I’m very partial to.
If only I had the time to delve into yet another music market… 😩
Dimash – Stranger
Your Response: I cannot find it, but you found the song too theatrical and were bugged by the lack of masks (totally sensible).
Ha! I stand corrected
The comment was in a battle of b-sides post: Girls Generation edition and Nick’s response was this:
“I somehow missed this comment. It’s a very dramatic song and performance, isn’t it? Probably a bit too musical theatre for what I’d usually listen to, but definitely impressive.
Also… they’re having huge unmasked, in-person spectacles like this in Russia right now? 😮”.
I have no idea how you found it, but thanks Yan!
Yes, another example of my punctuality being as pristine as always.
Sorry, I didn’t notice this comment. It’s easy to find “specific” comments. Just go to google search and type “Thebiaslist Dimash”, you’ll be able to find it.
Oh Dimash! Those subharmonic notes starting at 2:10 are fantastic.
Yes, you have shared some Qpop here in the past! Here is the only place I have seen it before, except when I go watch your suggestions and then for a short while my youtube feed is populated with other suggestions.
The samples you give here are great – it is so strange how broadly speaking they sound like Kpop, except not in Korean.
Q-Pop is certainly based on K-Pop, at least in modern times. Initially driven by Russian-inspired sounds (it is a post-Soviet nation, after all), but after the Hallyu Wave spread through the nation, Juz Entertainment debuted Ninety One in 2015, driven based on K-Pop sounds. Both idol tracks suggested here are examples of this modern Q-Pop sound. It is hard to know where Q-Pop will go now, as Kazakhstan has been highly economically hurt recently, and many acts have disbanded.
However, here are some mainstream Kazakh recommendations to increase YouTube recommendations. None of these songs are in genres I enjoy, but they are strong. The final track here is one of my favorites from the 2010s, I could write paragraph after paragraph on it.
That last one is quite good. It is also available on US itunes! Yassss.
Kazakhstan is a bit of a mess these days. We don’t hear about it much on the US news, but I get the Economist every week and the news from there is in there.
Glad you enjoy it!
Kazakhstan is in a bit of a messy state these days. Unfortunately, self-centered USA news is not likely to report on it. One can feel that in the music scene of Kazakhstan too, unfortunately. Of the 20 most popular idol bands in the nation, I’d say around 15-16 disbanded during the pandemic.
in some part it feels like NCT’s song, in some part, it feels like G-Dragon’s song. I’d love for Mark to have more chance to show his own color