With so many members and diverse talents as part of the NCT universe, I’m surprised we haven’t seen solo releases every other week. “NCT Lab” – a spin-off of the long-running SM Station project – was established for this exact reason. But after two releases back in February and March, the lab took a hiatus until about a month ago. Now, things seem to be back on track, as Jaeyhun’s Forever Only follows last month’s sub-unit track Rain Day.
Like SM Station, these songs aren’t designed to be promoted title tracks, stuffed with bombast and driven by ear-catching hooks. Instead, a song like Forever Only paints NCT members as boys next door, just sittin’ down with a guitar and singing out their hearts. Billed as an R&B track with a writing credit from Jaehyun himself, the song is everything you’d expect it to be. Modern beats blend with guitar and a rhythmic melody that keeps energy dynamic throughout. It’s coffeeshop with an extra shot of caffeine – not quite groovy enough to pull you to the dancefloor but certainly head-nodding.
Jaehyun’s voice has a sweet tone that sometimes battles for attention among NCT’s bigger belters. His performance suits this style. It’s nimble in execution, but sincere in sentiment. If you’re already a big fan, I’m certain this will be a real treat. For me, Forever Only sounds like a very nice b-side. I’m not sure I’d seek out on its own, but I wouldn’t skip it either. Its chill, well-delivered style adds another level of depth to the NCT universe, and that’s always appreciated.