Song Review: NCT DOJAEJUNG – Perfume

NCT DOJAEJUNG - PerfumeThis subunit name is a mouthful, isn’t it? Rather than opt for something more streamlined (“NCT V” was right there, SM!), the powers-that-be have smashed together the names of this trio, “Brangelina” style. DOJAEJUNG unites NCT vocalists Doyoung, Jaehyun and Jungwoo. Too often, vocal-based sub-units are relegated to ballads or coffeeshop fare. But, there’s nothing better than a powerhouse line-up of vocalists performing upbeat, exciting material.

I wouldn’t necessarily call Perfume “upbeat,” but it has a nice groove to it. It sounds like a strong NCT track without all the shouting and posturing we’ve grown accustomed to. It’s so nice to hear these voices act as the song’s driving force rather than occasional ornamentation. As is often the case with SMent tracks, Perfume is heavily rooted in 90’s hip-hop and r&b. The beat is straight out of 1997, buttressed by gorgeous harmonies that give it plenty of texture and dynamism. There’s a sinewy fullness to the production that’s sure to sound great pumping out of car stereos.

I don’t think Perfume’s melodies are as strong as its overall vibe, but there’s a satisfying consistency to the songwriting that keeps your head nodding without interruption. Even when it pauses for a series of breakdowns, the transitions are in keeping with the track’s retro influences. Above all else, DOJAEJUNG perform the heck out of Perfume. And while I would have loved a few climactic power notes, the lively vocal arrangement makes up for a lack of obvious peaks.

Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

Grade: B+


20 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT DOJAEJUNG – Perfume

  1. I really like this one. Newjeans’ attention and lots of your Janet Jackson posts (although about her more pop influenced songs) have made me love the genre lately. So I’m eating this song up

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like the song, I like it a lot. Boys perform it super well, super smooth.

    The whole thing almost too slick, too high of a polish that makes it unreal, like a shiny car in a showroom that does not get driven much. Where is the edge, the subversion? Good pop sounds like this. Better pop grabs you and smacks you sideways with a compelling point of view, tells you what is what and what should be.

    Liked by 5 people

    • “Better pop grabs you and smacks you sideways with a compelling point of view, tells you what is what and what should be.”

      I feel like I have gained a little bite of wisdom. Thank you, I will keep this in mind as I keep listening to more and more music and formulate my opinions on them.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. we have WayV as NCT V, Nick!
    I didn’t like the song as much when I listened for the first time last night, but I like it a lot more now. surprising to see an SM release under 3 minutes, I thought this sounded very complete up until the final chorus which deserved to be extended. I much prefer the LDN Noise-produced Kiss more, I’ve been obsessed since yesterday.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m absolutely in love with a couple things in this song.

    – The vocal delivery (Doyoung’s in particular makes an integral part to creating the song’s atmosphere)
    – The vocal arrangement (heavily agree on Nick!)
    – The melodic intervals (atypical, interesting, likely influence from RnB, it is giving me Attention from NewJeans but it isn’t the same, the vibe is more sensual)

    These make the song really interesting to listen to and replay. I also believe the chorus melody in particular will grow on me over time. It met all my expectations! (I have been anticipating the release ever since the subunit and concept pictures were teased)

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I love some 90s groovin’ New Jack Swing. I think Doyoung does most of the heavy lifting here and he’s glorious. Jaehyun is a great foil, and Jungwoo is solid. Can’t help but think how this might have been with Haechan, Taeil, or even singing Mark on here. I love Jungwoo to death, but I wish his vocals reflected more of his warmth and quirkiness. Still, NCT CBX is very solid and I love the crying on the phone Can We Go Back o the album.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. God, finally, some energy! I wasn’t expecting to like this at all, so I’m pleasantly surprised. The production is super tight across the whole mini.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I think I was expecting something as vocally powerful and cathartic as Without You from this release, so my expectations had to be tempered quite a bit when I actually listened to this song. It’s nice, it does have groove, it just doesn’t have enough groove for me because it feels so short! I wish this had taken more time to build up the instrumental more.


  8. Can’t have NCT V without Taeil. ☝🏻 I like the song but I also feel like it’s just… there. Vocally it’s great but also they really are missing the it factor to sell this to me in the end.


  9. Honestly I loved the song and was just hoping there wasn’t any rap verse or even making Jaehyun rap cos then I would have stopped listening so I was pleasantly surprised.

    I prefer Can We Go Back in the album than Perfume but overall a good song and a major break away from experimental music which is great.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s slick, it’s groovy, it still has that NCT shouting that tells us it’s NCT. It’s also perfect for a perfume ad.

    The bummer is only that, Perfume and its companions sounds too adjacent/derivative of EXO or Shinee B-sides. It brings back the two sides of the coin I usually see in SM’s musical unity debate: “it continues the legacy of SM’s sound” or “SM songs sounds the same”, and I lean to the latter.


  11. I like the groove, I love the beautiful layered vocals, and though they got close with the sing-talking, I like how they don’t force in a rap verse. And I like the “aaaaaaah~” melody at the end of the post-chorus, very catchy.

    I completely agree that this is a welcome departure from the “shouting and posturing” of NCT’s regular work. I often find myself wanting more parts for the main vocalists of NCT, so it’s great to hear vocals shine in this.

    *smashes glass on floor in satisfaction* ANOTHER!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. The chorus is majorly catchy in a good way. I cannot tell you how nice it is to hear these guys singing for a whole entire song. I often feel like NCT 127’s vocalists are tragically underutilized for how many good ones that they have. I’m personally missing Taeil and Haechan’s vocal colors in here just a pinch, but this trio pulls the song off really nicely as it is, and I’ll take any little bit of the NCT boys just singing with no shouting/rapping that I can get.

    Liked by 1 person

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