Hi guys! I thought I’d utilise this portfolio area for something different. Other than book reviews, I also want to try song reviews!
NCT 127 is the ten member sub-unit of Korean boy group NCT. NCT has been committing more promotions and activities in the United States to open up a whole new market, and this sub-unit has been proving success, especially with their recent North America Tour, still on-going at this point of time. The members are composed of Taeyong, Taeil, Yuta, Mark, Jaehyun, Haechan, Doyoung, Johnny, Jungwoo, and the member absent from this current comeback/promotion, WinWin (He is currently promoting with the Chinese sub-unit, WayV).
On May 24, 2019, NCT 127 came back with their EP (Extended Play), titled ‘We Are Superhuman’, their title track being, you guessed it, ‘Superhuman’. This song is an electro-pop track with an extremely heavy bass synth line.
Its strong EDM elements had often reminded fans of the groups’ senior group, SHINee, who is a boy group managed under the same company. SHINee often had very strong and powerful vocals over the heavy and strong tracks. ‘Superhuman’s style very much resembles title tracks of SHINee, like that of ‘Everybody’, utilising the unique harmony between vocals and the strong electro sounds.
However, NCT 127 has set themselves different from their seniors with their own set of unique vocals and strong harmonisations, something that is rare amongst the previous hip-hop & rap-based title tracks of the group. This song was definitely a new challenge for them and took their music and the group’s experimental concept to another level. Using the voices of the five main vocals to bring out a beautifully layered harmony within the melodic vocals, woven with the intricate raps performed by the group’s rappers, ‘Superhuman’ was executed wonderfully.
Despite the resemblance to some of SHINee’s music, this is an overwhelming and powerful track that can only be described as, “you would have to put all your energy into it”. And that is where this truly sets NCT 127 apart from SHINee despite musicality similarities. NCT 127 has the advantage of having higher versatility due to the number of members they have: this means that there can be more layering, vocal combinations, chords and harmonisations, and it is this that truly brings the song to its current level, not to mention the youthful vibe the song gives, a powerful feeling you have when you feel like a superhero, when you have the superpowers charging through you, the power of daydreams.
What makes the songs’ key, in which is a D, so simple yet so intricate, lies in the fact that the chorus vocals switch extremely often between major and minor key with hints of harmonic shifts, giving the voices and the tone a touch of romanticism within the somewhat harmonic minor key-ed song, a very classic SM (the name of the entertainment label that manages NCT) move that they use in their songs. The pre-chorus leads with a soft melody among the keyboards in the background, leading to a surprising electro-bass second pre-chorus to isolate the vocals, making main chorus much more impactful when the layers upon layers of vocals are further highlighted out.
Combined with surreal visuals within the music video and the beautiful CG effects used, such as sci-fi infused backgrounds, use of laser lights and the multiple instants where members hover above midair, NCT 127 presents to you the start of their next journey, ‘Superhuman’.
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