TITLE: Neo Zone – The 2nd Album
ARTIST: NCT 127
LABEL: SM Entertainment
RELEASED: March 6, 2020
Let me start off by saying, Kudos to NCT 127 and SM for the promotion of this album. All throughout February, they had me hype as hell for this release. So hype that I took my ass out the house this morning and traveled all the way to Target to purchase both versions of this album. The teasers they supplied and the visuals they were laying down were just THAT good. Now I’ve been a fan of their brand of noise from the first time I got into K-Pop almost 3 years ago. And I have to say, their first album didn’t do it for me like the minis did. Let’s see how they redeemed themselves in my eyes.
Kick It – TITLE TRACK
First beat and I’m ready to do some proper headbanging. But leave it to these 9 to switch it up on me. The moment that bass comes in and the first line Yeah, let me introduce you to some New thangs. New thangs indeed. This song really experiments with genre-blending and the raps and vocals don’t disappoint. From the moment the MV dropped, its been the earworm in my head. Speaking of the MV…. HOLY SHIT! I’m here for this whole kung-fu inspired vibe and Johnny, Jaehyun, and Yuta were just plain rude. They also gave us some new centers… I’m looking at you Haechan. They did Bruce Lee proud with this.
I feel like this song was made for me. The classic funk bass riff goes right to my soul. Add in Haechan’s high tone and the rest of vocal line doing the damn thing, I’m in love. It was nice to actually see Yuta have some lines and I’ve become addicted to his tone. The raps didn’t feel out of place and grooved right in. It’s a nice driving song.
I like the vibe of this one. Not as much as I would anticipate but I don’t hate it. Chorus is kind of weird, if I can even call it a chorus. It feels a little disjointed from the rest of the song but then again, that’s NCT’s thing. The verses are very soft pop with a weird middle. The mini MV though got me wanting to snatch a Letterman jacket off of these boys.
If Sunday morning mood was a song… this could be it. The soft retro pop vibe is nice and it was really nice to see Johnny and Yuta to get lines. Thank you Johnny for writing. My favorite part of this song would have to be the first bridge though. There is something about Doyoung and Taeil’s voices blended together that do it for me. Chill playlist for sure.
This encompasses its name clearly. The contemporary R&B track really feels like it could be a soundtrack to a dream. With just Mark and Taeyong not even on the track, you don’t feel like anything is missing. Not sure if that’s bad to say but come through vocal line!
Interlude: Neo Zone
Nothing will top Neo Got My Back. Waste of track space.
Ummmm. No. Talk about noise. I’m really not a fan of this EDM-rap track. It’s not that I don’t like EDM inspired tracks, but this just feels like pure noise with no vision. By the time the chorus comes on I want to skip. I get where they wanted to go with this but it just didn’t get there for me.
Alright, this I can rock with better. This hip-hop track feels a bit more focused than the last. The R&B hook and bridge really bring the song to another level than just the trap raps. Mark and Taeyong bring the fire as usual but it’s Doyoung’s riffs that really make me not hate this.
Love Me Now
This is the first track off the album that I could really see being on the radio here. The Zedd like dance pop track is addiction. The chorus can be very earworm. I feel like I should be at a music festival with a flower crown as I dance freely to this track. Basically, I’m here for this.
Second Johnny Suh touched track of the album and the boy may be on to something. This 90’s inspired soft pop track feels like it could easily be in the likes of Bruno Mars. But even with that similarity, the uniqueness that is the different vocal colors each member brings to a song really works. Again, Yuta’s voice is so nice to tell apart from the pack.
NCT 127 said we make baby making music now. That’s legit all you need to know about this song. It’s probably about some sadness but I’ve learned after Whiplash and Go knock some boots to White Night.
I can’t really say anything good or bad about this song. It is… just there.
Dreams Come True
Thank you NCT 127 for giving me my throwback R&B vibe song. And to make it all inspirational and emotional, I’m here for it. It’s like classic boy band ballad. Haechan says the line When you’re out of breath you can sit and rest I felt that in my soul. And Rapper Johnny Suh come through!
This album has a debut NCT 127 feel but matured. It is sticks to the blueprint of NCT Noise that people love to talk about but the concept is clear almost all throughout. A throwback album for today’s audience in my opinion. It also allowed members like Johnny and Yuta who in the past were thrown to the visual only side but this time they really are given the chance to showcase their voices with more lines. What this boils down to is there are more members than just Taeyong and Mark and when they come together NCT 127 is a force and are really cutting their own slice of the massive K-pop pie.
PRODUCTION : 4.5 / 5
VOCALS / RAPPING : 4 / 5
VISUALS / CONCEPT : 5 / 5
OVERALL : 4.5 / 5
Least Favorite Track(s): Boom, Mad Dog, Not Alone
Favorite Track(s): Elevator, Love Me Now, Dreams Come True