This is a continuation of my NCT 2018 ‘Empathy’ album review! Part one is here.
I was so excited about ‘BOSS’ and ‘GO’ that I skipped ‘Baby Don’t Stop’!
I wrote an article about the teasers and let me say that the whispering is basically the climax of the song. It is hard to describe this sound or the genre it would fall under. The song gives off smooth and funky vibes like Ten and Taeyong are seducing the listener. The best things about it are Ten’s angelic vocals sparring with Taeyong’s guttural rap voice and his surprise honey-like singing voice. HE SANG! WE DIDN’T EXPECT THIS!
Next is ‘TOUCH’ by NCT U, and it was completely unexpected, so much that k-pop stan Twitter asked why it seemed NCT Dream and NCT U switched concepts! NCT U hit us with a soft concept in the music video that has pink and orange pastels, adorably parted hair, button-ups and blazered aesthetics. This song has a tame beat and all of the boys’ vocals shine on this track, making it an instant favorite.
The differences between ‘TOUCH’ and the next song ‘YESTODAY’ are vast. ‘TOUCH’ is a vocal highlighting, sweet song and ‘YESTODAY’ brings old-school hip-hop vibes to the beat and the rap line’s flows. It sounds like what I imagine riding around California on a summer day in the 90s in a drop-top automobile would be like (at least that’s the feeling that it gives me).
The next song is ‘Black on Black’ and I honestly don’t know what to say about it. This is the one song that all 18 members are supposed to participate in. It sounds and feels chaotic, as one would expect an 18 member group to be. The song itself isn’t one that I would care to listen to by itself, but I saw the showcase performance and that made it all make sense. This song is meant to be a performance piece where all members participate and show their talents in dancing/singing/rapping/chanting.
Next is ‘Timeless’ which is a slow jam that, like ‘TOUCH,’ allows NCT’s vocalists to do what they do best; serenade us with beautiful voices. The boys let their vocals blow over a simple piano. It is a beautiful song that makes you daydream about a love that you may or may not have had.
The next four songs, ‘The 7th Sense’, ‘Without U’ (Korean and Chinese versions), and ‘Dream in a Dream,’ are all the “old” songs that I mentioned we had seen from NCT U. I wondered about this until I realized NCT U never had an album of their own. This is also why they’re reportedly promoting by themselves. Essentially, this is NCT U’s first album if you look at the artists attached to each song.
Next, we have ‘OUTRO: Vision’. This song makes me imagine gladiators on two sides of a war in an action movie. It’s like the fight scene when they start that slow run up until they crash into each other. It ends with a dramatic “I see, the vision,” and makes you wonder, what’s next?
The last song is ‘YESTODAY EXTENDED VERSION,’ and I like this version better than the original. The only difference is 40 extra seconds of Taeyong rapping that makes the song feel much more complete.
This album is beautiful, it can definitely be listened to for a long time to come. I would have loved to get to the lyrics but there was so much to talk about already.
How do you feel about the album as a whole? Make sure to catch the first half of this review here.