NCT Dream - 'Chewing Gum' (single)
1. Chewing Gum
2. Chewing Gum (Chinese ver.)
NCT's third sub-unit NCT Dream made their big debut in K-Pop about a week ago with "Chewing Gum," and honestly, it's not a release that I can rave about. SM assigned this particular sub-unit with an age-appropriate concept that is bubbly (just like chewing gum!) and bursting with vibrant youth, one that will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy (or should I say happy?) on the inside.
Though the concept is appropriate for these young idols, their lackluster debut song left something to be desired. "Chewing Gum" sounds to be a very half-hearted debut effort from SM, especially considering that NCT is a group that the label has been hyping up since...oh I don't know...since the year began.
Perhaps SM didn't want to overwhelm fans with a song or concept that seemed unfitting for NCT Dream, such as the ones they delegated to NCT U or NCT 127. But SM's concept for NCT Dream is so watered down and generic that it's almost painful. Absolutely nothing stood out from the sub-unit's debut track. Nada. Nil. Zip. Zero. The vocals lose their raw authenticity, encased in the layers of auto-tune and other editing/mixing gimmicks. And the melody itself, jumping back and forth from minor to major in the verses and chorus, is mindlessly repetitive...not in a good way. I found myself getting tired of this repetitive sequence real fast and was waiting for the boys to go in a different direction, and they did...sort of. But it was just your usual rap breakdown near the end, a feature that has become indispensable in K-Pop tunes. Then the song jumps right back to the chorus, and I found myself groaning inwardly. It's a darn shame that the boys didn't really get the opportunity to let their vocal talent shine with a bungled mess of a track. If only they had gotten a song like "Replay"....
SM artists just love their analogies. EXO compare winning that special lady to winning the "Lotto," and now NCT Dream liken their crush to the sweet sensation they get from "Chewing Gum." It's cute and all, the emotions NCT Dream feel from a young, innocent love. But the MV had nothing to do with the feelings expressed in the lyrics. In fact, the MV kind of seems like it was put together in a rush; there is clearly lots of green screen action going on, and there is a cheap-looking set that is meant to imitate a boarding house. When I imagine a boarding house, I usually think of prim boys dressed up impeccably in starched uniforms, and the members are dressed that way...but the set just looks so shoddy, especially with those flimsy metal railing beds that give off a mental ward vibe rather than a boarding house vibe that boys from wealthy households attend. And where is the sweet, 'chewing gum' like girl that NCT Dream would like to get to know better...? She was nowhere to be seen in the MV, and all we get is lots of cheesy effects. *le sigh* This has to be SM's most disappointing release yet.
All in all, the song was vastly lacking, especially for a debut track, the MV's got nothing to do with the song and looked cheaply produced, and worst of all, NCT Dream ended up with the short end of the stick in this one. I can only hope that NCT Dream will blow us all away with a stellar track the next time around.