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Posted by eric_r_wirsing AKP STAFF Friday, March 16, 2018

[MV & Album Review] NCT – 'NCT 2018 Empathy'



Track List:

1. INTRO : Neo Got My Back
3. Baby Don`t Stop – NCT U
5. TOUCH – NCT 127
7. Black on Black – NCT 2018
8. Timeless – NCT U
9. The 7th Sense – NCT U
11. WITHOUT YOU (Chinese Ver.) – NCT U
12. Dream In A Dream – NCT U
14. YESTODAY (Extended Ver.) (Bonus Track) – NCT U

NCT has dropped their debut studio album 'NCT 2018 Empathy.' The new album features tracks by all the subunits including NCT U, NCT 127, and NCT Dream. Notably, Mark is the only member who performs with every subunit, though this particular album includes all 18 members. Nine of the songs on here are ones we heard before through previous releases while five tracks are new.

All of NCT gets in the game with "INTRO : Neo Got My Back." It's a weird track, mostly consisting of chanting "neo got my back, culture things,TECH TECH on my mind?" and a boatload of "nuh uh uhs." That's it. That's the whole song. Not crazy about this one. "BOSS" is the next one, by NCT U. This is a little better than the intro. There's still the repetitive chorus, but there's more melodic variety in this one. The whisper-heavy "Baby Don't Stop" is one I particularly like. The chorus is fun, the raps are awesome, and it's definitely playful. 

NCT Dream turns things up with "GO." Probably my favorite one so far, this one has some great hooks and that powerful chorus. It's got some nice time changes, and they've got me screaming "go!" "TOUCH" is okay, and has some things in common with album finishers. It's very cheerful and upbeat, but it really didn't grab me, the way that "YESTODAY" did. That song was mostly hip hop and I enjoyed the flow here. While I could have done without the chorus mostly, I was still glad to hear the rest of it. NCT 2018's "Black On Black" is an experimental hip-hop track. I like these kinds of songs because when they're good I am pumped. And I really like this one.

The rest of the tunes are by NCT U. "Timeless" is a ballad. It sounds a lot like almost every other ballad, even having the same structure: starts tender, gets more of a beat, an orchestra starts up, and the singer ends up hollering at the end. I was hoping for something a tad more original. "The 7th Sense" is a song I heard around two years ago and I still think that it's their best song. "WITHOUT U" is also one of my absolute favorites. It's more of a rock track and is a tune you can really groove to. The chorus sounds bold and loud, the way I like it. 

In some ways, "DREAM IN A DREAM" is structured more like an intro, with lots of instrumental parts and very few vocals. I like the piano in here, echoey, reminding one almost of raindrops. It is, however, longer than the vast majority of intros. "OUTRO : VISION" is a straightforward instrumental, and has kind of an epic sound, well, until the awkward English at the end: "I see...duh bizhon." More songs like "YESTODAY" are what we need, and "YESTODAY (Extended Ver.)" fills that bill nicely. I still think I would have stuck the outro after everything, but that could just be my OCD.  

So I liked about half the songs. Does that mean they'd be better off with a mini-album? Not necessarily. One of the things I like about this band is they are fairly original. There were next to no tracks that I could point to and say "sounds like Super Junior!" And that self-identity is important. The songs that I really liked...well, I really enjoyed them. When they do a good job, they're one of the best. And that's worth listening to, IMHO.   


Since the song is upbeat, it makes sense that the MV would be as well. Bright colors (including an occasional near-blinding white background); loud, brilliantly-hued shirts; and a lot of blue. Whether on blazers, blue jeans, or backgrounds, blue seemed to be the color they went for most.

And of course, there's no story, but there are some cute moments with shots that are loosely tied together. Like a red bouncy ball that soon turns into a room to sing in. And there's a room with fuzzy walls, and the members playing tug of war, members-only holding one end of the rope at a time).

The dancing isn't bad, but it's not as amazing as it could be. They do move around a bit, and crouch like gargoyles before rising again. It's not a club banger, so expecting the dancing to be more energetic might be hoping for too much. The choreo seemed decent overall, though.

It's watchable, but not amazing. I found it hard to take it seriously, and in all honesty, it looks like they spent more money on wardrobe than on sets. There were some parts where I was like what am I watching? Not terrible, but not great, either.  


MV Relevance...........8
MV Production..........9
MV Concept..............8

Album Production.....9
Album Concept.........8


  1. NCT
  2. NCT-2018-EMPATHY
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