NCT 127 – 'NCT #127 REGULATE'
1. City 127
2. Regular (Korean Ver.)
3. Replay (PM 01:27)
4. Welcome To My Playground
5. Knock On
6. No Longer
7. My Van
8. Interlude: Regular to Irregular
9. Simon Says
10. Come Back
11. Fly Away With Me
12. Chain (Korean Ver.)
13. Regular (English Ver.)
14. (Bonus Track) Run Back 2 U
NCT 127 has dropped their newest album, and it's a repackage of 'Regular-Irregular' titled 'Regulate.' If you've been a K-pop fan for a while you know how this works. Every track of the original is here, along with a handful of new songs. The new album features three new tracks: "Simon Says" which will be the title track, "Welcome to my Playground," and the Korean version of the Japanese single "Chain."
"Welcome to my Playground," is, for lack of a better word, a playful tune. It starts out light and stripped down, and the chorus is bold and loud. It's catchy as all get out, and if this doesn't have you out of your chair ready to move your feet, something's wrong with you. While there's not a whole lot to say about the song proper, I can say it's a lot of fun. Based on the press, I really wanted to like "Simon Says." That said I really can't endorse it. It's a mishmash of coolness mixed with some deep flaws. It's playful with pounding beats and excessive repetition. It's also loud and annoying, so it should be right up my alley. But I wasn't a fan of the sing-songy main verses or even the chorus. Whether it needed more or less of something I'll leave it up to my readers to suss out. Out of the three new ones, I think I liked the Korean version of "Chain" a lot more. The raps are sick, it's catchy, and is just a solidly quality song. If you know how the Japanese version sounds, then there won't be a lot of surprises here.
I don't know what went wrong here. I liked the original album and was able to slip into the comfortable rhythms of the original while I wrote this. It's almost like the new ones were B-sides, or maybe even hastily written. They do not stand up to the quality I consistently heard in this album. At least they kept to the structure, the concept of dreaming v wakefulness. But I was hoping for more.
"Simon Says" is the title track, so naturally it's the promotional MV as well.
In this MV we're treated to a bazaar of the bizarre. The boys are wearing masks of various types. Of course, they range from the strange to the familiar, always with some unique twist. A couple of them resemble naughty masks, which is a little weird all by itself. But regardless, there are things like furry gas masks and masks covered in tinsel, or the face obscured by a spiderweb pattern. It's a bit unsettling, despite the playful nature of the song.
Now, if I didn't like the song, I cannot fault the dancing. What it lacks in story it revels in the spectacle. Confident movements, limbs slice the air as the boys' dance and drop to the floor before rising again gracefully. There is nothing about those dance sequences that doesn't scream cool.
The environments they're in, leave something to be desired. There's some strange warped metal/electrical scorching thing going on on the walls behind them. To dress it up, they'll put different furniture in there and tint it bright red, but at the end of the day, it's still the same room. But I suspect I'm not supposed to pay attention to that.
So yeah, it's one of the better MVs of this half of the year. It's fun and cool and weird all at the same time. And that's what makes it so good.
MV SCORE: 9.0
ALBUM SCORE: 7.0