NCT DREAM – 'RELOAD'
1. Ridin’ *Title
2. Quiet Down
3. 7 Days
4. Love Again
5. Puzzle Piece
NCT Dream is back with their newest mini-album, 'Reload.' It's got 5 songs including the title track, "Ridin`." The EP has gone on to kill it, topping the iTunes Top Albums Charts in 49 countries around the globe, as well as the digital album sales chart of China’s QQ Music. The MV for the title track also topped QQ Music’s Korea music video chart.
Now, this album marks a change for the group. After promotional activities are done, they're dumping the graduation system. At that point, they'll be a 7 member group, including Mark. They'll be doing different concepts and they might share members with other units. But the seven of them will make up that core group.
I love how "Ridin`" opens, with a bold chorus and immediately launching into some sick raps. They chose a good, strong song to kick off the EP here. Apparently, fans thought so too -- the track hit #1 on Melon's real-time charts, a first for any NCT unit. They quiet things down a little bit with "Quiet Down." It's certainly less blatant than "Ridin`." But there are more raps in this song than the previous one, so they lost none of the attitude in this track. I like this a lot. On "7 Days," they really do quiet things down. As a direct counterpoint to the high-energy songs we've heard, this is soft pop through and through. This is when the boys show off their sensitive side, delivering smooth harmonies to soothe the soul.
"Love Again" seems to be several songs squished into one. There are some staccato chants, interspersed with singing and rapping. It transitions into soft pop as it progresses. And then later hits club banger territory. I really don't know how I feel about this chimera. "Puzzle Piece" is done to an acoustic guitar, and it gives you serious indie-folk vibes. At least, it did that to me. One of the things I like about this is that it seems like all the boys were given something to do, and their vocals on this song set them apart.
There are several high points on this album. One is "Puzzle Piece," which is quite well done for a soft indie-folk number. I also love the title track. This album was done with 6 members, and it's exciting to think about what might happen when they add a 7th. The songs are quite good. There's a reason this killed it on the charts.
The boys perform their hit in a neon-suffused section of the city. You can see the signs behind them and the graffiti. And the individual shots look like they take place on different sets.
Other than shots of them on motorcycles, there's not too much else going on here. We get the usual selection of fancy lights and strange-looking structures, and shots of the boys as they give their best come-hither looks to the camera.
They don't seem to linger on the dancing too long. I thought that was a little odd considering the fact that it didn't look that bad. It was somewhat standard, but still entirely enjoyable.
And while I could downgrade this for being unoriginal, I'm not going to. They dressed it up enough to be entertaining, which is largely the point. The song might have had something to do with it, but I'm not certain. Regardless, the reviewer's tilt allows me to give this a thumbs up.
MV SCORE: 8.0
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0