[This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of allkpop.]
1. Make A Wish (Birthday Song)
4. Light Bulb
5. Dancing In The Rain
6. Interlude: Past to Present
7. Deja Vu
9. Music, Dance
10. Faded In My Last Song
11. From Home
12. From Home - Korean Version
13. Make A Wish (Birthday Song) - English Version
NCT U is back and literally bigger than ever. This now 23-member group has released the first part to their two-part studio album, Resonance Pt. 1. The explosive club single "Make A Wish (Birthday Song)" has lit up this week's releases and ultimately has been a stimulating and unique comeback. The song itself has an infectious bassline that really pulls the listener in, and for once, I'm happy with the title single selection with this NCT U album! Moreover, October 19 marks the release of the second single of this album, "From Home." The song boasts a multitude of different languages, presumably the native languages of the group's different multicultural members. The concept is so lovely and unique, and the addition of "From Home (Korean vers.)" indicates something for the domestic audience as well.
Just when I was worried about getting my Mark fix, the album quickly reassures me that I won't miss out on any prime Mark Lee time with "Misfit." The song is an homage to old cipher-style rapping like Run DMC or Beastie Boys and the nostalgic punch of the instrumental makes it clear. This song wasn't my favorite to listen to on my speakers at home, but I can definitely see it being a hugely popular song at a live show. Similarly, track 9, "Music, Dance" also gave me that feeling, particularly in the chorus's chanting. Track 3, "Volcano," gives me the classic NCT U club vibe that has weaseled their way into their signature sound as a group. Both track 4, "Light Bulb" and "Deja Vu," showcase the group's range and downtempo song abilities. In particular, Taeyong really stands out with poignant lyricism and flow on this track.
Track 5, "Dancing in the Rain," is NCT Dream's, which automatically gives way to a softer sound, which I had a few concerns about- but ultimately was surprised by. When I think of NCT U, I tend to think of intense comebacks with a lot of power, but this softer track was a nice overall listen. The song is jazz-inspired and has softer r&b sounds reminiscent of Jazzyfact or Urban Zakapa. The latter half of the album features NCT U's various subunits like WayV on "Nectar." As a Chinese speaker myself, I was super excited to hear all the multilingual inclusions on this album. A truly experimental endeavor by NCT U!
The album rounds out with another downtempo club song, "Faded In My Last Song," although the vocals are more ballad-like than anything. NCT U also gave international fans an English version of "Make A Wish (Birthday Song)" that will likely be featured in overseas live concert when it's finally safe to return to the live concert circuits. Overall, the album was enjoyable, diverse, and a good showcase of NCT U's overall abilities.
Though I'm not exactly sure what the video's concept was for "Make A Wish (Birthday Song)" (Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia...?), I have to say visually, SM never misses when it comes to appealing music videos. Of course, the group also has some devilishly handsome idols in it, so it's hard to find fault in the visuals in general. My one nitpick is the styling is a little discombobulated and disconnected - it seemed like thematically the element of choice was "rich" or "expensive," rather than any color or concept that connected them. As the MV's signature whistle hits, the choreography does too. The dancing is dynamic, and the comeback is solid overall.
MV Score: 8.3
Album Score: 8.3