As most of you know, SM has been doing a lot with NCT recently, particularly promoting this “NCT 2018” concept, which combines the 15 members who we previously knew before and adding 3 new members in the mix. The company announced that NCT would make their comeback with 6 music videos spanning from late February to March, when the full album drops. Personally, I’m a huge NCTzen and have been feeling the NCT drought since the year began, just anxiously waiting for SM to drop even the slightest hint of new music. So, I will happily welcome these 6 new videos with open arms.
The first unit to come back is none other than NCT U, the first NCT unit to debut back in 2016 and the one we’ve been waiting for ever since they left us hanging after “The 7th Sense” and “Without U.” The first lineup in 2016 consisted of Taeyong, Ten, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Mark, and Taeil. But, with the release of the first song from NCT’s 2018 project, “Boss”, Ten and Taeil have been removed and WinWin, Lucas, and Jungwoo are now included. It gets a little confusing, especially for newer fans, but this is SM’s way of combining different members for specific concepts that will result in endless possibilities.
Like I just mentioned, “Boss” was released last week and just days later, they started teasing for the second music video called “Baby Don’t Stop”—a duet between Taeyong and Ten –which came out today. Besides the fact that one features seven members while the other only features two, both songs are very different musically and conceptually. I’m going to talk a little about each song and then compare them.
“Boss” is very hip-hop oriented, like previous NCT tracks with the focus on its rap line. However, I feel like “Boss” incorporates the vocal line even more than the last releases, especially when I checked out the line distribution and discovered that Doyoung had a bit more singing time than Taeyong and Mark had raps. Not only that, but the harmonies, adlibs and high notes from the rest of the vocalists are what takes the song to new heights. I really love the hard-hitting bass that drives the song and keeps it moving forward, even through all the sudden transitions. The newest additions to NCT, Jungwoo and Lucas, fit this concept so perfectly with Lucas surprising everyone with his deep rap and Jungwoo pulling heart strings with his honey-like vocals. It’s easy to see how well they get along with the veterans of the group, which creates an even better dynamic when watching them perform full out.
Lyrically and conceptually, the song and music video describe the tension between two “gangs”, the younger members vs. the older members, and how each of them is in competition to be the one and only boss. The choreography also represents that with each move exuding aggression, edginess, and power. But, towards the end of the video, the group realizes that instead of walking seven different paths, they all need to come together and act as a team to truly thrive and reach their fullest potential. A theme that is all too familiar to the true meaning of NCT.
On the other hand, “Baby Don’t Stop” is purposefully a performance and dance driven track made for the two main dancers of NCT U. We haven’t seen or heard much from Ten since his SM solo, “Dream in a Dream” in 2017, so the anticipation for his comeback has been through the roof. I think it was smart of SM to pair him with Taeyong, since they’re both incredibly sharp dancers and have the best stage presence and charisma to bounce off each other. The heavy synths in the song are so addictive, coupled with the sultry whispers of “baby don’t stop” from Taeyong, are enough to fulfill every NCTzen’s dreams. I feel like I haven’t heard Ten sing like this in a long time, or ever. Maybe because this is the first time he’s been given the spotlight to showcase his vocal abilities just as much as his dance skills.
Speaking of dancing, there’s something so satisfying about a music video that focuses more on the choreography than anything else. Even though “Boss” did show a lot of choreography, there were also storyline and solo shots that would cut away from the dance every now and then, which is understandable due to the meaning behind the song. For “Baby Don’t Stop”, the video is more simplistic with the camera following both members in an empty auditorium and other areas around the set as they pull off some of the smoothest dance moves. There were also many scenes where Ten reminded me so much of Taemin, specifically from his “Move” video and that in and of itself hit me hard in the feelings.
After watching and listening to both new songs so far, is there one that you prefer over the other? Or are they both just so different that you can’t really compare? I can relate to the latter—they’re both amazing individually and are perfect examples of how versatile NCT can be.
Comment, like, and share this post with any thoughts you may have on these two comebacks!