It’s still early days, but SM Entertainment’s NCT project is already one of the most interesting things to come out of an agency that’s famed for pushing the boundaries of K-pop.
Like John Carpenter’s The Thing, the ambitious multi-group boy band is able to take on the form of anything it wants through its various sub-units and seemingly endless supply of SM trainees, making NCT’s potential virtually limitless.
The shape-shifting group is currently presenting as a young and innocent NCT Dream. They’re a welcome addition to the SM roster, which hasn’t had a cutesy male act since SHINee were teenagers singing “Hello”.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that NCT Dream’s new single, “My First and Last”, dips into the early work of their trendy sunbaes. Co-produced by Ryan S. Jhun, an incredibly versatile hit-maker whose discography includes IOI, f(x), and yes, SHINee, “My First and Last” drops a quivering “Sherlock” bass with sugar sprinkled on top and one seriously lush chorus.
The lyrics, about a boy falling in love for the first time, are reminiscent of the innocent girl group hits that cast the young female idols as shy schoolgirls who become flustered when their crush walks by. Still, “My First and Last” is anything but cookie-cutter cute. The sophisticated production, with its electro influences and funk flourishes, is too beautiful to chalk the song down to just another cute K-pop comeback.
“My First and Last” is an improvement over the already solid “Chewing Gum”, just like NCT 127’s “Limitless” was even better than “Fire Truck”. NCT, now one year into their career, are continuing to grow and improve with every release. While they have yet to conquer the charts, it did take SM groups like EXO and f(x) around a year or so to really start making it big in the mainstream. With music this good, hopefully 2017 will be NCT’s year.
Check out our interview with the boys: