TVXQ, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, EXO, Red Velvet and now with Neo Culture Technology aka NCT. Huh, SM fully knows how to hook me and claw its way in to my ears – and heart.
I’ve been gone from the Korean pop music scene for several years and it was just last year when I started getting reacquainted with it. Big changes and tons of new groups welcomed me back. Like, BlackPink. Weirdly enough my curiosity and excitement spiked when YG Entertainment started dropping teasers for their debut. So when their D-Day came, I found myself streaming the debut showcase, watching the two M/Vs that they released and instantly became a fan. The power and edge that they are channeling through their music and image are definitely not the common ones we get from girl groups. In which makes them stand out more. I told myself that I would just stick with them and nothing more.
But EXO, who has been trying to catch my attention for the most part of 2016, strikes once again.
EXO members Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin (now EXO-CBX) participated in the original soundtrack of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo with the song “For You” which immediately made me fall for their voices. ChenBaekXi’s voices and Chanyeol (whom I encountered through his Chinese movie, So I Married an Anti-Fan) became the nth straw.
I caved in.
EXO stood out from the all the boy groups, hauled my lazy behind and roused my dormant heart. For a month or two, I poured my attention into everything EXO. I learned about the ins and outs concerning them and their fandom. Almost five years to catch up? I breezed through it because I had fun getting to know about their members, the glorious (and miserable) events that transpired, the inside jokes and basically everything that I must know. At first, I was hesitant if I’m going to do the entire fandom thing because ain’t I too old for that? But with them it was truly impossible not to. There are a lot of things happening to EXO and I felt the ultimate need to communicate with my fellow EXO-LS. They’re the ones who’ll be able to understand me and what I’m feeling. Read some of the blog posts that I’ve written about EXO here.
With being exposed to Korean music daily, I little by little started opening up myself for more, encountered other groups, started listening to them and appreciating their craft. Just like AKMU, Seventeen, GOT7, K.A.R.D and more. Even solo artists.
I’m knowledgeable of NCT’s existence. They’ve been on my radar since I’ve attached myself to EXO and with how today’s fandom power work, you cannot just miss NCT. They performed during the year-end award shows and won some rookie awards too. In which I’ve seen some cute interactions that they had with EXO. I adore their sunbae-hoobae relationship because I can feel the love and respect that they have for each other. The only reason why I had a hard time convincing myself to 100% check NCT out is because I’m thoroughly overwhelmed by them. With the SM Rookies thing, their sub-units and the unknown definite number of members – I feel like I won’t be able to take everything in.
So how did NCT convinced me to check them out? During an uneventful night in the Aeriverse, I stumbled across NCT 127’s 2x faster version of Limitless from their Weekly Idol guesting and guess who was highly impressed by their moves? Me! Despite the gasps heard due to the difficulty of the task, Taeyong’s hat getting thrown off in the process and Yuta’s shoes not in its perfect state by the end – their entire performance was daebak. The dance routine for Limitless which consists of too many formations, hand movements and footwork is truly no joke. So seeing NCT execute it twice the original speed was just wow. Three weeks have passed since I first watched that video and I’m still awestruck every time I play it.
“Am I going to dig a bit deeper about them? Am I going to check their songs? Am I going to check more of their videos?” were the questions swirling in my mind after watching that particular video. With nothing to do that night and sleep still evading me, I decided to go through their Wikipedia page and read articles on what’s the deal with them being called Neo Culture Technology. With every bit of information that I’m absorbing, I’m getting more and more curious. The next thing I know I was checking their filmography section. Based on how I dealt with EXO, variety shows and Youtube videos helped me a lot in remembering their corresponding names, faces, voices and personalities and so I decided to watch the first season of NCT Life. In NCT Life in Bangkok, I was introduced to Taeyong, Jaehyun, Ten, Doyoung and Johnny and instantly got attached to them. They were so funny, entertaining and interesting to watch. I was also able to grasp how their dynamics with each other and as team works.
I spent the following days listening to their songs, doing a marathon for the rest of NCT Life and watching Youtube videos – live performances, guestings, MR removed and whatnots. I’m sure there are still videos that I haven’t watched but I’ll get to it once I have free time. But from what I’ve seen so far (a group composed of determined individuals with unique vocals, impeccable dancing skills, a strong sense for variety and great visuals), it was enough for me to jump and stan them.
“Who’s my bias?”, fellow NCT stans asked me. Well, I don’t know yet but my thoughts tend to linger towards Taeyong, Doyoung, Jaehyun and Winwin. So if I’ll have to declare one, he’s probably among those four. What drawn me to them? Taeyong’s dance and rapping skills – he’s always on fire. Doyoung’s vocals (This part in Without You which he sang, “naega dasi saragal / yonggineun neonikka / eokkaereul naejumyeo / gonggamhal neonikka mideulge”, makes me so emotional every time I hear it.). Jaehyun’s vocals, as well. Winwin’s dancing skills and his little brother vibe.
To be honest, the genres that most of their songs fit into are the ones that I rarely listen to. But they did something here that appealed to me. Especially with Limitless, 2nd mini album, of NCT 127. Back when Limitless M/V was released, I was weirded out by it. But as I repeatedly listened to Limitless and their other songs, I’ve come to realize that each consists of beats that are actually general public friendly. You can also detect some Western influence. With that being said, I do think even non-Kpop fans will enjoy listening to it. It’s also hard to be still whenever their songs come up because there’s a tendency that you would be drawn to dance. Their songs just makes you want to stop what you’re doing, stand up and move to its beat.
What’s my favorite song/s from their albums? Okay, I’ll list down my most played NCT songs. Note: I listen to all of their songs daily but these are the ones that I often repeatedly play. So if you want to give NCT a try, do listen to the following:
- The entire Limitless album (Limitless, Back 2 U, Baby Don’t Like It, Heartbreaker and Angel) – Limitless smoothly flows from one song to another and it’s as solid as one album could get.
- Without You by NCT U (Vocal Line) – I’m emo, that’s it.
- Firetruck and Paradise from NCT #127 album
- Taste the Feeling by NCT 127 for SM Station
- My First and Last Love by NCT Dream
This is just the beginning.
NCT still has a very long way to go with huge room to enhance and perfect their craft. I know that with hard work these boys are going to make it big in the industry and I’m very excited to be part of every bit of it. Also, there are a lot of things to look forward to concerning them. The wins these boys could get in music shows, the comebacks, the sub-units, possible new members, concerts, what our fandom name, fandom color, light stick design will be like and more. And please, SM just include Ten in NCT 127 so that he can also participate in various festivals and promotions.
How about you? What are you excited for when it comes NCT?
Note: If you have anything to suggest, like a video to watch, please do drop links down the comment section or tweet me @fandomlybookish. Help me out in getting to know more about these guys.