The Lowdown: Within the practically three years that they’ve been energetic, NCT 127, a subgroup of Ok-pop supergroup NCT, has managed a powerful stage of structural dynamism, gaining a few waves of latest members and not too long ago semi-losing a well-liked member, Winwin, to fellow subgroup WayV. In a manner, this dynamism makes them an amazing consultant instance of NCT as a complete, which at present consists of 18 members and is incessantly accruing new ones. However NCT 127’s 2019 lineup goes sturdy with 9 members, and the We Are Superhuman mini album showcases every of them, utilizing each certainly one of its sparse 18 minutes to spotlight the abilities of the rappers, singers, dancers, and producers behind the album. It’s a glittering foray into one thing akin to discopop, with flashes of rap, lure, EDM, and R&B shining via alongside the best way.
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The Good: The construction of the album is a whirring feat of intelligence. Its opening and shutting tracks are intentionally stealthy — no instant explosions or bombastic last fanfares — however the high quality development on the heart of the album remains to be robust to overlook. “Freeway to Heaven” lifts the EP up onto a cirrus observe that begins steering the course of hovering melodies to come back, but it additionally makes use of its refrain deftly, descending a bit towards the top to steadiness itself out and subtly trace at a number of of the shadows that future tracks discover in additional element. Lead single “Superhuman” drops the beat in a few of the locations you least count on, and but it really works, ushering in a pattern of the sudden. “FOOL” and “Jet Lag” are each tactful, mid-tempo jams that fuse pop vocals with a gradual, funky beat, bringing the album’s exploratory method to style into the sunshine. The road on the finish of “Jet Lag” — “Say hello whenever you say goodnight/ Full circle” — gives the proper segue into “Paper Airplane”, which makes use of its echoing rotations across the similar chorus to loop and construct right into a scintillating conclusion that evokes a straightforward acceleration into warp velocity, stars streaking by.
“OUTRO: WE ARE 127” circles again to a reminder of what, at the least partially, the EP appears to have got down to show: it bursts with superhuman-sounding noises, from the machine-inspired and EDM-esque to one thing much more elemental, just like the sounds that may emanate from some mad scientist’s basement lab. The eerie outro is the experimental peak of an album that progressively reaches additional and additional into an intriguing and particular realm of electropop.
The Dangerous: The lyrics of “Freeway to Heaven” exult, “We limitless,” and to no excessive shock, this isn’t completely true. The album positive aspects a lot in the best way of texture and complexity from the locations the place battle and darkness peek via the veneer of superhuman perfection — nonetheless, generally it may be arduous what to make of this battle, on account of the truth that it snaps away so rapidly. As an illustration, the insecurity of “FOOL” (“You’re a goddess, however I’m a idiot”) gives a mandatory second of pressure, however it’s troublesome to learn it as a lead-up to “Jet Lag”, which with its repeated chorus, “We received one another,” emphasizes the significance of mutual energy and assist. A part of this can be as a result of mission’s size — the songs are compelled to energy via every second reasonably than letting them seep. Fortunately, the group is expert at absolutely creating every music inside itself. “OUTRO: WE ARE 127” brings any doable imbalance again round, suggesting an earned complexity and darkness that hopefully bodes apparently for his or her future releases.
The Verdict: We Are Superhuman sails all through. Even the music titles — “Freeway to Heaven”, “Jet Lag”, and “Paper Airplane” — evoke an aerial scope that lifts the listener up out of themselves and into a brand new, imaginary however thrilling story. The sub-group’s rappers significantly shine on this EP, on tracks like “Freeway to Heaven” and “Superhuman”. The emphasis falls on the “we” all through, with members discovering their energy in community-centric tracks like “Jet Lag”. We Are Superhuman may very well be entry level to NCT and NCT 127 for listeners who sometimes choose different genres like funk, rock and EDM, as a result of NCT 127 folds them seamlessly right here into the work that they’re already doing with catchy pop and pitch-perfect manufacturing worth. For followers already attentive to the group’s work, this newest mini album is an thrilling addition to an already spectacular and wide-ranging canon, experimenting with intriguing and seamless new kinds and curbing itself in need of any filler. As excessive as they get, they by no means fly too near the solar — not fairly.
Important Tracks: “Freeway to Heaven”, “Jet Lag”, and “Paper Airplane”