NCT 127, “The 2nd Album ‘NCT #127 Neo Zone’” (SM Entertainment/Capitol/Caroline)
NCT 127’s sophomore album has something for everyone. It’s a little bit sexy, a little bit warm, a little bit wild, a little bit of a hellion on the dancefloor, and a whole lot of unusual twists and swerves in the musical lines.
The 13-track record called “The 2nd Album ‘NCT #127 Neo Zone’” offers a K-pop buffet to the hungry listener, as the nine-member band tackles trap, rap, electronic dance and classic pop sounds on the new album. NCT 127, which stands for Neo Culture Technology, distinguishes itself from similar label mates at SM Entertainment with quirky choices on a chorus here and an interlude there.
“Elevator (127F)” kicks it all off with a seemingly classic poppy tune underscored by emotional violins and then subverts expectations with some ragtime piano. “Day Dream” has a seductive percussion that makes your heart flutter, while “MAD DOG” pairs dirty guitar playing with rhythmic clicking. “Love Me Now” has a classic pop vibe with an uplifting flute bringing up the tempo in the background and “Not Alone” has an ‘80s guitar riff with an underlying R&B beat.
“Dreams Come True” slowly gets one into the groove with smooth piano pop that goes jazzy with strings and trumpets. The album’s one ballad, “White Night,” is a piano powerhouse with an underwater beat effect for good measure.
It’s all danceable and enjoyable despite a rather oblique attempt to stand out by introducing classical instruments into a very modern beat.