As the genre of Kpop is slowly making its way to America, many groups are topping international music charts. NCT, which stands for “Neo Culture Technology”, has been kicking off the new year with lots of new music. NCT is a South Korean group formed by S.M. Entertainment in 2016. The group currently has 18 members, 3 of which were only recently added in January of this year. They are known mostly for their unique overall concept of being a group with an infinite amount of members all divided into subunits based in different cities around the world. The group is also widely diverse with 9 members coming from South Korea, 5 from China, 1 from the United States, 1 from Canada, 1 from Thailand, and 1 from Japan. The first subunit, “NCT U” made their debut in April of 2016 with 6 members (Taeyong, Jaehyun, Doyoung, Ten, Mark, and Taeil) and two digital singles “The 7th Sense” and “Without You”. Shortly after, the second subunit, based in Seoul, “NCT 127” debuted in July with their first mini album and 7 members (Taeyong, Jaehyun, Mark, Taeil, Yuta, Winwin, and Haechan). The final two members of NCT 127, Doyoung and Johnny, were added in January of the next year. The third and currently last unit to debut was “NCT DREAM” in August of 2016 with the single “Chewing Gum” and 7 members (Mark, Haechan, Jaemin, Jeno, Renjun, Chenle, and Jisung.) After the addition of three new members; Kun, Jungwoo, and Lucas, who were added to existing subunits respectively, the group is kicking off the NCT 2018 project.
The new album, titled ‘Empathy’, was released at 5:00 AM EST on March 14th. The album features songs from all subunits of NCT. Three of these songs had already been out to public beforehand with their own music videos, while the fourth was released around the same time as the album. NCT 2018 began with the single “BOSS” by NCT U on February 18th. The song is a bass-heavy dance song filled with both powerful vocals and charismatic raps with a chanting chorus that features lyrics about leadership written by members Mark and Taeyong. The second song of the total six was another under the unit NCT U. However, this song was simply a duet project between members Ten and Taeyong titled “Baby Don’t Stop” released on February 26th. The song is also a bass heavy tune with both vocals and raps from the two members. The third release to hit the public was a song titled “GO” performed by NCT DREAM and released on March 4th. The song tried out a whole new style for NCT DREAM as their previous tracks have played along with bubbly and lighthearted themes, while “GO” allowed them to grow up a bit and have a stronger sound. The song features another chanting chorus and conveys the spirit of teenagers just wanting to have fun. The fourth and final track separate from the album that was released on March 13th by NCT 127 is “TOUCH”. This song also tried out a new style for the unit as most of their songs have been more heavy and powerful, while “TOUCH” comes in with a joyful sounding chorus and vocals. To add to the change, this is accompanied by a music video with the perfect mixture between soft pastels and dark colors in both the sets and members’ wardrobes.
The full album consists of 14 items. With two new songs not released before the album titled “YESTODAY” and “Black on Black” and both an intro and outro, fans, also known as NCTzens, had much to listen to. Along with new NCT music, the album features 4 songs released in the previous years and before promotions of Empathy. “Timeless”, a ballad sung by the trio of members Doyoung, Jaehyun and Taeil, “The 7th Sense”, NCT U’s debut song, the original and Chinese versions of NCT U’s “Without You”, and “Dream In a Dream”, a solo project by member Ten.
This album is sure to bring success to the group and as many believe, a spike in their overall popularity seeing as within less than a day of its release, it hit No.1 on the iTunes music chart in 18 countries and on domestic music charts. According to the group’s company, the album had already made over 200,000 pre-orders by March 6th. They may not have ranked at No.1 everywhere, but the album did rank in the Top 10 of the iTunes charts in 26 countries proving the group as global artists.
Story by Krislynn Hawkins