Though they were always on my radar, 2019 was really the year when NCT 127 really forced me to take notice of them. Before the incredible one two punch of Superhuman and Highway To Heaven, I would have probably considered them to be my least favourite of the NCT units. But one phenomenal mini album later and they’ve quickly jumped the tiers to become one of my favourite groups right now. But rather than opt for a continuation of their hyper melodic 2019 sound, the group has returned to their experimental routes with new single Kick It (영웅). And it’s hella fun.
Kick It harkens back to K-pop’s anything goes style, combing a bombastic backing track with some of the most instantly quotable and head scratching and hilarious refrains in their entire discography. Although not my preferred style from the group, it undeniably fits them like a glove. NCT are one of the only groups that can reliably pull off trap laced instrumentals and Kick It is no different. It actually feels necessary to the whole aesthetic, further enhanced by additional layers of invigorating production. The grungy guitar riff that remains ever-present throughout the entire track is a brilliant production choice, imbuing the track with an added sense of grit. The hook chanted hook, although instantly memorable does come across as quite grating. It doesn’t completely work for me, but I can appreciate the energy.
My favourite moment of the track however is the absolute freakout of a bridge, which warps the instrumental in unexpected and exhilarating directions. Combine this with some incredibly well done vocal processing and an expertly placed dance breakdown, and you’ve got one of the strongest bridges of the year. It may not come close to either of the groups singles from last year, but it’s easily one of the most refreshing singles in a while. In fact I actually miss this kind of the top craziness within Kpop. And if there was any group to bring it back, it had to be NCT. I mean cmon, Bruce Lee as the songs hook? What more could you ask for?
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10