It’s sometimes funny to think that NCT started as one of the most ambitious projects in K-pop history. An ever expanding group that would be divided up into sub-units based on sound and performance? That’s an excellent and wholly unique idea! And one that really lived up to its promises during those first few years. But somewhere along the line, the difference between the subunits started to grow smaller and smaller to the point where there’s essential no distinction between the sub units. And while incredibly soundalike to their 127 peers, NCT DREAM’s newest single Glitch Mode is one of the more interesting additions to the ever expanding NCT discography.
I think it’s gotten to the point where I just have to accept that we’re never getting the bright, unabashed pop sound of classics like My First and Last or Fireflies from the boys again. And when the music is strong, that’s ok. But I really don’t think that trying to be 127 2.0 is the right fit for them. They’ve actually been supplying us with a stronger variant of that sound I’m convinced that a more melodic or novel approach would work wonders for them. And the moments where Glitch Mode breaks free from its shouty, “I’m so cool” bits is when it absolutely flourishes. From the two to three minute mark, Glitch Mode transforms from the usual NCT shout-athon into a thrilling throwback to the SM of Old, harnessing a gorgeous, anthemic rise before exploding into a goosebump inducing, TVXQ-esque crunchy guitar solo that, as the locals would say, *cough* ‘absolutely fucking slaps’.
Unfortunately, the rest of Glitch Mode is nothing but the same old, filled to the brim with grating synth loops and shouty delivery that just isn’t enticing enough to invite further listens. The chorus is especially guilty of this, filtering out all the production to give way to a droning chant that while uninspiring, at least feels somewhat hypnotic.It’s an unfortunate trend that SM continue to go with this incredibly noisy template and not really experiment with different sounds when it comes to NCT as a whole. Yes they are more ambitious production wise to most other groups but when your ‘ambition’ sounds the exact same as your past 5 – 6 songs, it starts to wear a little thin.
Final Rating: 8 / 10