When NCT Dream announced that they would be returning with bright, throwback single titled Beatbox, I was over the moon. I had longed for the return of the bright, poppy sound that the sub-unit had debuted with and though last years Hello Future helped reignite some of that through its gorgeous, jubilant chorus, its harsher verses left a little to be desired. And though filled to the brim with a sense of bright freewheeling energy, Beatbox doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Opening with a few beatbox samples that are sprinkled throughout the course of the track, Beatbox wears its cheesy influences on its sleeve. An admirable if overtly cheesy choice that brings the necessary quirkiness to the track. I don’t really know if I vibe with it as much as I theoretically should but I love the commitment to concept. The verses are also fun, playing with rhythm and some neat percussive production that plays well into the more aloof delivery and performance given by the boys. It’s great to seem them open up and perform more freely again and really brings into focus how great they are when attached to more upbeat, buoyant material. The chorus is similarly buoyant, layering the groups vocals to create a bubbly centrepiece that remains enjoyable.

But this is where my issues with the track start to appear. Beatbox is fine in the same way so many other 2022 tracks have been. The hooks are fine but don’t really stick with you after each listen. I can see the hook turning into an ear worm sometime in the future but the entire track just lacks the kind of immediate impact that I was hoping. The entire track feels as though its kind of holding back, something that I feel like I’ve been saying about almost every single recent boy group track. It’s kind of a big ol eh. A track that I enjoy but just don’t see my self listening to more. A characteristic that’s unfortunately marred many of the NCT projects recent outings.

Verses: 8

Chorus: 7

Production: 8

Performance: 8

Final Rating: 7.75 / 10


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