Wait, I forgot the bad hair continued into Limitless era. I noticed everyone who did a review on their site has this same featured image.
It really is the best option available, lol. Well, Johnny looked good. Great, actually. I loved this bob hair on him so much. I feel like they went with these hair choices to look more “Hip Hop”. Instead of just giving them hairstyles and colors that enhance their visuals.
So, minus the bad hair and okay clothing choices, this is still one of my favorite eras. Maybe my favorite 127 albums from start to finish. This album has no skips and starts off with a banger, “Limitless”.
This was the first NCT 127 album I bought the physical album for. I remember being so excited about how unique the packaging is for it. You get sooo many cool stickers and extras included with it. It is a bit of a pain to have in my album collection because of is odd shape.
Similar to my MONSTA X Shine Forever repackage album (here’s a YouTube unboxing video, I have the one on the left), the con of having such a unique album is that when you go to place it with regular albums (with photo books and hard covers) they don’t stand on their own. So it’s best to have them in a row in your shelf that’s pretty packed, so they stay in place.
And yeah, if I loved the clothes and other styling, I’d probably look at this album more, lol. But I mostly got it because I try to get my favorite albums in physical form. One of my goals this year, and I guess onwards, is to collect physical copies of my favorite older albums that may or may not be in print anymore. Especially for the smaller groups and soloists I love.
It’s so strange to me that even SM doesn’t continue production of albums that are like 5 years old. When I went to by my copy of CHASE, I thought I might get lucky and find some other SHINee albums at my Kpop store. But that was all they had.
Granted, this location is smaller than my other Kpop store that I go to, but they had IN2IT’s Snapshot album, so it wasn’t that far off to think they’d have a larger SHINee section. But yeah, I’m probably gonna end up buying Odd for like $70 because I didn’t buy it right at release a few years back 😵💫.
Anyway, back to NCT 127. Let’s get into the album!
I don’t know if I can articulate how much of a game changer and a breath of fresh air this song felt at the time of release. It still very much slaps today, but to get such a beautify crafted R&B title track like that? They had us spoiled, well minus the hair. I’m never not going to complain about the hair this era, f*** SM for that, lmao.
This song is the direct reason for my love of R&B NCT 127. If you’re not going to use Taeil, Haechan, Doyoung, and Jaehyun for boring ballads, they need to be making music like this. Period. This album is a mix of R&B, Hip Hop, and Electropop (according to Wiki, lol). The Hip Hop and R&B is obvious to me. But Electropop? Okay I guess.
Oh yeah, so in my other articles, I’ve talked about 127’s lineup status at the time of that release. Now, as of writing, the lineup has stayed the same with Taeyong, Mark, Taeil, Johnny, Yuta, Doyoung, Haechan, Jaehyun, and Jungwoo who was the last member added in 2018.
WinWin was a 127 member for a while but once WayV debuted, he was moved over there with his last 127 appearance being in 2018 during Regular-Irregular era. Fun fact, the NCT 127 Wiki still has him listed as a 127 member, but he’s listed as inactive in the chart they have for a timeline of the members. Cool chart. I love stuff like that.
I wanted to get that out of the way for people confused to why WinWin is here and Jungwoo isn’t. It’s because this album released about a year before Jungwoo would officially debut.
So if you read the last NCT article I wrote, we started off with seven, and now we have nine members with Doyoung and Johnny joining the group. Doyoung was previously in NCT U with the God tier song “The 7th Sense” and…
“Without You”. Idk why I forgot that song, lol. It’s good, but I never listen to it.
Sidenote, the way that was the only song with Kun (the chinese version) for the loooongest freaking time. Ridiculous. We thought they straight up forgot that man was signed to SM after they filmed that NCT Life with him and WinWin.
Yeah, Doyoung’s addition to the group was long awaited, I think. I complain about just everyone’s hair this era except for Johnny’s, and well Jaehyun’s when they didn’t give him that sad attempt at dreads. But Doyoung’s orange hair looked good on him. I was here for it.
We first see Johnny back in NCT Life in Bangkok, technically. But for me when it comes to NCT Life, it was Chang Mai, probably my third favorite NCT Life, after the second time they had one in Seoul with the new members at the time. The Hot & Young Seoul Trip season.
And of course, Osaka is the best one. I guess if you’re new to NCT, the NCT Life series does a great job of showing you different members and them interacting with each other. I think the only one that doesn’t age the best is Bangkok, because Hansol is there, and he’s the only one who never debuted in the group. If you look up the season you’re interested in on YouTube, I’m sure you’ll find it.
Yeah, I think Johnny’s debut in 127 was really the first time seeing him and learning about him as an NCT member. This was the start of my descent into being a Johnny girl for like two year straight, lol.
So we got two new members, a slightly different sound from #127, get into the song and the music videos.
The first video, I included, is the performance version of “Limitless” that’s the main one everyone knows. I love a good performance music video. There’s also another video that’s more of a music video. I think this was where most of the other concept pictures were taken.
I love these retro, homemade VCR style videos. Them just hanging out in this abandoned building and with better hairstyles, they knew what they were doing with this one.
I just have soooo much love for this song. It’s one of those songs that still sound good years later. No matter how long it’s been since you last heard it, it manages to sound new, refreshing, and classic all at once.
Oh man, “Good Thing”. I’m going to be so repetitive, but I love this song. It’s fun. I love the horns and the instrumentals on this track. One of the first things I think about with “Limitless” is the vocals and the chorus. With “Good Thing” it’s mostly the English lines, like Taeyong’s “Give me what you got because you know that I can take it.”
Then it is immediately followed up with Mark’s, “Step up if you can keep up, keep up with me.” Their flow and delivery of these lines send me every time. It’s a dance track. You can’t listen to 30 seconds of this song and not dance to it.
I haven’t had this song pop up on shuffle/Spotify in forever. Gotta change my ways.
Back 2 U (AM 01:27)
Awwww shiiiiiiit, we got a classic with this one right here. I gotta get into the geniuses that crafted this song. They need a standing ovation. Also, I think looking at who worked on this song explains exactly why I love this song so much and why it works so well.
They put The Stereotypes, Bumzu, and the January 8th/Jam Factory peeps all on the same track? That’s like Marvel Avenger level shit. Legend after legend after legend.
“Back 2 U” is one of those songs that starts with a thing and ends with a thing that brings it full circle. We get the sound of someone picking up a phone and it’s ringing. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, “Back 2 U” is a breakup song. And every detailed needed to tell this story effectively is here.
So you get the intro with Doyoung and Mark, the phone, and then the story begins with our first verse. The “I’m not going back, back, back, back, back” and “I ain’t running back to you” in the chorus is catchy af. Even without knowing Korean, you get the vibe and can dance and sing along to the parts you know.
There’s so much about the structure of this song I love, but my favorite, favorite line and deliver is the,”다시는 날 찾지 마 (Don’t look for me again, yeah)” that interrupts the final run of the chorus. Also, Taeil’s high note in the background while all this stuff is going on, I can’t forget to mention that part too. Ahhh so goood 😮💨.
Then Jaehyun’s outro where he’s like the phone is ringing, but I’m just gonna roll over and go back to sleep. And the phone clicks, and you hear the dial tone, ICONIC!!!
They gave us a whole ass drama in the span of about three minutes. I can’t praise this song enough.
The screaming and hype continues into “Heartbreaker”. I’m not sure why this was slightly difficult to find. This used to pop up as like one of the top videos when you search NCT 127 “Heartbreaker”. Weird. Sidenote, Mark’s hair finally is starting to look decent. His cotton candy hair was hard to take seriously. I meant to say that earlier, but I got distracted, lol.
I love Kpop self cam videos so much. I love when groups just showcase their goofiness like this. It’s the content, I’m here for.
I remember when I got the physical copy of this album, and I played it in the car, my mom was like, “this is about you.” I laughed so hard. So according to my mom, this is my song, lmao.
I’m not sure if power ballad is the appropriate description for this song. Because it’s midtempo for sure. But this is totally one of those in my feelings songs you can vibe to. Another song that hasn’t popped up in a while, and I hate that for me.
Baby Don’t Like It
You can listen to the studio version here, but I’d be doing y’all a disservice by not sharing this version of them on the jungle gym. Or whatever this thing is, lol.
This is one of those songs that every NCTzen (casual or stan) knows and references. If you were a Kpoppie at the time, whether you want to or not, you likely know this song. Mostly for Taeyong being redacted on main, the first time. There’s something about the “woop woop” after Taeyong’s rap that still cracks me up.
If you missed this era, and are wondering what NCT 127 songs do I need to listen to? This one. This one for sureeeee.
This right here had everyone shooook. It’s kinda one of those you had to be there moments, but also the song does slap. I have to include Paul Brian Thompson/MZMC playing the demo with Taeyong’s part they ended up changing, for obvious reasons, lol.
SM let TY Track say the f word.
I used to have the Tweet saved, but I knew I needed a copy of this video for my own future references. I’m glad I did because my phone says this was in 2018. And with Twitter falling apart more and more daily, you may be able to find it with full context, but I’m not that devoted to the cause like that, lol.
Anyway, going back to the song, we get another story song. Mostly, with Mark and Taeyong having the largest parts. Then Doyoung, Taeil, and Haechan singing the chorus and other vocals. Man I miss these like intro/outro songs 127 would do. We kinda get that again during Regular-Irregular. But yeah, I love small details like that. They make the music more memorable, I think.
We already talked about MZMC’s involvement in this song, and we know Taeyong and Mark also participated during the creation process. We also have G.Soul, Jamil “Digi” Chammas, Jeremy “Tay” Jasper, Jonathan “Perky Rain” Perkins, and Orange Factory Music.
Something I just noticed while writing is that Mark also participated in the music section of “Baby Don’t Like It”. If I find out, he suggested the bed squeaks… I can’t, next song. Lmaoooo.
The placement of this song is kinda funny in hindsight, considering what the previous song was. But I love it. One of the few slower paced (it’s not really that slow) NCT songs I have so much love for. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, but it’s difficult to skip when it shows up.
I think when I saw them in 2019, they performed this song.
They did. I remember being shocked that they played it and people swaying back and forth. Good times.
Taeyong, Mark, Kevin Oppa (mr. cho), and Cheongdam-dong Park Geon-woo worked on this track.
I feel like there’s some additional things I’m forgetting to add about this era. But I’ve already gushed enough about this album for the day. * Taeyong voice* I love it, love it, love it
love it, love it too. Yeah, that’s the best way I can sum up my thoughts for this album. I remember wanting a part two to this album.
But Cherry Bomb was a nice change and gave us more dance/house tracks. So I’m grateful for her. I think I’ve said this before, but when it comes to NCT 127, my favorite songs of theirs are the ones that lean towards R&B and house/pop.
Those are the sounds I associate most with them because of Cherry Bomb (the song being more Hip Hop heavy but also the album having more house elements to it) and the R&B heavy Limitless.
These albums set the course for where I wanted to see NCT 127 continue their music direction in. And yeah, they’ve mostly stayed to that, with a few strays along the way.
You can buy Limitless with my Amazon link ⬇️