I’m back, I’m back.

I took a bit of a break from writing to do some reading and, more like, continuing education stuff related to blogging and content creation stuff.

Behind the scenes stuff to make the site and my writing better, basically.

I finally found a book on music theory 101 that I’m excited about. I’m hoping that will help increase my music vocabulary greatly.

But I’ve only read like a page of it so far, so in the meantime, we’re still mostly going on vibes, lmao.

For this article, I had to dig through ATK to find my NCT rant I made a few years back. I wanted to see if I felt the same way about NCT as a whole in 2023 as I did in 2020.

I think I still mostly agree with my feelings in that article. But with the recent news of Lucas finally and officially leaving NCT and WayV, I think we’ll get another album with all the NCT members again late this year, early next year. He’s still with SM, if you missed the news. Supposedly they’ve got solo projects planned for him.

Because, unfortunately, I think Taeil will be enlisting next year. If not this year, so it makes sense to crank out a huge group comeback before he’s enlisted and the other older NCT members start their military stuff too.

I think that’s why we’re finally getting an official Taeyong solo debut. I’m thinking SM is gonna want to get him enlisted soon too since he’s born in 1995, a year after Taeil.

Anyway, my feelings about being a casual Nctzen are the same. Musically, it got worse than “Kick It”. “Kick It”, I’m so sorry. If I knew about “Sticker” back then, I wouldn’t have been so hard on you at the time.

Although, I thought complaining about “Kick It” would prevent something like “Sticker”, but I guess not. I still don’t understand why they did this. Was it loss leader inspired but instead of flopping, it sold crazy numbers? Idk… But I do have a physical copy of Neo Zone.

So I bought a ticket to see NCT 127 on tour (Neo City – The Awards) and at the time they gave you a copy of Neo Zone, so that’s how I got my copy. I have the yellow version, they sent one at random.

Update: I found a picture I took when I received it along with my pulls.

This is also how I got my “free” SuperM album. SM was big on those bundles for a while. That tour ended up getting canceled unfortunately due to COVID-19, booo.

So Neo Zone, (what I’ll be referring to the album as. I never noticed how oddly titled their albums are until this series.) I think I have the same thoughts on it years later. Same with The Final Round (another shorten titled because I’m not typing or copy & pasting all that every time, lol).

So let’s find out!

Elevator (127f)

One of my favorite things about this era is the track videos for most? All? Of the songs on Neo Zone. “Elevator (127f)” in particular takes advantage of the concept with a cute, short music video.

I love the idea of the members in an elevator doing different things. Sometimes it’s solo scenes, others there are like five members in one elevator at the same time doing goofy stuff.

I love the color pallet for this video too. The brown and warm tone color choice for the setting and styling is perfect. Suits the vibe of the song so well.

Sound wise, we’ve got more R&B NCT back, so I’m here for it. I love this album so much and had it as my second favorite album of 2020 because it’s mostly back to the NCT 127 I fell in love with. House/dance tracks and R&B with some great rap moments from Mark, Taeyong, and Johnny.

Similar to WE ARE SUPERHUMAN, there are a boat load of people who worked on this album. You can see this full list here, but I’ll mention my fave producers and arrangement peeps as we talk track by track.

And also similar to WE ARE SUPERHUMAN, we mostly have SM in house writers, producers, etc on these tracks. But we do have some other familiar names.

I don’t know why I didn’t have “Elevator (127f)” saved on Spotify, because I like the song. I was wondering why I hadn’t heard it in so long.

I’m not sure if it was Spotify unliking songs or something weird on my end. But it’s saved and liked now.

Kick It

Alright, let’s get this freakin song out of the way. I’ve always been a fan of the visuals in this video. I hate the flow of the chorus. I like the “new thangs” part. And the Bruce Lee line. I think that’s about it, throw the rest of it away. It feels so jarring, and not in a good way.

The rest of the song is big slay. But I’m not sure how’d I fix it. I get it’s supposed to be like, “I got a boy” by Girls’ Generation. But it’s nowhere near as cohesive or catchy, for me.

But as I said earlier in the article, it’s really not that bad of a song or title track in hindsight. Just one I never listen to or think about, lol.

But maaaan they look sooo good in this music video. I love the Dojo setting and all the looks.

Surprisingly, to me, Dem Jointz are listed as one of the people/groups that worked on this track. I kinda hear it.

Boom

… I don’t remember this song, but I remember the video. “Boom” is fine. Another song I don’t have saved prior to working on this article. I’m glad I’m revisiting this whole album, because outside the main like seven songs from Neo Zone I played into the ground and back, I don’t remember some of these other songs.

I think “Boom” is, like, filler for lack of a better time. It doesn’t make me mad it’s on the album, but it doesn’t stand out enough for me to fight for its placement, either. Good background music for studying or cleaning I guess.

Seo Jieum and MZMC are some recognizable names who worked on this track. Still no NCT members listed yet.

Pandora’s Box

Oh yeaaahhh, now we’re getting to the good stuff. This music video is ight. Same with “Boom” a decent music video. I haven’t talked about this yet with the track videos, but they all feel like they end too soon. I guess that’s the point. To get you interested and excited for the full version to drop.

We finally got some NCT members in the credits! Taeyong, Johnny, and Mark are listed on this track, along with JQ (Makeumine Works) as peeps I recognize. Love to see it.

I think I listen to “Pandora’s Box” more than “Elevator (127f)” despite them having a similar vibe is the harmonies in the chorus. So addicting and sweet, like the cereal in the video.

Also, them just screenshoting a scene from these videos instead of the album art work for the full songs is a change I’m here for.

Day Dream

Day Dream” is another track I never listen to, but I like quite a bit. The vocaaals. I guess this is like the sister song to “Dreams Come True” (I can’t wait to talk about that one).

“Day Dream” feels like an epilogue or outro song for an album. Very chill. I should listen to it more.

Interlude: Neo Zone

Oh yeahhhhh, I forgot about the breaking the album up sound wise. Like with Regular-Irregular. That’s why “Day Dream” is like that, lol. Safe to say, I never listen to this one either, lol.

Mad Dog

awsderftgyui I forgot this is where the “jumping on my trauma, already wear pajamas” line is from. Who else is out here with pen game like Mr. TY Track 🤣. I can’t. This video starts off so serious, then man comes in with that line and derails the whole thing.

The horn is also what the Clock and Bird App girls what call, unserious.

So we have another song I never listen to, for one, and two a unit song. Taeil, Taeyong, Mark, and Doyoung. “Baby Don’t Like It” mini reunion here, minus Haechan.

Taeyong, Mark and Hitchhiker are on listed in the credits. When I heard that horn, I knew it was a Hitchhiker song, because all his shit has weird instrumentals. It works sometimes, polarizing always.

I would not recommend this song to someone new to NCT 127 or NCT. I feel like you gotta ease people in before throwing them into the deep end of the pool.

Idk, this song isn’t one a listen to a lot, but I can’t say I hated listening to it after a few years gone by. It reminds me of that LeBron James 2 Chains meme about trash music. There’s so much going on, but I can’t look away.

Sit Down!

I foooking loooove this song. This is more of my speed. Not a day goes by when I hear someone say sit down in regular convo and not have “zip it, lock down, sit down!” run through my mind instantly.

Or the “I smell some jealously (I smell some jealously)” line and that specific delivery. Takes me out every time.

I’m more of a fan of the track video this time around, too. Not that “Mad Dog” had a bad video. It’s just hard to take seriously after Taeyong’s introduction.

Wait! I forgot about Johnny’s part:

Don’t get up, don’t stand up

Please don’t put your hand up

And don’t make me tell you again

Sit down

Iconic.

“Sit Down!” still slaps and gets me hyped years later. They did what they had to on this track.

Love Me Now

My favorite song from Neo Zone. It’s a perfect mix of “Another World”, “0 Mile”, and “City 127”. It makes so much since for this and “Love Song” to be my top two songs from this album. Too predicable at this point, I think.

We know I love a good deep house/midtempo track like this. Just dancey enough to get you swaying in your seat, but not enough to break a sweat dancing to it.

The music video for “Love Me Now” also feels a bit nostalgic. Like something, they would have filmed around the same time as “Switch” and “Limitless” (the other version, not the performance one).

So, something I noticed while working on this article is that Wikipedia has the literal translation of the Korean title, Echo. Not them keeping the Greek mythology trend going with “Love Me Now” aesrdthfyguhij. I can’t. Big brain energy right here.

Love Song

I remember knowing I was going to be completely obsessed with “Love Song” from the first three seconds of hearing the song in this track video. This was the song I was most excited to hear the full version of.

So it’s hard to call it my second favorite song. Because it really ties with “Love Me Now”, but because Spotify doesn’t show how many times you’ve listened to a specific song, I don’t have actual proof I’ve listened to “Love Me Now” slightly more, by like one or two listens. But my heart and the universe know, lol.

I love the Bruno Mars “That’s what I like“, BTOB “Rock N Hip Hop” -esque instrumentals.

The way this video was filmed is something that always stuck with me about this video. And the yellow. SO much yellow. I love the angles and scenes with the members.

Reading some of the comments talking about Haechan and Taeil’s vocals together. Come on SM, give us the subunit and solo albums of these two!!

So of course of the iconic song, we got icons writing, arranging, and producing on this track. Johnny, Taeyong, and Mark are the NCT members credited. But we also have Seo Jieum back with the lyrics.

We also have The Stereotypes (a beloved), Bianca Atterberry (who I’ll be seeing again when I talk about EXO in a few weeks. She has an interesting catalog of projects she’s worked on.), and Deez, who I’m pretty sure is missing a tooon of credits on Discogs.

“Love Song” takes 127 back to their R&B roots, and I know that’s why I have so much love for it. Bianca Atterberry having a ton of R&B artist who she’s worked with makes complete sense to have her on a track like this.

Again, I saw the literal translation of the Korean title, Umbrella. The chorus starts with pi (rain) so umbrella as the title, or rather the translation of the Hangul used, ties it all together.

White Night

I have this song saved on Spotify, but I never listen to it. I love me a good NCT boring ballad. But I gotta be in the mood for it. And admittedly, I forgot about “White Night“. It deserves better. Soooooo good.

We got another black and white (greyscale) video from NCT 127. Love to see it.

JQ (Makeumine) is back as one of the writers on this track.

Not Alone

I’ve also forgotten about “Not Alone“, but I enjoy it. Like “Boom” it isn’t something I’m rushing to listen to regularly now. But I remembered it instantly upon hearing it again.

I’m a huge fan of these computer/internet themed music videos. The filter is a bit weird. “Love Me Now” has that too. But I don’t think it’s too distracting.

Yeah, a tune.

Next.

Dreams Come True

The SHINee “1 of 1” teaaaaass. My favorite track video of the bunch. They took the literal route of having a 90s music video for a song that’s pure 90s energy. When I saw LDN Noise listed on this song, I was floored. The way I love almost every song they touch. Absolutely ridiculous.

A bunch of January 8th/lalala Studio peeps are on this track, too. Idk, it’s just a solid ode to old school R&B.

If you watch some of SM’s music videos from the 90s, they pretty much look just like this, minus some of the more modern hairstyles and hats.

Dreams Come True” was the first song released from Neo Zone as a prerelease and gift to the fans. It was originally released on 127 day (January 27th).

Alright, on to the repackage tracks!

Punch

My first reaction when I clicked on this video was,” I don’t think I remember this song. I don’t think I’ve even seen this music video.” Then, about 30 seconds in, I paused the video. I don’t really want to finish it, lmao.

I skipped around and finally gave up listening to it. Kensie, Dem Jointz… what happened?

This song is also somehow worse than “Kick It”. And I think I listened to the repackaged songs on Spotify when they released and called it a day. Let’s go to the goat, “Nonstop”. She was robbed.

Nonstop

Why wasn’t this the lead single from the repackage album? Why do they hate us, or rather hate me in particular, lmaooo. Why can we neeeever have nice shit in Kpop.

I will never not be salty about the missed opportunity here with “Nonstop“. The music video they have for it isn’t that special either.

I’m realizing this was definitely me in my post Nctzen era. I remember starting to drop off hard at this point. Which was why I hadn’t seen some of these videos. I would check to see if there was an album on Spotify, speed run through the songs I didn’t like, save the ones I did, and moved on.

Kensie redeemed herself with this track, but also LDN Noise is on here, and as we’ve seen time and time again, they kinda can’t do wrong in my eyes, or rather ears, lol.

Make Your Day

I don’t remember this song really either. Upon checking with my save NCT 127 songs on Spotify, yeah I don’t have this song saved either, just “Nonstop”. “Make Your Day” is a nice boring ballad, we know if there’s one thing about NCT 127’s vocal line, they can sang.

It’s a slower paced song, the closest comparison to another song in NCT’s library is “Timeless”. So highly recommend if you love songs like that.

Prelude

Wait… this transition tho 👀 I’ve been dragging “Kick It” but this prelude slaaaaps. So the song list is slightly different for the repackage album. The order I went in reviewing Neo Zone is the same order they appear on that album.

For The Final Round, “Elevator (127f) got moved to the last song on the album, “Punch” first then “Nonstop”, then “Prelude” then we jump into “Kick It”. I love this set up. At first, I wasn’t too sure about it.

The only thing I don’t love about the change in flow with the song order is the placement of “Make Your Day”. I think that should have been before “Interlude: Neo Zone”. Other than that, slay. Minus me, not really caring for “Punch” but they gave the girlies who loved “Kick It” a part 2, so they won.

Alright! Finally, covered Neo Zone and The Final Round. Loooong overdue. I hope y’all enjoyed this article. We have one more left in this NCT 127 throwback series, My Other Fave NCT 127 Songs.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for updates!

Take care!

Ash🥊

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