Music Review

REVIEW: NCT 127 – Regular-Irregular & Regulate

This wasn’t what I was planning the first review/faves article of 2023 to be. I was actually planning on it being either fave Monsta X songs or fave SF9 songs.

But while working out, I had a few NCT 127 Regular-Irregular songs pop up on shuffle. Well, and “Highway To Heaven” keeps poping up. I think I’ll have to do a WE ARE SUPERHUMAN album review later. *adds to article ideas list*.

Anyway, my struggle between who to write about next was solved. I gotta talk about how good “Regular” era was and how slept on this album is. The styling, concept, the music, choregraphy.

Literally the last time Winwin was in 127 before he became a full time WayV member, and Jungwoo’s addition. Soooo much happening all at once. I’m realizing I need to also talk about NCT 2018 EMPATHY at some point on here too, omg. *also adds to idea list*

It’s fine. I’ve worked backwards on here before, lmao. I just get so excited and rarely write in chronological order when it comes to groups or soloist, I want to cover. I also forget who I have and haven’t shared my thoughts on in full detail on here.

Because I’m so active on Tumblr and Twitter (off and on since like 2009) a lot of my Kpop journey is cataloged elsewhere.

I had to look again on here and see which NCT 127 albums I have done a full review on, and so far, as of writing, CHERRY BOMB is the only 127 article I have. Sooo I’ve got some catch up to do.

I’ve had LIMITLESS and FIRE TRUCK wait, byeee they really called this album NCT #127 – The 1st Mini Album. I own a physical copy, how did I not notice that before? Okay, moving along. I’ve had those albums on my ideas list for like two years now.

And I’m determined to get those articles written on here. So let’s start with Regular-Irregular. Full album title NCT #127 Regular-Irregular – The 1st Album, well will refer to it as Regular-Irregular, because that’s way too damn long to type out, and I’m gonna forget to copy and paste it every time, lol.

Oh, wait. So SF9 and Monsta X, what about them? Well I decided I’m still going to make separate articles for the three MX albums I want to cover, then the remaining songs will be in an Other Fave Monsta X Songs article. So four in total.

I was stressing about how to talk about Wonho because in most of the articles I’m going to write, he was an integral part of the group, and I’m not gonna erase that part of MX’s history. However, I’m not gonna sit up here and talk about him during like Fatal Love because he was very much on to other shit and so was the group.

I became a Monbebe back in 2015 during Rush era. My MX lightstick is my very first Kpop light stick, I have fond memories of old MX. But that time is over, and I don’t think it’s fair to hold them back when they’re on different paths now.

I’m gonna have to make this disclaimer a few times, I can see it already, lol. I know it’s a controversial take. Especially from a Wonho stan. I do wish we could have more interactions with them all together, but people are weird. And it’ll be more headache than it’s worth, I think.

SF9… I’m not sure how I’m gonna do that one. I’ve covered a lot of their 2018-2021 music sporadically on ATK already. So I think I might comb through and do a fave songs article of my top like 20 songs of theirs? Maybe focus more on b-sides?

I do love “O Sole Mio” and I’ve NEVER gotten to talk about that song in depth on here. Or actually listened to the full album. Same with “MAMMA MIA”. Never listened to the full album. Love the title track. Maybe I need to do an inventory on SF9 songs I’ve missed before deciding on what to actually talk about.

So that’s where I’m at with those groups. Let’s really get back to NCT 127 now, lmao.


The Teasers (Regular Dream & Irregular Office)

I don’t usually mention the teasers, but I can’t talk about the duality of this album without them. This was the start of the fandom losing their shit and making gifs and theories about every thing. I love the way this sets things up perfectly for “Regular”, especially the English version. And suits! They were really catering to the office AU girlies with this one.

Now this is when the party starts! I remember everyone on Tumblr in the NCT fandom, just talking nonstop about this video. It was like a 48-hour lockdown, and this was the focus.

THE moment. I changed my Tumblr name to a Johnny related one because the hold that scene of him poppin bottles at work had on me.

I love that the second teaser was more of a mini drama that adds on to what we’ve previously seen, but doesn’t completely forget to bring it back full circle.

It’s been a loooong time since a teaser trailer had me this hype. I think the next time I really felt like this was when I started watching TXT’s trailers for The Dream Chapter and The Chaos Chapter.


City 127

So upon putting this article together, I decided to talk about Regulate, the repackaged album released a few weeks after Regular-Irregular. There are three more songs on there, so why not. This is great because that means I get to talk about one of my favorite NCT 127 b-sides, “Chain” and one of my favorite music videos of theirs, “Simon Says”. Also, they put “Welcome To My Playground” on here. It’s fine. It’s a song. I never listen to it.

But I do jam to “City 127”. I love that we’re kicking off the album with the vocals!! The harmonies!! This album starts off so chill and progressively gets more strange and experimental. Y’all are gonna get sooo tired of me claiming all these midtempo NCT 127 songs as my favorite. But they really are my fave types of NCT songs.

Because we’re talking about another SM group, let’s see which familiar faves worked on this track. It’s high key easier to look up song credits for groups of larger companies on Wikipedia. Annoying but true. Also, I forget to check most of the time, lol.

The Stereotypes being on here was a surprise, but not completely. I find that my favorite SM songs are usually arranged/produced by like the same 5 geniuses. I think I never looked at the credits, or I forgot. Of course, we’ve got 127 member participation in song creation as well.

For the most part, I just expect Taeyong and Mark to be listed for raps. Wikipedia actually has a pretty detailed listening of everyone involved, like I’ve never seen before. They’ve got personal like vocal direction, rap directing, background vocals, digital editing, and recording studio names. Y’all can check all that out here.


Regular (Korean Version)

I didn’t want to include both music videos. So if you want to check out the Korean music video, here ya go. We’re going to talk about Regulate, but I’m going to wait until the end to talk about those songs separately.

Because the English version came out first, I don’t listen to the Korean version much. I know it’s supposed to be more of the subdued version, more realistic version. Compared to the flashy English version. Idk. I don’t have much to say on this version. I listen to WayV’s version more than the Korean version, lol.


Replay (PM 01:27)

Oh yeah, back with the dance tracks. I had forgotten how many songs on this album I love and still revisit regularly. “Replay (PM 01:27)” is one of those songs that probably gets skipped but once you finally listen to it, can’t help but to play it every time it pops up in the future.

It reminds me of “Wake Up“. They sit at the same table at lunchtime. I can’t wait to talk about the 1st mini album. LDN NOISE worked on “Replay (PM 01:27)”, another reason it slaps.


Knock On

I think it was “Knock On” and the Korean version of “Regular” and “Highway To Heaven” all popping up around the same time during my workout, that I realized I needed to talk about how flawless this album is. “Knock On” is totally one of my most listened to 127 song. It might be my favorite song off the album.

MZMC worked on this track. Because of course they did.


No Longer

Sad times, but we loooove when vocaline shines. I don’t listen to this song much. I have to be in a boring ballad mood, but when I’m ready, I’m jammin to this.


Interlude: Regular to Irregular

This is an incredibly important part of Regular-Irregular album. The transition to the irregular part reminds me of cassettes with side A and side B. And you’d have to take out the cassette to listen to the rest of the album.

You can skip that digitally, but I feel like you aren’t getting the full experience of the album by skipping this song. You gotta listen to it once. I think when I saw them back in 2019, they played this before they performed the English version of “Regular”. If I’m remembering the song order correctly.

Hitchhiker is one of the people who worked on this. I didn’t realize how much Hitchhiker has worked on NCT stuff. I just thought it was for more Taeyong centric songs like the collab “Around” and “Time“.


My Van

“My Van” is another song that I don’t listen to much, but I have respect for it. I love the production and instrumentals the most on this song.


Come Back

If “Knock On” is my favorite song off this album, “Come Back” is easily my second favorite. I always forget its first appearance was on NCT 127’s Japanese album Chain. I gotta go back and revisit that one. “100” is my favorite Japanese song of theirs. And it’s also on that album.

“Come Back” is more upbeat and dancy. It’s another song that works so well in different languages. I love WayV’s dance practice of it. I kinda miss all these different versions of the same song. MZMC also worked on this one.


Fly Away With Me

Third fave song. Similar vibe to “Knock On” and “Come Back”. “Fly Away With Me” is like an in between when it comes to tempo.

Slaaaaaps. I know it’s a slightly unpopular opinion, but I love these songs where vocaline is the focus. We don’t always even need a rap in a song.


Regular (English Version)

Alright, it’s time to talk about the masterpiece that is “Regular”. It’s kinda camp. Over the top, dramatic. Sooo much going on here. The instrumentals in this song go hard. The harmonies and the whiplash (pun intended) you get from these wild ass lyrics, every thing just falls together perfectly.

Mark walking around with a tiger, people mishearing Jaehyun’s, “walking with the cheese” as “f*cking with the cheese”, “queso queso” in the background, Taeyong’s inablity to use doors, this is all in the first like 35 seconds of the video. We still have like four minutes to go. It’s chaotic and fun. I just love every thing about it.

My favorite line and delivery is Yuta’s, “we are not the same, only one of me.” If that isn’t a mood. I reference it all the time. Oh, and the “I spend the bag on the regular” that’s also a mood. Shopping addicts, link up, lmao.

Haechan chillin on top of a moving car, Winwin’s, “she gon bust bust bust it for a real one” fdklfslhf that man has no idea what that means. Never said those words before in his life, and never does unless it’s the context of this song. I can’t.

My favorite styling we see in “Regular” of course is the all black fits in the chorus. I do like Taeyong’s styling when he’s in more, I guess, Hip Hop, Hypebeast fashion. It reminds me so much of “Fire Truck” and early 127 styling. Hair wise, I love everyone’s hair. I think this was the start of mullet! Taeyong if I remember correctly.

Rewatching this music video, I was reminded of the failed “Regular, huh” challenge they came up with to make “Regular” go viral. Too ahead for its time. The choreography for this song is amazing. I can’t help but to try to follow along.

And I gotta mention the Apple Music ad they ran on TV for a while during their US promotions. Literally my favorite TV ad at the time. The looked so good, and I love the way this was shot. The first like 10 seconds where they’re dancing and vibing, and the camera pans past the members, plays in my mind rent-free to this day.

Yeah, iconic. This was such a fun time in the fandom when this video dropped.


Run Back 2 U

Forth fave song!! This song to me in the most interesting to sit and listen to because of all the production and effects going on. I love house music, and the mixing and pacing reminds me of a lot of what goes into a house song.

Drops, when to add vocals back in, when to bring the chorus in or a new verse. I just love it all. When I think of what makes NCT 127 different from other boy groups, I think of songs like this.

Okay, time to talk about the Regulate songs.


Welcome To My Playground

Another track where I’m like, “yeah. This is a song” and don’t listen to it ever, lol. I do love a good behind the scenes video, though. I didn’t know this existed.


Simon Says

This music video’s visuals had me OBSESSED. I don’t care for “Simon Says” as a whole song. There are certain parts I like, “Simon says be cool.” OMG I forgot about Mark’s, “NCT we all so sexy. NCT noise you can’t break me” part. I love that too. I don’t think I’ve listened to this song since 2019, tbh.


Chain

Here’s the Korean version. As I’ve mentioned before, if you give me a Japanese version of a song, then release a Korean version months later after I’ve mostly memorized the Japanese version, I’m still gonna reach for the Japanese version first, sorry. I was ecstatic when I heard the first like three seconds of “Chain” play live when I saw them back in 2019. I wasn’t expecting it to be on the set list.

This is pots and pans music. Noise music crafted with me in mind. The way the crowd was bouncin left to right just as the chorus hit is still one of my favorite concert experience memories I have.

Music video wise, I feel like we don’t talk enough about this! I love the more casual styling here. The hair and makeup is on point. I’m just a huge fan of choreo centric videos anway.

I will say, it still blows my mind how little Yuta gets used in Japanese songs/videos. What’s up with that? Mans should have more lines in the Japanese stuff.

Speaking of lines, though, gotta talk about the excitement I had when Winwin had his part and screentime. Winwin stans get crumbs, but we eat it up regardless, lol.


Alright, we’ve got another NCT 127 article on here. I had so much fun revisiting this era. I hope y’all had fun reading this. Let me know your fave RegularIrregular/Regulate songs. I can’t wait to cover other older NCT 127 releases on here.

Idk what I’m writing about next. So y’all will just have to check back to see what’s next. Twitter is still hanging on, so you can find me there or on my new Insta for ATK.

See y’all next article!

Ash💚

Leave a Reply