Due to my studies, I had to drop album reviews. But now, I have time and it is time to catch up on some many album reviews. The first album I have chosen to review is NCT 127’s first studio album, Regular-Irregular. This is the first album release to feature Jungwoo as the 10th member of the subunit and it also features the English version of their title track, Regular, which was recently performed on Jimmy Kimmel. This is one long review, so let’s get going!
1. City 127 (지금 우리) – Opening the album is a very classy sounding and melodic track that does not disappoint. There are a few things that draw my attention to the song including the already mentioned melody, the soft nature of the piano instrumental (which also allows the song to easily become a dance track), the very addictive whistling tune and the vocals/raps of the song. It is a rather peaceful song, which is usually not my preference for the opening track (You want my attention, you need to go big). But they do just that with City 127, which is rather unique. (9/10)
2. Regular (Korean Version) – Click here to read the full review for Regular. (6/10)
3. Replay (PM 01:27) – While Replay does play towards the trend of electronic music in the industry, it does a good job with its aesthetics (compared to their title track which tackled the Latin trend). The entire track was rather soft with its sound, which is reflected nicely in the drop of this song. It fulfils the need for a beat drop, yet it stays within the theme of the first half of the album. I liked how the vocals and raps also played to vibes of the song, which in turn, creates a winning track. The track does not include Mark and Taeyong, which is a pity, but it is interesting to see some other members shine. (9/10)
4. Knock On – Knock On is a ballad that sounds very soothing. It is the type of song that I would enjoy listening to on a rainy day and the instrumental makes it great for a bedtime playlist or café as well. Once again, the vocals are amazing in this song and I don’t think there was any rapping, which would have ruined the style and momentum of the song. I really liked the chorus, with Doyoung, Jaehyun, Haechan and Taeil shining the brightest in this song. (8/10)
5. No Longer (나의 모든 순간) – Another ballad appears, and the consensus is that this is a lot more emotionally driven. Performed by Taeil, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Yuta, Jungwoo and Haechan, the song focuses squarely on the vocals of the group. And they do an amazing job. I thought the chorus was nice, with its well-balanced start and sudden vocal push. I liked how they managed to pick up the song towards the end yet ended so nicely. The layering was short but sweet. The more I listen to the song the more I am drawn to it. It is my pick for one of the best ballads of the year. (10/10)
6. Interlude: Regular to Irregular – This is the turning point of the album. Up until this track, everything has been rather classy and ‘regular’. In this intermission, we hear Jungwoo narrate in Korean, Yuta narrate in Japanese, WinWin in Mandarin and Johnny in English, to music heard previously in the NCT 2018 Yearbook #1 video. Towards the end, the song takes a turn and becomes a little erratic (to the reverse version of Fire Truck), which starts off the ‘irregular’ side of the album. Very unique to split the album like this.
7. My Van (내 Van) – My Van is performed by Mark, Taeyong, Yuta and Jaehyun. Going back to the ‘irregular’ theme, the song takes a sketchier approach with its sound. The song takes on hip-hop and the combination of these two elements remind me of Fire Truck. I liked the instrumental for this song, mainly because of its uniqueness and it offers something that we don’t listen to often. (8/10)
8. Come Back (악몽) – Come Back was featured on the group’s Japanese debut album, Chain, which was released earlier in the year. It is their most upbeat sound on the album (excluding the bonus track), but it does work well with the classy feel from the first half of the album. Good vocals once again and the much-desired rap sequence in this song was amazing and ‘lit’. I think the only complaint is that I wanted to hear more of the rap earlier and for a much longer period. (8/10)
9. Fly Away With Me (신기루) – Out of all the ‘irregular’ tracks on this album, I think Fly Away With Me hits the mark extremely well. It is a soft pop track that really does the job well. The aesthetics of this track are also on par with the other songs which I mentioned aesthetics for. Amazing harmonises in this song and the bridge was a winning section that I really got me coming back to this song after it ended. And the fading ending was beautiful. (9/10)
11. Run Back 2 U – The bonus track was surprisingly the most upbeat song on the album. It is one of those tracks with multiple music styles joined together, such as trap and other electronic genres. They go well with each other. The song is well-situated in the hip-hop genre as well. It also features the fast-paced tempo that no song on the album managed to deliver and also a really well delivered (and fast) rap sequence, which I quite liked. It is good but not necessarily my cup of tea. (7/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10