Like a racehorse out of the gate the bouncy sample of Ridin' instantly propels. Add in its addictive chorus at the beginning and the pace is set. NCT DREAM’s fourth mini album Reload starts with intention and doesn’t let up, delivering an infectious blend of dance pop and 90’s R&B throughout its five tracks. And while none of the six members (RENJUN, JENO, HAECHAN, JAEMIN, CHENLE, and JISUNG) may have been born in the 90s, it’s a testament to their artistry how well they pull it off.
In fact Reload is the group’s most self-assured release yet. While still maintaining their signature pop sound, there’s a growth here. The group’s skills have been sharpened and their unique vocal color resonates on the album and in their performance.
Take Ridin’s music video for example. The cool confidence they exude on the motorcycles is juxtaposed with them at a merry-go-round, showing both sides of NCT DREAM’s youthful yet charismatic duality. The boys never take Ridin’ too seriously and instead have fun with the it, allowing their personality as a group to shine through.
Of course, having good music helps too. Ridin’ and Quiet Down are my favorite type of K-pop songs – different musical segments on the verses, b-section and chorus all tied together by one continuous sample. Momentum swells at the bridge before unleashing a final chorus that incorporates all the various elements with ad libs thrown in generously like a cherry on top.
7 Days and Love Again are neater R&B cuts, pairing an up-tempo groove with a 90s-style synth loop on both. While the former has an instantly catchy refrain fueled by a clap hook, the latter slow burns a trajectory of harmony over its hip-hop one, crafting a sleek, heady jam for the ages.
Closing track Puzzle Piece slows the pace down with its stripped back, soft vocals. Paired with only a guitar for accompaniment, it shows just how much NCT DREAM has grown from teenagers to young adults, and from rookies to idols.
Reload is an excellent listen and the boys should be proud. Not only did they receive their highest number of pre-order sales yet (exceeding 500,000 copies!) but Ridin’ hit No. 1 upon release on Melon, Korea’s largest music streaming site.
Globally, Reload topped iTunes Top Albums Chart in over 49 countries, and NCT DREAM took first place on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart for the week ending on May 9. Be sure to check out their online digital concert “Beyond the DREAM” this weekend May 10 at 3pm KST where you can see NCT DREAM perform songs from Reload live for the first time!
NCT DREAM - Reload is available in 2 versions and includes a 72-page photo book, a random photo card (1 of 6), a random folded poster (1 of 6), and a random circle card (1 of 6). Initial orders will also include a crew gift (wrist band or coupon). Also, "Beyond the DREAM" Show special merchandise is available for you.
Pre-order yours today at SM Global Shop!