NCT 127’s ‘Superhuman’ Is A Stunning Achievement

In today’s oversaturated Korean pop landscape, the struggle to stand out — to be seen, heard, and remembered — among the daily influx of content is constant. Sure, it’s a great (and expensive) time to be a K-pop fan, but few songs rise above the noise: new groups debut, old groups come back, and everything starts to sound the same — a blur of trop-pop, house, and hip-hop that often sounds good, though not always memorable.

So when a group truly shoots their shot with something unexpected, you take notice. With “Superhuman,” NCT 127 is giving it all they’ve got.

The 10-member group — consisting of Taeyong, Taeil, Johnny, Yuta, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Jungwoo, Mark, and Haechan (member Winwin is not actively promoting with the group) — is known for their swagger and charisma. Their sound has one defining feature: a heavy bassline (the dirtier, the better). And their rappers, Taeyong and Mark, have historically taken center stage, preferring hard-hitting beats over melody on previous singles “Regular,” “Limitless,” and “Simon Says.” But “Superhuman” marks the next evolution of all that.

The nu-disco song pulses with energy, from the isolated harmonies that open and close the track — an old SM Entertainment flourish that groups like TVXQ, Shinwa, and SHINee have all employed — to the ever-changing synths that progress with such vigor, and the deep, dirty groove that hammers into your soul. The track is shining, shimmering splendor, and the futuristic visual crackles with the same intensity:

“Superhuman” is the lead single off their latest EP, We Are Superhuman. The release features five additional tracks, including the previously released “Highway To Heaven,” an anthemic synth-pop dream that seems primed to win over casual listeners and new fans; “Jet Lag,” a jazzy, R&B jam that shows off NCT’s tight harmonies and some mellifluous vocal layering; and the standout “Fool,” a smooth and playful R&B song with flirtatious spoken-word ad-libs that is NCT 127 at their very best.

We Are Superhuman isn’t a departure for the ambitious group; instead, it’s an expansion. They are finally playing to their strengths as vocalists and as performers, while also (smartly) playing into SM’s strengths as a genre-defining force in K-pop. As such, “Superhuman” feels distinctly retro and modern. It’s taking from cues from SM’s old playbook and reshaping them in NCT’s image — a little less stable, a lot more interesting.

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