It has two years since we saw a full group comeback from NCT. And during those two years since that comeback, we have seen NCT’s lineup grow with the debut of WayV (the group’s Chinese subunit) and the addition of Shotaro and Sungchan (who both have been confirmed to debut in a future subunit). Now with 23 members in total, the group have banded together to release their second full group comeback and album, NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 1. The first promotional track from the album is Make A Wish (Birthday Song), which features Taeyong, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Lucas, Xiaojun, Jaemin and Shotaro.
It has been very clear that NCT’s releases have been more experimental than any other SM group. This gives the group and its subunits a slight edge, as we would never know exactly what we should be expecting with each comeback. Make A Wish (Birthday Song) pretty much confirms this logic. It is unlike any other song put forward by NCT before. It has been described as a dance pop track with a hip hop beat and an addicting whistling sound. And you can hear each part of that description throughout the song in some capacity, as they don’t mess around with any of those components. And yet, Make A Wish manages to still twist and turn in a manner that results in the song coming off as different and at times, quite unexpecting. Personally, it isn’t my personal taste in music. But like the group, I would like to say that my taste for hip-hop centric releases have grown considerably over the years, and I can appreciate Make A Wish‘s sound. The NCT U members for this song manage to show off great vocals and raps. And each infuse a bit of unique style, adding to the appeal of the song. Unfortunately, when I turn my attention to the song’s main hook (i.e. the chorus), the infusion of hip-hop instrumentation and the drawn own style of vocal delivery just doesn’t work for me. It drowns out the energy and momentum that the song had built during the verses. As a result, the chorus feels sluggish. Maybe my taste for hip-hop hasn’t really grown that much. But I felt that something a little more dynamic and punchy would have been a better chorus.
Make A Wish features a Middle Eastern flair in the visual department. While it did add a nice colour pallete to the music video, I didn’t think the Middle Eastern flair was particularly necessary. I personally do not have anything against the Middle Eastern influence. I just felt most of their outfits were more suited for an urban concept and think an urban influence would a nicer choice. SM Entertainment wows me with their post-production, once again. The holograms of the members appearing on the platform in which the hooded figures are dancing around, along with the disappearing members right at the end looked so cool. Set-wise, I really like the chandelier that the members were hanging off from, as well.
The performance suits the music, which was expected. I like how the moves are slower during the more drawn out moments of the song and faster when they aren’t bounded by the music. It also seems like the members are given a chance to be a little more personable and fun towards the end of the performance (based on what I say in the music video). I feel this more carefree style matches up with the song neatly and provides a way for the performance to not be purely serious.
Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10