Next up on the blog is the review for INSIDE OUT, NU’EST’s most recent comeback. It dropped on Monday (apologies for the delay in the review) and is featured as the title track on NU’EST’s second Korean studio-length album, Romanticize. This comes after almost a full year since the group last promoted on a Korean stage with I’m In Trouble. The group did release their second studio album in the Japanese market, headlined by Drive, which I have previously reviewed. Romanticize and INSIDE OUT is a full group comeback, however Aron which only partly feature in promotions for the release due to ongoing health concerns. He previously stopped all activities earlier this year as a result of these health concerns. But I am glad that he feels he is well enough to participate as it is always unfortunate for a group to not promote with a full lineup, and the fans who have eagerly been awaiting a full group comeback of their favourite artists.
INSIDE OUT opens up in a very refreshing manner. If that was my initial impression of the song, surely INSIDE OUT would be a knock out of the park. But it didn’t really. Instead, NU’EST’s latest release suffered from a case of being too consistent. I bring back my straight analogy which I hardly use nowadays. The song simply stays within the confines of this straight line, going from point A to B. Sometimes, it is the selling point of the song. But most of the time, I find it a bit too tight for my liking. INSIDE OUT never really peaks or deviates from the line, resulting in a consistent and monotone sound. At the same time, however, I couldn’t really pinpoint anything wrong within the song if I were to extract it to the individual main elements I tend to focus on. The instrumental takes on chill house, which is what brings out that refreshing tone. I also like its minimalist vibes, which was promoted as one of the song’s charms. Maybe this combination added fuel to being overly consistent. The vocals are quite clear and crisp throughout the entire song. It was definitely a solid feature to the song. I wished the rapping (courtesy of JR) was a bit more dynamic. What we heard was fitting for the overall final product. But I think that this additional dynamism could broke the song from its consistency mould and made the song more appealing in that regards. Aside from the rapping, the song’s melodies and hooks are quite catchy. The opening of INSIDE OUT came back as post-chorus hooks and gave the song a little bounce. The vocals also helped the melodies appear a lot smoother, which was nice. But while I give praises for the elements within INSIDE OUT, it is the bigger picture that I find a bit boring.
Like the song, the music video opens in a very striking manner. I really like the way the camera goes around in circles with a very wide angle lens. I also really thought it going upside down was pretty cool. There were also many other cinematography shots that look really cool, so it is a video to check out if you are really into that stuff. I also find the music video to be quite smooth, with the transitions playing a vital role in making this happen. They are all your standard transitions, but the way they come together and blend the various scenes together make this video look so good. I also thought the concept behind the ball to be quite interesting. The ball just keeps on rolling away, which I assume represents the need to run away from their lover. But towards the end of the video, Baekho smashes the ball which I assume represents that they are staying with their love. The dominos could potentially be explained in a similar manner. The start of the video we see a domino piece leave the sequence, which prevents the continuation of the falling dominos. At the end of the video, we see Ren ponder and put down the piece, allowing the dominos to continue falling. My guess is the dominos represent his love for this partner. The start shows his love being cut short, but the end shows the love continuing as per the lyrics.
I liked the choreography that accompanied this release. While it isn’t really a mind blowing performance, I did like the energy exuded from the routine, especially during the chorus. It makes the song feel more lively. My favourite bit has to be the post-chorus hook (i.e. “you are the one I want, eh eh eh, you are the one I need eh eh eh‘). Not only was it catchy, but the moves felt like they could as well.
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10