[Review] Parallel Universe – NINE.i

NINE.i is another rookie that I had not reviewed yet. This 10 member male group made their debut back in March of this year, and the lineup of NINE.i consist of Jewon, Eden, Winnie, Minjun, Vahn, Vari, Sewon, Taehun, Joohyoung and Jiho. FirstOne Entertainment is their managing company. Their debut single Parallel Universe was featured on their debut mini-album NEW WORLD. The group later promoted Beauty Inside from the same mini-album.

Parallel Universe is another pleasant song to add to the list of KPOP releases of 2022. But for this particular release, I found the pleasantness to be a charming factor. Interesting, given my comments in the last review I posted. I guess pleasantness has its moments and Parallel Universe is one of them. Sure, the electronic based pop song isn’t the most riveting release of the year and I do feel at times Parallel Universe could have done more. But the way they kept instrumental was consistent throughout the song ended up feeling aesthetic to me. Even when the instrumental amps up (ever so slightly) for the dance break, it is done so in manner that does not stray from the pleasing nature of the rest of the song. Their vocals and raps complemented that pleasant nature that I keep talking about. All of which helps keep the song consistent. And this is one of the few times where I quite enjoyed the consistency factor, as well. My pick for best showing of these vocals and raps in Parallel Universe was the layering of vocal and rap in the bridge, which also doubled up as being a neat ramp up to the final chorus and peak for the song. There was a satisfying concentration of energy during the choruses that taps into both pleasantness and consistency. Overall, Parallel Universe is a pleasing song that just works and does not come off as boring or plain.

I feel that the music video also carries on that pleasant aesthetic from the song. But the resulting storyline just doesn’t feel like it is hitting the mark for me. The music video plays on the idea of a parallel universe, where one version of the group is having an enjoyable time at home, while another version of the group is having more fun at the carnival. It is a feel-good type of the video (which I believe complements the lyrics and message behind the song), but it doesn’t really go anywhere. I did liked the golden aura/colour tone in this video, from the sun and the carnival lights. I also enjoyed the post-production to this video and the electronic-like touches for that dance solo moment in the video. The choreography shots seem to also carry on the pleasant aesthetic, but I felt I wished the stylists thought out their black outfits a bit more. The light blues, greys and light tones in the more blue dance set looked more appropriate as a pleasant vibe, whereas the black outfits felt too prominent in this video.

Their synchronisation in this music video was top notch. I do feel like the smoother routine they had opted for does make it easier to achieve this effect, so I would like to see the members do a more hard hitting and sharper routine to really show off this skillset. However, that being said, I did like the additional energy and effort they put towards the chorus. And the solo dance sequence was quite cool. The way the members introduced themselves back onto the stage after the solo dance sequence (i.e. running back on) felt a bit messy, and I wished some refinement was considered here. But overall, a nice performance piece.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.1/10