K-POP / REVIEWS

[Review][Album] NU’EST – “Face”

written by: McRoth

It has only been a few months since the start of the year and it’s already time for another debut. This time it’s boy band NU’EST brought to us by Pledis Entertainment, who have so diligently churned out fantastic artists such as After School and soloist Son Dambi.

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NU’EST is an electro boy band, and their name stands for “new, establish, style, and tempo”, which to me either sounds like they’re going to give us extremely fast music or the slowest music imaginable, which would kind of be interesting. In this case, what they meant to say was that they would sound pretty standard next to today’s boy bands, with one exception: dubstep.

I guess it was only a matter of time before the passing fad would start to officially make its mark among idols.

While 4minute‘s HyunA popped her pussy to it last summer, it seems that she had only given us a taste of what was to come. NU’EST is one of the first idols to blatantly integrate it into their music, not just for stylistic purposes, but also as a focus of the music itself.

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NU’EST’s title track, “Face“, was released this week, and right off the bat it’s serving that classic Pledis style. “Face” is clean and pretty, much like the presentation of After School’s music. I had never imagined a boy band pulling that off, but NU’EST seems to have a strong grip on how to deliver that “beauty” that I find extremely appealing in AS’s music, yet they are able to mold it into their own single. The euro-synths stand out really well under this veil, and I can definitely stand behind them when they describe their own music as being “fabulous”, because quite honestly, “Face” is pretty much a girl group song being sung by dudes.

Then there’s of course the dubstep. For someone who is indifferent to step music like I am, all it really takes for such a rigid “genre” to translate well to mainstream pop music is for it to be integrated in really genius ways. If there’s anything worth commending about NU’EST’s “Face”, it’s the way in which they went about incorporating the fad to reflect positively on their own style.

In “Face”, NU’EST utilize dubstep as a climactic factor laid underneath a gorgeous middle eight. It sounds excessive when the song suddenly drops into a wobble fest, and that’s probably the least interesting way to have lead into a proper middle eight for such a tame tune, but what happens afterwards with the mixture of NU’EST and the instrumental is mint.

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On the whole, “Face” is a polished debut single and a clear testament to the commitment to quality that Korean producers are putting into their work this year. To be honest, not only is the song not bad, it’s quite catchy, and the strong Euro influences translate really well here. It’s got enough of a “K-pop” vibe to it that makes it appealing, but it’s not too confined to the point where NU’EST can’t build off it down the road.

I just wish their token hype song – “NU, Establish, Style, Tempo” – would build around the boy band and their talent rather than focus on just the dubstep elements alone. Again, it sounds cool and I get it, but it’s a little too much flash and almost no substance.

I think NU’EST have left a very unique impression as a boy band. They have found a way to sound trendy, yet give us some of that glossy Pledis delivery that we’re accustomed to with After School. Their single album is a little safe, believe it or not, but you can definitely hear where they are headed in K-pop.

via Asian Junkie

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4 thoughts on “[Review][Album] NU’EST – “Face”

  1. I have to admit that I’m pretty pleased with this debut. It’s not amazing, but it’s definitely not bad, either. Plus, as you mentioned, “Face” is insanely catchy and I’ve admittedly been spamming it these past couple of days. But yeah. I’ll definitely be looking forward to see how their future releases turn out.

  2. it IS a very safe debut track. Though I hope they amp up the Eurodance vibe that they have going, though, it’s underused in kpop, though everything is made by Swedish peoples t__t

  3. Pingback: Month In KPOP – March « McRoth's Residence

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