On July 7, 2016, SM Entertainment unleashed the second sub-unit of Neo Culture Technology. You know, that group that’s called NCT with greater ease and has enough members now to rival any mariachi band? I wasn’t a fan then. “Limitless” was fun or whatever, but I wasn’t fully impressed. That was until the group dropped “Cherry Bomb” on June 14, 2017.
Journey with me, as I attempt to help you understand just how attacked I felt.
Looking back on things now, had I watched the teasers for “Cherry Bomb” I likely would have been able to avoid the dangers of unexpected fan feels. I was vaguely aware of who all the members were due to NCT U‘s debut. However, I was so concerned with looking at NCT Dream (the youngest subunit) and actually enjoying what I assumed would be bubblegum pop, that I wrote the entire group off. (Turns out, NCT Dream’s “Chewing Gum” would be the next song from this giant group that got under my skin. I now sing it at inappropriate times with my young students.) Teasers would have saved my life! Particularly, teasers would have saved me from the entity known as Lee Taeyong, group leader and obvious day-walking vampire. I remembered him from SM ROOKIES videos, but no one told me that he had evolved into his next Pokémon phase.
I was not prepared for magic when I stumbled onto SM Entertainment’s YouTube channel when the music video dropped. Honestly, I was on my way to watch something of Red Velvet‘s. I didn’t sign up for them. Nonetheless, I remember how much my face contorted from too many stimuli. The music was right up my bass-loving alley, the costumes were funky, the choreography was far more intricate than what appears at face value and the visuals were everywhere! Who is the main visual in this sub-unit, y’all?! Why are they all so pretty?!
After binging the video for three days, I had consumed as much information as humanly possible on each of the members. I dismantled the production of the song from top to bottom. I survived Taeyong’s voice, the unique differences they put on the choreography and hadn’t flung myself into oncoming traffic from fangirling. I was doing good. I’d even collected three new biases I hadn’t asked for! Then lifestyle brand ASTELL & ASPR got their hands on the track, remixed it and stuck the group into the promotional video, and I was K-pop trash all over again. Them standing there, sweatsuits galore, in (unintentional?!) ballet position had never looked so cool in my life, and I did ballet for decades! WHY ARE THEY SO PRETTY?!? A commercial shouldn’t go so hard!
As luck would have it, I was able to see NCT 127 three times over the course of summer 2017, influencing public meltdowns and misheard lyrics singing. The 18-member lineup has my respect, but NCT 127 is why I’m #Hooked.