NCT 127 are anything but conventional. The group have been releasing some of the most sonically unique and confident songs in K-Pop since the unit’s loud, frenetic introduction with “Fire Truck” in 2016. But with the release of their latest single “Simon Says,” off their repackaged album Regulate (out now), NCT 127 deliver a track that feels more reminiscent of the hypnotic, trap vibe of NCT’s debut, “The 7th Sense.”
Bass-heavy beats, layered production, and charismatic swagger have become hallmarks of NCT 127’s discography, and “Simon Says” has all of that in spades. It’s a commanding hip-hop track that opens with a traditional Maori haka war cry — a challenge to opponents — and ends with rapper Mark casually singing “we don’t pay no attention.” The striking visual and intricate choreography are just as intimidating:
And while the 10-member group lean heavily toward hip-hop — led by magnetic rappers and dynamic duo Taeyong and Mark — it wouldn’t be a proper NCT comeback without a powerful showing from the vocal line — particularly Taeil and Haechan, who truly get to flex on the bridge. (I’m breathless just thinking about Taeil hitting that extended high note.)
“Simon Says” is the lead single off Regulate, a repackage of their first full-length album, Regular-Irregular. Lyrically, the song stays true to the album’s concept, which flows between two states: reality and fantasy. On “Simon Says,” NCT 127 ask listeners to embrace their authentic selves instead of doing whatever society tells them to do and acting the way society tells them to act, just like a game of Simon Says.
Regulate also features the playful and melodic new song “Welcome To My Playground,” as well as the long-awaited Korean version of their Japanese single “Chain.” Better yet: It’s all available to stream now.
With “Simon Says,” NCT 127 stay true to themselves as artists and entertainers with a wholly original track about the power of individuality. And while the experimental group have yet to produce a smash hit in their native Korea, they don’t seem bothered by it. In fact, it seems to be positively fueling their creative decisions.