Here’s the tea about NCT. This group is probably one (if not) of the most innovative things to have come out of the K-Pop scene since SM Entertainment abandoned the original plan for Super Junior. Imagine Super Junior changing every year though?!?! With the kind of resources and reputation that the company has built before and during K-Pop’s monumental rise, they have finally found the balls to actually bring this concept to the table hoping that their solid fanbase will eat it up.
But are they though? Are we all up in it though?
The folks over at Asian Junkie make a solid case for NCT being a little too complicated for current and potential K-Pop stans. I mean, we have seen quite a share of groups with a graduation/rotation concept (After School, 9Muses) so it’s not entirely new to have a group with an interactive setup of some sorts.
NCT, however, operates on a more technical level, a more dynamic even. There is no sense of permanence in the group. Members may come and go, may be added or reduced. Sub-units may be formed but are also subject to lineup changes depending on how SM wants it to turn out. So, as we are talking here, a component of NCT’s gear may have been updated and might transform the whole dynamic drastically just when we least expect it to.
On paper, it is a ridiculously ambitious concept. It even surpasses what other rotational groups in Japan are doing – AKB48, EXILE Tribe, and E-Girls come to mind. But with those groups at least, you know that there are girls that will be added or removed and the sub-units are fixed for the most part so you can somehow anticipate the turnout of things.
In NCT, the NCT U that came out with 7th Sense may not be the same NCT U next comeback (which is what happened now). It might be different the next comeback too.
This means that this concept will only jive well with those who totally dig how the group operates. SM did not promise you a group or sub-units with permanent members. Let’s get that clear.
But on the other side of the fence, the whole concept poses a risk of losing a solid fanbase just like what the AJ article said. It will definitely alienate the casual fans who are gonna get confused as to why NCT 127 Firetruck is different from NCT 127 Cherry Bomb. NCT Dream may be fixed as of now, but they can lose members anytime soon and it could not be those who you expect to.
They may stay for the jams, but not for the group.
As for me, I’m all for this group’s concept. It’s definitely fcked up here and there. I’d like to see it both blossom or blow up in front of SM’s faces. Of course, having a tad bit of a bias for SM acts, I would like to see NCT succeed.
However, with the way that things are going now, there are some parts of the NCT concept that needs more work to make it work and here’s some of them. At least for me.
- The NCT supergroup should have been launched first. A bigger picture would actually allow the public and potential fans to get accustomed to this ambitious project. NCT could have honestly benefitted from some scenario setting. I think that part got lost in the process. Well, it’s too late for this to happen, so yeah…
- Since NCT decided on banking on sub-units first, they should have spewed out a few more units before all of them got together. Such strategy gives off an illusion that this is indeed a freakin’ supergroup that rapidly grows by the minute. I mean, SM made mention that NCT will have Chinese, Japanese, and other potential units across Asia (which is like AKB). I’ve read of rumors of a Jakarta unit (I think) and the China line too. I mean, just imagine them setting up a lot bases and then gathering into one big battalion?So far, all we have are three units with more focus on 127 because it is the one in Korea. I understand that logistically this is challenging but if SM wants to take the risk, might as well they go all in right? In the words of Ron Swanson…
3. The whole Empathy project is basically an NCT U album but is packaged as an NCT project. This leads me to thinking that the album is rushed. It has an NCT U Station tracks (two of them) along with their previous tracks released in 2016. I mean, c’mon that is so lazy for a group like this. They could have as well added all the other albums that were released by 127 and Dream. Even the new b-sides are made for the U unit. If that is the case, they might as well have just staged an NCT U comeback and called it a day.
But those new tracks are really great though. Touch is fantastic, Boss has been on repeat, Baby Don’t Stop is a scene stealer and I see you, Yestoday (brilliant title as well).
So how does NCT move forward? At the rate of the messiness that it has created, SM might as well go and release more sub-units and give another shot at a big launch with more people in it. It is supposed to be a huge-ass supergroup and 18 people with 3 units isn’t doing it yet.
Also, SM might start giving more identity to their NCT units. The Dream unit has achieved this but that’s thanks to their age. U and 127 are basically doing the same thing and what’s worse is that it is almost built around the skills of some members. A little less Taeyong and Mark and more to the other members may help either of the units. Given that they’re more active in Korea as well, they should send their members to more promotions outside their idol work. Yuta, for example, has great potential in variety and may bring interest to their group like how Jackson did with GOT7 (kinda).
I don’t like hate Taeyong and Mark though but there’s a wide array of underutilized members that can tap other potentials.
All in all, the “divide then conquer” isn’t still strong with NCT now. An ambitious concept must be paired with ambitious logistics that SM can still profit from. That’s the challenge and they ain’t hittin’ it yet. Otherwise, it will all just be…
So what do you think of NCT’s case? Drop a comment below and let’s speculate wildly!