NCT U dropped the sweg from “The 7th Sense“ and changed gears for “Without You“, and while I think they got much closer with this effort, I can’t characterize the track as enjoyable either.
“Without You” has a majestic instrumental during the chorus that is also appropriately melancholy, and it definitely serves as the high point of the song. While the chorus isn’t so much a memorable hook, I rather enjoyed the uptick in pace and the haunting choral effect. Unfortunately, everything that surrounded the chorus could’ve been right out of ‘SM Station‘ in terms of it lacking any other sections that were particularly inspired, both when it comes to the vocal effort and the instrumental. The lack of carrying pace through the verses causes the song to lose momentum again and again, and by the time the ending runs hit, it feels like it’s too little too late.
The music video had an OST feel to it, which was a standard and understandable way to approach this concept, but nothing one wouldn’t see elsewhere. At least the colors were pleasant and the SM Entertainment have continued to go out of the box to the benefit of their artists.
Overall, though, I’m not sure what to say. NCT U fans are already flipping out because I thought “The 7th Sense” was boring, and “Without You” made me feel similar towards the middle of the song.
Sorry, but I probably would’ve clicked out of “Without You” as well if I wasn’t writing about it for the site. It’s not the end of the world or anything, as I didn’t much like anything EXO did until they dropped “Growl“, and they’ve been fine since then. But for now, NCT U appears to be SME’s attempt to capitalize on the musical trends of the time, and it’s unfortunate that the end product comes off like imitations that fall short of the intended goal.
That said, I sorta hope SME continue down this path with NCT U conceptually, because while the debut releases prove they’re not there yet, if they find “it” they could have something unique for the label that’s usually associated with artists of other companies.