Prior to their debut, N.Tic gained more notoriety from member Jion’s ultra anime style face than the prospect of any music they may be releasing. I suppose everybody needs a gimmick — and judging from the group’s low budget music video, any press will be good press for N.Tic. It’s surprising, then, that their debut “Once Again” plays it safe rather than leveraging their small bit of media attention for all it’s worth.
“Once Again” was composed by Code 9, who previously crafted the tropical pop of Astro’s “Baby“ last year. Like that song, “Once Again” exists on the more melodic end of K-pop’s spectrum. Its instrumental has a charming retro flavor, highlighted by sparkling synths and touches of electric guitar. The addition of strings gives the hip-hop pre-chorus plenty of drive that should have been teased out even further. The entire track feels a little low energy, and I think this is mainly due to the performances. The group’s vocalists are competent, but could stand to inject a little more oomph to the chorus.
That lack of individual spark is really my biggest gripe with “Once Again”. As a pure pop song, it’s driven by a pleasant melody that’s catchy without resorting to novelty. In fact, I can almost hear what a version performed by Astro might sound like — and it would make a solid B-side. But for the official debut of a new group, I don’t think this is memorable or unique enough to leave much of an impression.