[Review] NCT’s Ten makes chorus-averse, production-heavy EDM appealing on “New Heroes”

NCT’s Ten has developed quite a loyal fan base despite only appearing in a handful of the group’s comebacks. Perhaps this is because he shines so brightly as a soloist. It’s difficult to fully utilize his insane dance skills within a huge group configuration, so other members with bigger personalities tend to take precedence. But thankfully, SM Entertainment continues to give Ten a chance to shine in the form of digital ‘SM Station‘ releases. “New Heroes” — a trendy EDM track — closes out the second “season” of this weekly music platform.

In the interest of full disclosure, it’s worth noting that this style of chorus-averse, production-heavy EDM will never be my thing. It all ends up sounding kind of the same in the end. But even though it’s held back by its genre restraints, “New Heroes” does a lot of things right.

First, the instrumental incorporates a few unique elements into its otherwise familiar structure. The brassy synth that opens the track is a nice touch, as is the inclusion of acoustic guitar that adds a sense of needed texture to the verses. But “New Heroes”‘s knockout feature is its gorgeous vocal arrangement, which backs Ten’s straightforward performance with a chorus of voices that make the song feel more immense than its simple melody would lead you to believe. These added vocals are a near-constant presence throughout “New Heroes”‘s brief running time, but are most effective during the chorus. The melodic construction here isn’t particularly robust, but it’s bolstered by enough production drama to separate it from its many like-minded peers in the overcrowded EDM genre. And most importantly, the song gives Ten another opportunity to unleash his inarguable charisma as one of SME’s most promising dancers.

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