I’ve talked about my 10 most favorite NU’EST songs (to be honest, I couldn’t help myself with the excessive fangirling in mentioned post), and since I’ve always been picky with songs I listen to (I have sensitive ears), I’m pretty sure that even without any musical theory knowledge, it is possible to figure out which songs are well produced/made, and which are… let’s just say, not living up to expectations.
Let’s go to my list?
Honorable mentions (again, too many): Face, Hello, My Beautiful, Sleep Talking, Love Without Love, Lend Me Your Shoulder, I’m Bad, A Scene Without You, ONEKIS2, Emotion, LOOK (a starlight night)
10. Where You At (NU’EST W) – W,Here, 2017
This song is a great warm-up if you’re introducing NU’EST to a non-fan! Being the most recent release (as of February, 2018) composed and produced by Baekho (of course, with help from his eternal hyung Bumzu), Where You At compiles all the best points of NU’EST members musical abilities: from JR’s rap, to Aron & Ren stable vocals, to Baekho’s powerful adlibs. This song serves as a great appetizer if you already told your muggle friend of NU’EST difficult journey to success and the group’s current situation to hype up the expectation on what OT5 has up on their sleeve, or what they will bring up once 2019 starts.
Read more about the song in my review: [ALBUM Review] NU’EST W – W,Here EP
9. Let Me Out (NU’EST W) – Hwayugi OST Vol.1, 2017
Another great song from the sub-unit NU’EST W that can be used as a introduction to their music! Although it’s not produced by any of Pledis producers (mainly I mean group member Baekho and/or in-company producer/singer Bumzu), the song still oozes with the group’s significant musical style. I’ve mentioned several times (in Where You At review, in posts related to Produce 101 season 2 songs) that dubstep/future EDM genre perfectly suits NU’EST vocal color, hence the high praise from many people on such songs as Overcome, Love Paint, LOOK, Face, Action, etc.
You don’t need to actually follow the drama Hwayugi to check out this song and get a taste of NU’EST musical style. Just plug your headphones in, and press play.
8. VVITH – Q is, 2016
I wish I had more time to talk about the development of NU’EST musical style throughout the years. As their group introduction says, “ubran electro band” (gosh, don’t you just miss that “Show time! NU’EST time! Hello, this is Urban Electro Band, NU’EST!” greeting so much?!), the group has tried almost every single aspect of electro sound, and managed to blend it with many other styles, including rock and R’n’B. VVITH is one of perfect examples of blending electro sound and R’n’B. This song highlights their funky, flirty, bright and boyfriend vibes, and believe me, no muggle will stay as so after this song.
7. Daybreak – Canvas, 2016
If your muggle friend is looking for dreamy sound, Daybreak by members Minhyun & JR from Canvas mini-album (2016) is your number one answer. Everything about this song is soothing and calming. Even with numerous statements about the excellence of the whole Canvas mini-album, I’m pretty sure for many people this track stands out the most out of all their five songs. You get a full grasp of Minhyun‘s honey vocals, as well as have a taste of JR‘s soft rapping which is seen rarely due to the group’s overall sound.
Fun fact: NU’EST W‘s first ever song If You and Daybreak by Minhyun & JR are produced by the same person KIGGEN, who’s also responsible for making one of the Produce 101 season 2 concept evaluation songs (Oh Little Girl).
6. Introduce Me To Your Noona – Hello, 2013
For NU’EST fans it might be a very unexpected choice, but trust me, if you listen over and over again, you’ll find all the beauty points of the song production. It’s sweetly innocent, and for me personally it reminds a lot of SHINee‘s iconic debut song Replay. I don’t know if the brass section here is sampled or not, but it just fits so good with the uplifting mood of the song. And the guitar in first bridge along with piano in second one is also very pleasing and so… pure and sweet. Damn, I really love every single aspect of this song. You can’t blame me for that.
5. I’m Bad – I’m Bad, 2015
I used to list this song as one of my “less favorite” ones, until I listened to it for so many times and noticed lots of interesting moments. It’s sad that I’m Bad still remains one of the underappreciated title track from our boys. This song was recorded and released without Baekho who was at that time recovering from nodules surgery, and this really makes you appreciate the vocal improvement from Aron and Ren, although, of course, you can’t help but miss those powerhouse vocals. I’m still sort of cautious of the muted synth, but other than that, everything else in the instrumentals is perfect.
(if you’re wondering – yes, it’s Xiyeon from PRISTIN)
4. R.L.T.L. (one morning) – Canvas, 2016
In my opinion, R.L.T.L. is the underappreciated track from Canvas album. I’ve seen many people talking about every other song in the album but this one. Although it contains familiar EDM trap sounds, it’s not overused and doesn’t seem overwhelming at all. It’s a perfect counterpart to our beloved song LOOK, even if they’re made in similar style. We need to appreciate this track more.
Oh, and did you notice back in August when it was first released? Wanna One‘s debut song Energetic starts with almost identical notes as R.L.T.L.
3. Hello (2017 ver.)
I don’t know who rearranged this song, but bless that damn genius. The original version was already perfectly produced (despite the fate it faced throughout the years), but I specifically wanted to point out the 2017 rearrangement. Considering how the song originally heavily depends on Minhyun’s vocal range, it’s even more fascinating to hear the version without the group’s lead vocalist. May I point out that: (1) the key of this version is lowered down in comparison to the original version; (2) Aron and Ren‘s vocals are even more solid and strong than ever before; (3) JR didn’t do any change to his rap part lyrics, but the way he performs it here sounds completely new. These raw emotions are hitting our feelings way too hard; (4) Did you notice those freaking God-like harmonies at the background?
Yes, I love this version of the song so freaking much, you can definitely tell.
2. Action – Action, 2012
Face may remain the most iconic NU’EST song of their initial concept, but don’t underestimate the epicness of their follow-up single Action. Fun fact: I actually departed myself from following NU’EST because of this song, haha. I was young and inexperienced with music~ Anyways, what in the world made me re-appreciate the song, and moreover, put in on such a high position in this ranking: remember I said that NU’EST songs perfectly portrays the blend between different music genres? This song is another example of mixing familiar second generation K-pop boys groups sound and newly (at that time) introduced dubstep genre. It’s loud and smashing, and, I don’t know if it’s possible to use this kind of description, very stadium-scaled, meaning that it will sound even more epic if you play at festivals/in big stadiums. In my opinion, Face doesn’t have that feeling compared to Action, and that’s why I occasionally prefer this one over their debut. But both deserve to be iconic.
1. Love Paint (every afternoon) – Canvas, 2016
Too many things going on here, but if you want to quickly describe what Love Paint is, here’s the suggestion: It’s a song that is way ahead of its time. I’ve listened to so many songs from so many different artists, but so far I still haven’t found one that could producing/musical engineering-wise outdo Love Paint. Baekho and Bumzu are definitely geniuses to come up with such dreamy vibes wrapped in EDM sound. Every time I listen to it, I keep questioning, how in the world these two men managed to create such masterpiece. You can feel these dreamy vibes even in their teasers (Group teaser, Canvas Art Film (REN version)). I honestly don’t know what else to say about this song, it’s too beautiful that no words can describe it.