8 months since the last release of W,Here EP with its big hit Where You At, NU’EST’s sub-unit NU’EST W are finally back with new mini-album called WHO•YOU, and it’s nothing but pure eargasm for me and for many fans and even non-fans. Challenging the Latin Pop genre for the very first time, the young men provide an absolutely different sound sugarcoated with their own sophisticating feeling. Let’s dig into this album, shall we?
This page was blank for several hours before I collected myself to focus on reviewing. I’m still way too overwhelmed with what I heard.
NU’EST W 2nd mini album “WHO•YOU”
Release date: June 25, 2018
02. Dejavu *Title
03. 북극성 (Polaris)
05. 중력달 (Gravity&Moon)
I’m really trying to write this review in more professional way, but my fangirling side just can’t comprehend with this awesomeness. Excuse me my excessive exclamations, please.
Even during their nugudom (“nugu” translates as “who” from Korean, the terms is used to describe the period a certain artist remained “unknown” to public) days, NU’EST were always described as a group that goes ahead of time with their music, and Canvas (last album as 5 before Minhyun became a member of project group Wanna One, and remaining members started promotions as sub-unit) proves that point. So it’s always interesting to see what the boys prepare each time they release new music.
Last mini album W,Here was more focused on showcasing each member’s individual skills by bringing in 4 absolutely different solo tracks. Who You, on the other hand, is here to show the teamwork between members, and the results of the hard work are totally worth 8 months of waiting.
The title track Dejavu dives into Latin Pop genre that is slowly being introduced into K-pop scene. At this early stage of fusion, it’s considered a breath of fresh air into the idol music market, and this period is perfect for artists willing to try the new genre to experiment with it before it becomes a mainstream. Such tracks as SF9’s O Sole Mio, or Super Junior’s Lo Siento, or Eric Nam’s Potion and Honestly, gives a really good impression on Latin motives, and now it’s being added by subtly sexy and very sensual Dejavu.
Dejavu features that significant Latin pop inspired guitar from the very beginning, accompanied by Ren’s muted “tu ru tu” that easily gets stuck in your head, then the synth percussion kicks in as Aron starts singing. The whole verse is filled with Latin elements mixed with some tropical house notes, and right when it builds up to the chorus, it takes a new, unexpected turn. Instead of a very dynamic beat, it goes very sensual and low, with the bass that gives you goosebumps, highlighting Aron’s vocals in first chorus and Ren’s in second. The post-chorus with Baekho’s “Say woo woo woo woo woo” is another crisply attractive part that gets you hooked to the song. It sounds truly Latin inspired. There are painfully less of JR’s parts in this song, but it’s surely included here in its strongest state possible to make the song feel complete. It’s a completely new, much more matured sound in comparison to their previous releases, but it surely will remain memorable because of its uniqueness and the trademark “NU’EST-esque” that the boys manage to keep in every new song they put out, even if the song isn’t produced or written by members/in-house producers (mainly named BUMZU).
The visuals of the music video and the dance routine are undoubtedly full of aesthetics, which you can see below. The story line is believed to be directly connected to NU’EST’s Overcome – Love Paint saga, but even without that connection, it’s a visually strong video sequence. (even with that unexpected goat) The choreography is absolutely breathtaking and subtly sexy just like the song, and that specific scene of the boys’ silhouettes dancing on the artificial rooftop along with Baekho/Ren’s solo dance are surely the highlight of the music video.
The rest of the songs in this mini album, just like the title track, is aimed to display the boys’ charm as a team, even if it’s still incomplete until 2019. WHO YOU is here to prove people that NU’EST are not relying on one or two members’ skills only, but on all of them separately and as a team, and also it’s here to showcase the versatility of the music NU’EST can present and pull off perfectly, be it an EDM, classic House or Trap. With Aron and Ren constantly improving their vocals, NU’EST have come to a state to be called the all-rounder group that is trusted to listen to. Oh, and by the way, Aron’s vocals are truly the biggest highlight of the album, just like Baekho said during comeback D-1 Vlive. His skills as both vocalist and rapper gives him a chance to throw in all his possible vocal range to make the songs absolutely tasteful (just try Gravity & Moon and Shadow to find it out).
Second most highlighted song here would be their promotional b-side track Polaris, which is presented as a mid-tempo R&B ballad general public would usually hear from such indie/R&B artist as Heize. As NU’EST’s hardcore fan, I’d like to point out how all of their ballad songs have that lingering sadness feeling to it that doesn’t hit you right away, but wraps around like a snake as the song goes on. Polaris is definitely a perfectly polished addition to a line of such ballads. It’s fated to meed general public taste, and I hope that it will pick up the interest as soonest as possible. With lyrics that are both melancholic and somewhat hopeful, I believe many people will relate to them and tune the song on when they feel like they need some comfort.
In total, it’s a very successful comeback in terms of music for NU’EST W. The material presented is strong enough to withstand the fierce competition on Korean music charts during promotions of such digital monsters as Blackpink, Momoland and BTOB. No matter how the results will be, whether the boys get music show wins or not, I’m in strong belief that this comeback is being a perfect exposure to hook up more general public. As a fan, I’m very proud of the music my boys have been putting out, no exceptions.
Title track – 10/10
MV – 10/10
What do you think of this comeback by NU’EST W?