Buzz Beats: Album Review - "Ay-Yo - The 4th Album Repackage" by NCT 127
NCT 127 is known for their experimentation with their music and concepts. Their new repackage, Ay-Yo, which follows 2 Baddies released this past September, once again supports that they are a powerful group in the industry. This repackage includes three new songs that I think perfectly match the NCT sound.
The title for this repackage, “Ay-Yo” is the perfect example of the group's signature sound. Some might argue it’s actually too “typical” or other groups are following the same hip-hop heavy sound. However, NCT is easily the group doing it the best. It’s true there is nothing particularly crazy about this song, but it’s powerful in energy and shows their talent. “Ay-Yo” shows their ability to flow well with a distinctive, slightly fragmented beat. Mark Lee, my favorite member of the group, opens up the music video and the song with, “Ay-Yo, look, things will never be the same,” and it sets the tone for the track. Through the lyrics, “Ay-Yo” is about confidence and remaining resilient. For me, the highlight of this song is the balance of vocals and rapping. I love how the rap lines shine and contribute to the song just as much as the vocals do. The bridge, consisting of Doyoung and Jungwoo, contains beautiful vocals and a break from the heavier beat. The member that shines the most though, is Haechan, with his ability to produce high notes that blend in and stand out at the same time. The first chorus is my favorite part because of his strong vocals towards the end that transition well to the next verse. I do agree the song ends awkwardly and feels unfinished, but other than that, I think “Ay-Yo” serves its purpose well in showcasing the talent of NCT 127.
For the other two singles, “DJ” and “Skyscraper”, they also highlight the versatility of the group. “DJ” is a more upbeat song, with jazz, soul, and R&B elements. I love how harmonious the song feels. It’s a completely different vibe than “Ay-Yo,” except the high notes and lyric deliveries are just as powerful. It’s definitely my favorite song from the repackage, I just love the way it feels so fresh and summery. It’s also easily one of my favorite NCT 127 songs released in the past year. “Skyscraper” brings back the “Ay-Yo” hip-hop elements and it’s a very intense, rap-heavy song. The song has a lot of chanting elements, which I actually particularly enjoy. The song of course has parts I love, like Mark’s rap in the beginning, and the bridge where Taeil, Doyoung, and Haechan showcase their beautiful vocals once again. I love the break between the heavy rapping to the vocal lines, it’s very powerful.
Overall, I think that the new tracks on the repackage fit well into the original album. I love how each song is memorable and distinct in a very NCT way. I give the repackage songs a rating of 8.5/10.