For those who were unsure/worried what to expect from Nu’est after we say Minhyun join up with Wanna One temporarily, put you mind at ease. The remaining members have put out a new project and declared themselves a subunit by adding a W to their name, meaning that we should expect Minhyun to rejoin them at some point.
But, for us, the most important thing is that this EP is good!
Nu’est is one of those groups that comes across as inconsistent in terms of album quality and we could never really understand why. They have the vocals to really make a track work and they have charisma in terms of audio and stage performances, but some of their tracks really don’t feel right coming from them. Their sound seemed to be all over the place and them finding a hit with a particular sound didn’t see them returning to the well for a way to duplicate it. This album, with its emphasis on solos, gives a reason as to why (more on that later).
After giving us two track of the unit as a whole, including the amazingly infectious Where You At, we get tracks from each of the four member and they all have a different sound. Ren gives a little pop goodness with Paradise (you might notice a similarity to I’m Bad), Aron goes R&B with Good Love (and you might notice a similarity to Overcome), JR goes old-school Khip-hop on With, and Baekho gives a heartfelt ballad with Thankful For You. While there is a similarity between all the solo tracks in terms of tempo and base instrumentation, you can definitely hear how all of them have a preference in style and they are very different from one another.
Each one sounds good. There isn’t a moment where you are comparing the strengths of one singer’s voice to another or one rapper’s flow to another. They command their tracks with energy and confidence, putting in the right emotional resonance for their particular subject. The weakest track in the set is My Beautiful as the vocals just sound very lackluster and it never seems to go anywhere no matter how much it threatens to build.
The production is where things come apart a little. The three tracks we picked as our favorite are probably the best production wise as they give support to the singers while not overshadowing them or draining the song of energy. We didn’t expect anything amazing from the Baekho ballad in terms of beatwork, but My Beautiful and With seem to be dragged down by theirs. We will give them that, given the different styles, this is still very cohesive in terms of overall sound and the total project is enjoyable.
It seems the members, as a unit, haven’t really found a way to merge their somewhat disparate personal styles as a group yet. Because, with this, we get to see each of them in their own element and what their individual style of music is, we can hear all the different elements that have come into play on their previous albums. We see that each member taking a hand at the writing or producing means things are going to be a little different project to project. Considering that they have only been together a few years, this is something that they can work out. We hope they do; getting a feel for the individuals has made us appreciate the whole a lot more.
Our favorite tracks are Where You At, Good Love, and Paradise. The most skippable track is My Beautiful.