With only a few months until Minhyun rejoins them to make the group whole again, Nu’est releases what could be their last EP under the W moniker and, while not as strong as their previous effort, this is an okay listen.
In a lot of ways this has all the earmarks of the disparate nature of their discography distilled. There are a lot of different styles here–some pop, some light jazz, some EDM, and some R&B–and only some of it flows together well. This disparate nature was somewhat explained by their last EP, but the effect is weaker because there are no solos to help your mind bridge the jumps. You notice the separation and, by the time you get used to it, the song is nearly over and you find yourself less engaged as a result. Not that there aren’t good songs here, but it’s easier going into this album thinking of these as a collection of one-off singles than a cohesive project.
Once you get past the fusing, though, you do notice that the production is better this time around. There are no songs that feel level; even our least favorite track has some nice build and momentum to it. Every track gives the singers some backup and support. The best part is that, when the pace picks up and the high energy stuff kicks in, it doesn’t overwhelm them either. There’s nothing that could really stand on its own, but there’s nothing that made any of the songs worse.
The thing that is usually the saving grace of any Nu’est album–the vocals–is somewhat of a disappointment here. While they don’t sound anywhere near bad, several of them do lack energy. And it has nothing to do with the pacing of the tracks; there’s just something missing from about half of them in terms of delivery. They’re worth a listen but you could easily find yourself skipping the middle of this set with ease after a few playbacks.
We do think that this and the previous release could have been combined into a single album and that could have helped this a little. The songs on here, with the exception of Signal and Gravity & Moon, do have more a B-side feel to them than the previous set did despite the number of solos. We have tested this thesis since the album came out and, with a little reordering, some of the weaknesses of both are entirely mitigated. The biggest issue for short albums is that there can’t be anything that comes across as filler. Making the set longer helps the flow immensely.
It may seem like we hate this set, but we don’t; like we said, it’s okay. This is not what we would point people to if they wanted to get to know Nu’est W, but we do think that fans of the group will find enough to like what they will want to hear it again.
Our favorite tracks are Shadow and Gravity & Moon. The most skippable track is ylenoL.