Earlier today, NCT DREAM returned with their official 1st Album, Hot Sauce. This record features ten songs, so let’s see what the boys have to offer this time.
(Please note – this is a real-time review. Meaning I am typing down my exact thoughts while listening to each song.)
Reaction to Title Track/Official MV:
- The intro is weird but intriguing. Now, I can’t wait to hear how the chorus comes in because, so far, I love the beat, progression and beautiful melodies on the verse.
- The boys all look good and sound amazing.
- Okay, the chorus is simply a repeat of the weird intro but with a heavy EDM instrumental. Would I say I love it? No, but I’m not mad at it either.
- Alright, here’s my final take – “Hot Sause” is a good song; the chorus could grow on with time. However, I feel it failed to highlight any distinct feature of NCT DREAM. No exact section of this track wowed me because all I could think about was, “this an NCT 127 song.”
- I wish SM Entertainment gave them a song that showcased their unique flair while still maintaining the NCT quality.
- Although I’m still new to NCT DREAM, I truly enjoyed their mini-album Reload. That record was a fine mix of light EDM beats, R&B vocals, + pop music attributes. It felt fresh and very suiting for them. I’m all for experimenting with sounds, but if you don’t have a recognizable niche, what’s the point?
- Anyways, I hope the B-sides on the album come through for me.
- Hot Sauce – I already said all that needs to be said, so next!
- Diggity – Alright, It seems they went heavy with the classic NCT 127 sound for this album, so I’ll stop mentioning that factor now and solely base my opinions on if I enjoy a song or not. “Diggity” has quite a heavy EDM instrumental, but I love the little melodies that come in during the verses, + the chorus is catchy. I think this song fell easier on my ears than the title track. I love it.
- Dive Into You – This one is groovy, more melodic, and I love that I’m getting more singing parts. The synthesized guitar during the chorus is interesting. “Dive Into You” is a whole vibe and my favourite so far. I could see myself listening to it a lot.
- My Youth – The harmonies on this song are beautiful, + the vocal runs are top-notch. Honestly, why did they pick “Hot Sauce” as their title track? What were they thinking🤦🏼♀️? I was scared about this album at first, but the songs are not bad. The choice of the title track was just off. “My Youth” is a lovely song. I am living for the vocals and production on this track, so amazing!!
- Rocket – Okay, I love the bouncy beat on this track and once again, the vocals are perfect. The rappers came in with the rhythm on this one. “Rocket” makes me want to dance; it’s a party anthem. Ahh, I’m so mad at the title track😒.
- Countdown (3, 2, 1) – Oh, this one came hard with the rap sections and although it’s giving NCT 127 vibes. Yes, I mentioned it again😶, but I love this one a lot, even though it has that vibe. The instrumental is groovy and excites me. “Countdown (3, 2, 1)” is a BOP. I think I wouldn’t have been too frustrated if this song was the title track because it does have attributes that wow the listener.
- ANL – Now we’re back to the smooth vibes. I love this song’s instrumental. Don’t you all love when singers sing and not just scream? Or am I the only one that appreciates some good vocals??? “ANL” has the perfect balance of sweet voices, groovy raps and breathtaking harmonization. Another favourite of mine.
- Irreplaceable – From the intro of this song, I feel it’s going to impress. The production of the instrumental is rich. I’m not too big on the chorus, but overall, I love this track’s melody. “Irreplaceable” is another solid addition to the album.
- Be There For You – For some reason, I wasn’t expecting a slow song, but thankfully we have one. “Be There For You” is a lovely ballad, and I live for such relaxing, hit-me-with-feels type of songs. I enjoyed every second of the blissful vocal delivery and harmonies.
- Rainbow – Another slow track? Never mind, it’s more mid-tempo and a nice close to this album. I admire all NCT units because their vocal and rap deliveries are always on point. They bring it home 100% in that aspect, + SM tends to have sweet and clean production on their music. “Rainbow” is a charming song; I love it.
Alright, by now, you all should have realized how disappointed I am with the title track. It certainly wasn’t the best choice considering all the excellent picks they have on this album. Plus, if they were so determined to stick with the NCT 127 vibe, “Countdown (3, 2, 1)” or “Diggity” could have done a better job. “Hot Sauce” did not give what I was hoping for and almost ruined my listening experience of the album, but thankfully the B-sides showed me the light. Also, this is not me being harsh but rather truthful. NCT DREAM needs to be allowed to have their distinct sound. As the youngest unit, fresh and lighter songs with more vocal showcasing will suit them more. That’s all I have to say because I feel like this is turning into a rant.
My rating for NCT DREAM‘s 1st Album, Hot Sause, is 8.5/10.