Monday, March 28th, 2016

Nu’est – Overcome

Today, we celebrate the resurrection of our saviour… drops!


Brad Shoup: Finally, a chivalric update of “773 Love.”

Madeleine Lee: When NU’EST debuted in early 2012, their promotional line was “We have put dubstep in our K-pop songs.” (Even post-“Bubble Pop!,” that was still something worth declaring, and then the concept of dubstep in K-pop songs was pounded to death for the next couple of years.) The dubstep breaks are actually more of a disruption than a feature in NU’EST’s first two singles “Face” and “Action,” but as K-pop has learned to integrate Western pop trends more artfully, so have they. There’s a much less jarring bridge in 2014’s underrated “Good Bye Bye,” and a dust storm of vworps and wubs makes up the background of “Overcome,” sometimes stirring quietly, other times overwhelming. The overall effect is reminiscent of the mix of smooth melodies and electronic thumps done by SM’s R&B-based boy bands, the best examples of which are SHINee’s “Symptoms” and EXO’s “Black Pearl.” While “Overcome” never quite achieves the headiness or humidity of those songs — maybe that recurring cha-cha preset is a little too cheery — it stays true to NU’EST, while also taking them in a new direction.

Patrick St. Michel: Plenty of pop stars have tried to absorb sounds that captured attention primarily online — some actually got Cashmere Cat to produce instead of sending somebody an e-mail linking to “Mirror Maru” with the note “like this, please” — but Nu’est’s “Overcome” actually manages to retain the playfulness of the stuff in your (uhhh, my?) SoundCloud feed. This is a ballad, as the first stretch post-chorus reveals, but slathered in wet synth and Jersey Club signifiers. The drama is still there, but masked in at-times sloppy sounds, which is far more fun and interesting than your typical boy band string-laden affair. Part of my enthusiasm for this — and GOT7’s “Fly” — simply stems from seeing free-wheeling netlabel styles absorbed by big-name K-pop labels, but “Overcome’s” ability to merge emotional tension with box-springs makes it strong all its own.

Jessica Doyle: Aron and Ren trading off is far and away the best part of “Overcome,” and if I could I’d subtract the rap and one of Baekho’s choruses to give them more space. That said, this is a strong song, with a performance video to match. I now understand why I spent some time last fall playing APeace’s “Lover Boy” over and over: I was waiting for this to come out.

Edward Okulicz: I was hooked from the first few seconds, which promised nothing less than a K-pop take on Ciara’s “Promise,” and only slightly disappointed when it only returns to that mood for a few seconds. But at the moment I’m all about songs with abrupt beat changes and “Overcome” has beats which sound like the violent movement of tectonic plates.

Jonathan Bogart: Dungeons & Dragons-pop remains a highly underserved market, not because of tired nerdworld clichés about some inseparable cultural divide between fantasy-loving nerds and pop-loving normies (all pop is fantasy, all games are pop), but because pop tends to shy away from specificity, letting the listener fill in the broad emotional strokes with lived texture, while fantasy storytelling tends to revel in textural minutiae, often at the expense of emotional coherence. Nu’est manages to split the difference, namechecking an assortment of fairytale imagery while relying on the big sweeping blurt of the music to provide the emotional welter of their fantasy world. I have no idea if this song (and necessary MV) are a one-off or part of a larger saga, but it’s satisfying all on its own.

Iain Mew: Luxurious, but not that exciting, like Sky-Hi’s “Limo” if it refused to ever carry out its spaceship transformation.

Thomas Inskeep: American hip-hop and R&B is sampling/interpolating a shitload of ’90s R&B right now (cf. Tory Lanez’s “Say It,” Zendaya’s “Something New,” etc.), but no one is understanding its essence quite like K-pop producers. Super-swoony romantic lyrics (“Yeah, I’m your knight and I’ll save you from sadness”) pair with production reminiscent of ‘NSync at their R&B-est and you get swept off your feet. Or I do, at least, because this is pretty damn close to perfect. 

Josh Winters: Damn, this is sick. It cycles from paralyzing Ciara-esque slow jams to feverish Bmore-lite to chilly Soundcloud-dubstep — just about every internet subgenre revival epidemic this decade — all before it reaches the 2nd stage. If my current body temperature wasn’t as freezing cold as the Arctic landscape in the video (and the sonic references not as tired and achy), I’d be pulling out every single move from my notepad, trying to sweat out the sickness like I just got the flu.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: The choruses have many of the elements i enjoy most in a Pop/R&B song — interesting synth dynamics, a beautifully sung high-pitched lead vocal, well-mixed harmonies– but i don’t hear that consistency in the verses, and JR’s rapped bridge sounds disoriented at times. That jazzy coda deserves an extra point, though.

Juana Giaimo: “Overcome” is all about exteriorizing feelings in an extreme way, in the sense that even if I can’t understand what Nu’est is singing about, I know that they aren’t indifferent to it. 

Reader average: [7.42] (7 votes)

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4 Responses to “Nu’est – Overcome”

  1. Aggy as hell that I didn’t check this song, but this is definitely hitting 7-9 territory for me on first listen.

  2. Despite being one of the low (“low”) scores here, I’m happy this did well and can’t wait to see Overcome next to Overcome in the sidebar

  3. Overcome is the new Wut

  4. this overcome is 0.01 point better than the last one