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Rant and Rave: ‘Glitch Mode’ sets the universe ablaze

Ever since NCT’s debut six years ago as NCT U, they have blasted straight into the hearts of many with their futuristic, out-of-the-box concepts and performances. But with 23 members under their belt, dividing the group into different subunits seems like the best option to provide each individual with their rightful time in the spotlight. 

Indeed, NCT’s subunit of its youngest members—NCT DREAM (DREAM)—launches a new set of full-blown hits with their sophomore album, Glitch Mode. This album opens up a universe with new worlds, stories, and beginnings. And while unfamiliar paths may seem frightening, DREAM ensures its listeners’ contentment with the stories they tell. 

With 11 new tracks delving into light R&B, hip-hop, and acoustic genres, the group’s solid yet fun delivery makes each of its seven members shine in their respective ways. No matter how diverse their discography is, the group maintains unparalleled energy that perfectly encapsulates Generation Z’s youthful, exuberant aura. 

Closed beta test 

Glitch Mode serves fresh and playful bops that immediately get listeners lost in the rhythm while dancing to its addictive beats. With some of the album’s songs written by the members themselves, each melody takes fans to places one has never been to. The album embodies NCT’s signature style of releasing title tracks that are built on buffered beats which reflect what goes on in their mind. 

DREAM’s gig as the new kids on the block effectively kicks off with Fire Alarm. Although it may not be the cleanest track present, it perfectly encapsulates the album’s energetic essence with synth sirens, chants, and fast-paced beat drops. The song’s overall production compellingly headstarts the album and prepares listeners for its next track, Glitch Mode. From its overall composition to the lyrics, the title track does not disappoint, driving fans crazy as with its unusual musical mixes; such is observed during the song’s pre-chorus where Renjun’s soothing vocals gradually build up to fit Mark’s hip-hop verse. 

Like in their past songs STRONGER and Life Is Still Going On, DREAM continues to empower listeners in Arcade, an exciting buzzer that reflects the excitement one gets from playing games. It seems that lead vocalist Haechan won DREAM’s game by ending the song with a high note. With its intermediate pace, this track constructively transitions us to the album’s more mellow songs.

It’s Yours and Teddy Bear both deliver endearing and caring messages—providing the warmth found in DREAM’s fire. These two tracks also unveil the scope of each member’s assets, especially with Mark’s calming voice in Teddy Bear. These songs prove that despite the group’s signature high notes and fast raps, DREAM can deliver heartwarming tracks reminiscent of soft raps and lullabies.

After passing by the album’s calming checkpoints, Replay brings back listeners to the album’s more energetic set of tracks. Like Arcade, the track’s arrangement has an intermediate pace consisting of light instrumentals interpolated by the members’ energetic singing and adlibs. The lyrics “Play, play, play, play, play” is also evident in the track just like NCT U’s Baby Don’t Stop. However, unlike NCT U’s sensual delivery of the lyrics, DREAM approaches it in a more playful manner, further highlighting DREAM’s image as NCT’s charming, youthful subunit. 

Reload

It’s always surprising everytime DREAM shows off their edgy side in contrast with their cute concepts; this explains why Saturday Drip is such a banger. With DREAM’s rappers dropping bars and hip-hop beats, the song shows how the members’ skills developed to tackle cool and sensual concepts like in their previous songs 119, Drippin’, and Diggity

On the other hand, Better Than Gold juxtaposes the former song with its retro-R&B flair. Its impeccable arrangement keeps one grooving from start to finish with its crescending synth tones and funky instrumental segments. Just like their past song, Irreplaceable also acts as a happy pill which reminds listeners that one’s worth is “more than gold.” Similarly, Drive delivers the positive message in an acoustic manner, creating an environment for one to relax just like how NCT 127’s song, Roadtrip, makes audiences feel. 

To cap it all off, Never Goodbye and Rewind take a soft yet upbeat approach, allowing one to digest and treasure the routes crossed by the entire album. These two songs hint at nostalgia, making one reminisce happy memories and encouraging one to love again. With so much to offer, DREAM’s efforts in their album are noteworthy enough to deserve a rewind. 

What a blast

Glitch Mode is a journey to different parts of the DREAM universe; but with such expansive takes, it feels like there is more to uncover. For now, the album’s journey involving growth, friendship, and love feels like a trip that is worth every cent. 

From the production, the lyrics, to the choreography, NCT DREAM’s second album captures a whole new side of the group through their refined perspective on adulthood and life in their adventure in a new dimension. With their own spin on the famed NCT elements—catchy, harmonious, and experimental—this album embodied who they are as artists and how much they have grown since. 

Surpassing everyone’s expectations, DREAM reaches new heights, surprising and encouraging listeners to groove to the beat, reminding that happiness can also be experienced by just living in the moment. The group’s latest release is definitely enough to get audiences into the glitch mode, especially with the members’ swoon-worthy, breathtaking variety of talents.

Rating: 4.0/4.0

By Addie Holgado

By Mikaela Vallesteros

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