N.Flying made their comeback on the second of this month, with new member Yoo Hoeseung (who participated in reality group survival program Produce 101) as one of the main vocalists, with their second mini album THE REAL: N.Flying!
1) Let’s Get Down To It
The intro has a nice soft rock start but blends right into being undeniably dance-y. I listened to this one over and over again to find something about it to comment on, and what stood out the most was how very techno/club/dance it is when I was expecting rock right away. If you pay attention to the vocals they are really rather pretty and the song itself is a simple dance track.
2) The Real
Being the title track on the album was a good call. It starts off with a strong rock rap (which is always a good thing) and stays solidly rock while mixing in a very bouncy dance rhythm. The vocals are more rock in the chorus than the instrumental is. The verses are really fun and hard not to bob along with and the lyrics are easy to pick up on and sing along to. The “ding-dong-dang-dong” lyrics are super catchy. The rap break for the bridge is really well done and the rock influence is somehow both subtle and glaringly apparent. After the rap, the vocals fill you with even more rocky gritty goodness. You will want to listen to this track again.
3) I’m Okay
This one was reminiscent of early 2000s soft alt rock in America for me. The vocals aren’t technically very “strong” but they have a distinct emotional pull to them. The chorus is definitely more pop ballad but the instrumental is a weird but not off-putting mix of rap/R&B pop ballad with just enough rock in the backing to not feel totally foreign to the genre.
4) Don’t Mess With Me
The intro made me feel very nostalgic and the rapping immediately made me smile. There’s something so warmly familiar about this track. I don’t favor comparing bands but I can’t deny how much this song reminds me of “Oh My Friend” by Big Bang, and that lulls me even deeper into a nostalgic sway. It stands out as more “rock” sounding than its predecessors. It’s got a very heavy punk influence and the build ups to the choruses are fantastic. Honestly, it’s just a really fun song and I know I’ll be listening to it again.
5) Say Goodbye
The most “hard rock” track on the album by far. For sure a shout-out to the band’s self-claimed genre. The guitar and percussion are not only obviously talented but, for lack of a better word – tasty. The bridge is a fantastic rock break down. This song is exactly what I had in mind when I decided to listen to a new-ish K-Rock band. You know a song is properly “rock” when you start wanting to throw furniture around.
6) R U Ready?
Not rock? This one made me want to start up a conversation about what we classify as “rock” anymore. Is it just playing your own instruments? Is it not being choreographed/dancing in your music videos? What is it? An interesting topic for another time maybe? Regardless, this track is catchy. It’s a hard dance anthem in my ears, with some very slight rock elements. The rap verses lent to a feeling of very mixed genres but the music doesn’t sound confused by this. The sound is solid, I just had no idea what to call it at first.
Overall: The production quality is even and everything fits together. The instruments are balanced both in use and in the mix. You don’t find yourself looking for anything that’s particularly lacking. It’s a solid album and an enjoyable listen. That being said, not very much stands out to me about the album as a whole. A couple tracks are really fun; and maybe my views on “rock” are a little biased (I’m used to more hard rock from Japanese musicians) but as a group who classifies as rap rock, I just didn’t find exactly what I was looking for. I respect any Korean musician who breaks the mold a little bit and even just identifying as a rock group is not heard of that often, which makes it a competitive genre to break through. The album is a nice addition to this year’s collection of music, N.Flying will be on my radar for the future, and I recommend at least giving it a listen!
Here’s their M/V for The Real! Make sure to check out their comeback stages too!