Album Review: ’Reload’ The New Generation of KPOP


NCT DREAM, SM Entertainment

Devorah Segura, Reporter

The popular Korean based group NCT DREAM comes back after 9 months since their last release with their highly anticipated mini album ‘Reload’. The group accumulated over 500,000 orders in the 15-day pre-order window and gained over 380,000 in the first day sales. 


The group has already proved themselves to be a versatile and talented group, by being the first Asian artists to be listed twice in a row (2018 and 2019) on Billboard’s “21 under 21” and have proved themselves again with their latest release. 


The album ‘Reload’ came out on April 29 at 6 p.m. KST, along with the music video of their title track “Ridin”. On first day of release, the EP consisting of 5 tracks, debuted at #1 in 49 different counties and topped the World albums chart and reached #2 on Billboard’s Social Top 50. 


They open up the gates and rev up the engines for the EP with their title track ”Ridin”,  a song combining both rock and urban trap elements. Consisting of strong beats and heavy bass lines paired with the powerful lyrics on NCT DREAM’s passion in their work and newfound aspirations as they are ‘walking into a new path’. Followed by the stellar “Quiet Down”, the EDM hip-hop synth track highlights the group’s chic charisma and powerful sound. The powerful lyrics encourage listeners to not be trapped or held back by material things and rumors that circulate. Instead,  focus on believing in themselves. Criticizing the media whirlwind that swirls around the world of “fake news”, requesting that those who spread it need to “Quiet Down!” 


On the more purely R&B-pop side of the EP, NCT DREAM is able to equally pull off the effortless sound of being love sick on a summer day. Continuing on with track “7 Days”, with an impressive refreshing R&B sound. The lyrics express the excitement of a growing crush to love and the thoughts that run through one’s mind while awaiting a response to their confession. The group proposes a different question with the repetition of “7 days a week”, with each question heightening the curiosity of the other’s feelings. Followed by “Love Again”, a 90s inspired hip-hop track with old school bass and an unbeat and bright sound. The song marking the final installment of the groups “first love” trilogy series, that started with their 2017 release “My First and Last” and followed by their 2019 release of “Bye My First…”. The lyrics of this 90s inspired track calmly face the realities of a breakup with your first love and raises the question of what the end of a first love looks and feels like. Unlike the upbeat sound of the melody, it’s paired with lyrics of heartbreak and the realization of one “not being able to remember being hurt” and the daunting reality of the feelings of the one you once called your true love, not feeling the same any longer. 


The EP ends with a heartwarming acoustic track titled “Puzzle Piece” with some of the lyrics being written by members Jeno and Jaemin. The lyrics relate to a relationship between two people as a puzzle put together, piece by piece, conveying the emotions of a grateful heart for a precious relationship that was built together over time. The track concludes with the group expressing that the one they love is their “missing puzzle piece” solving their scattered pieces while becoming their everything. 


Each song on ‘Reload’ sounds like the type of music you dream of hearing at an unbearably cool party surrounded by those you love on a warm summer day. Making the EP meticulously unique and fun from second to second no matter where you listen to it. Although NCT DREAM’s EP is short, the feeling behind the lyrics and the captivating aura of the melodies and beats easily making it one of the best releases of 2020.