It doesn't feel like that long ago that SM's arguably youngest group and NCT unit NCT Dream debuted, but it was way back in August last year that "Chewing Gum" was released. It's however clear that it's been a while judging by the concept of this comeback compared to their debut and definitely my reaction towards it. If you remember I wrote just a short piece about their debut and although it was a perfectly good debut I also had a hard time watching the MV and watching them perform as it felt like I was watching a bunch of kids, which I guess they are, but still. It was too childish for me to take interest, simply put. With this comeback with "My First And Last" however the boys of NCT Dream (minus Jaemin who's been injured) have grown from middle school kids to high school teenagers, which is a concept I can get behind.
In this comeback the "dreamies", as fans lovingly call the boys, are experiencing their first crush, but the twist is that it's their teacher who's the object of their interest. It's definitely another cute and innocent concept and the boys are of course still very young but at least this feels more like them being teenage boys rather than children. All of the members are in high school except for the youngest two, I believe, but for being 15-18 years old this image suits them much better than the one for "Chewing Gum". The song is also heaps better, with a funky pop vibe and a chorus that is likable immediately at first listen. Although I like NCT 127's music releases I can't deny that this sound is more public friendly, which might be why this unit recently experiences their first music show win and not their older counterpart.
"My First And Last" is arguably a great tune and the lyrics are just adorable. Even though they're singing vividly about their feelings towards their crush it's still in a very naive and innocent way. There are lines such as "I don't know what being tipsy feels like but I feel drunk when I'm with you" and the general wish to keep this first love as their last and only love, which is super sweet. They're still young and inexperienced but are obviously still certain about their feelings and emotions. I like that there are no real sexual undertones to their confessions, but the lyrics don't give off the feeling of childishness either which makes for a great middle-ground to match the concept of the group.
The MV for the song is just as sweet and heart-warming, as the boys portray students crushing on their teacher like I mentioned earlier. Thus the majority of the video takes place in school surroundings, such as the classroom and the gym. The basic plot is that they want to find a way to impress their teacher and come up with the brilliant idea to build their own cars made out of cardboard, thus making them sneak into school late at night to steal some building material. In the end however it is revealed that said teacher is not only married but also has a baby; killing all hope of a future romance. Of course this was to be expected but I think we can all relate to that time in your life when you had crushes that could never turn into more but still hoped because that's what you do when you're young and naive. This video captures that feeling very well and I think it will speak to a broad audience since we've all either been there or are there.
"Chewing Gum" had an awesome dance routine based partly on the use of hover-boards and while this one do not I actually like it a lot more. Choreographed by Tony Testa, who has worked with many other SM groups previously, this routine both fits the funky vibe of the song and has awesome formations, creative moves and variety. So much actually it might be my favorite NCT choreography after "The 7th Sense". Tony Testa's work can either be a hit or a miss to me but this one he totally nailed.
Overall I've enjoyed this comeback much more than I expected to, mostly thanks to an awesome song, great choreography but above all an upgrade in concept. It went from being too childish for me to take interest in to something I genuinely like and want to support. I do think that them showing a slightly more grown-up image definitely paid off as even noona-fans like myself can enjoy the unit without feeling too creepy. I can't wait to see where this group will go in the future and hopefully Jaemin can be with them next time as well.