Reload - EP
It turns out that 2020 has been a crucial year for the youthful NCT sub-unit. The graduation system that cycled in new members as others aged out at 20 was scrapped, allowing the Dream Team of Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, Jisung, and original member Mark (who is currently in SuperM and NCT 127 as well) to stay together as well as explore other in-group combinations. The EP’s freewheeling energy, especially on the hit single “Ridin’,” feels natural given this new job security. Youthful exuberance spills out on “7 Days” and “Love Again,” both tricked out with glossy R&B and hip-hop. Attitude flashes on “Quiet Down,” a stiff rebuke to haters (“Fake news, turn that shh down”), but Reload closes on a tender note, “Puzzle Piece,” an acoustic ballad tousled with Jeno’s blink-and-you-missed-it bar.