Stop. Rewind. Turn back time. Every Saturday leading up to the release of NCT’s Universe, we will take a walk down memory lane to last year’s release, RESONANCE! From the music to the moments shared with the members, NCT 2020 was an unforgettable experience. In our second installment, we deep-dive into the title track music videos released during the era.

RESONANCE saw something that had never been done in their previous full-team project. Over the course of two months, it boasted four NCT U singles, two from each part. This is also reflected in their music videos; from “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)” to “Work It,” the Neos showcased a new, exciting side. With that, let’s take a look at the music videos of the album’s NCT U singles.

Let’s Start, We Gon’ Fly

As RESONANCE’s first promoting NCT U lineup, expectations were on the rise for “Make A Wish (Birthday Song).” Not only did it feature members from the “BOSS” lineup (Taeyong, Doyoung, Jaehyun, and Lucas), but it also became the NCT U debut for the other members (Xiaojun, Jaemin, and Shotaro). The teaser released two days before the actual music video only fueled the excitement. Sporting glamorous streetwear and glimmering jewelry, the members stroll in a dimly-lit street. A bass-filled beat and a captivating whistle hook play in the background.

They indeed did not disappoint. After a brief close-up shot, the familiar instrumental from the teaser begins to play. Soon, Taeyong slides into view, rapping the first verse. The video alternates between a cinematic 16:9 ratio and more dynamic widescreen shots, which feature transitions in various geometric shapes and objects. Following its theme of exploring infinite possibilities from making a wish, “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)” incorporates mesmerizing effects. These effects include the kaleidoscopic and fish-eye lens shots, colorful backgrounds and frames, and bright, flickering light throughout the video.

The charismatic subunit members cement “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)” as a memorable NCT track. From the smooth rap, iconic dance moves, to gorgeous falsettos, they further elevate the ’00s hip-hop-influenced track. Each member receives his own close-up shots on different sets: the dark street from the teaser, swinging from a giant chandelier, surrounded by carpets, and more. Compared to the swift group dance shots, these are slower and more intimate. As the song comes to an end, the members stand in a line with a red cloth each in hand. And with a swish, they make a graceful exit.

When We Shine Bright, I’m Alive

“From Home” is NCT’s love letter to NCTzens. They share their dreams and walk together to make them come true. The R&B ballad quickly warms the hearts of its listener after its release. With their amazing voices and multilingual prowess, Taeil, Yuta, Kun, Doyoung, Renjun, Haechan, and Chenle come together for the track and music video.

Nostalgia plays a huge role in “From Home.” With the click of a tape, we see the title card on a small TV screen. The use of 4:3 ratio mirrors the experience of watching old home videos. As the rest of the members film their outdoor trip with their retro camcorders, Chenle lovingly watches them in a warm, comfortable living room. The music video also showcases beautiful scenery. Its use of wide and panoramic shots makes it distinct from the other RESONANCE title track videos. Combined with the members’ angelic voices, the beach, grass fields, and the woods leave viewers in awe. (They also make great gadget wallpapers.)

Unlike the studio version, there’s a pleasant twist to the “From Home” music video. After Taeil’s high note in the bridge, the screen fades to black. Soon, the music shifts into a soft piano instrumental, and a slideshow of the subunit members’ childhood pictures appear. Alongside the slideshow, the NCT members express their gratitude: “谢谢. Danke schön. ありがと. Gracias. ขอบคุณ ครับ. Thank you. 고마워.” With fans expressing their wholesome messages online, this scene definitely marks one of the most emotional Ncity moments to date.

This Is How We Do It

Ten, Winwin, Mark, Jeno, Haechan, Yangyang, and Sungchan are charming ice hockey players in “90’s Love.” The single was the first to come out of RESONANCE Pt. 2 on November 23, 2020. Described as “an old school R&B hip-hop song with exciting upbeats, groovy drums, and bass lines,” it was no doubt that the Neos had something new to offer. A day before its release, SM Entertainment released the music video teaser.

We see an aerial view of the hockey rink when the music video begins—team NCT U Dinosaurs is playing against the Gorillas. As the game becomes intense, the shot quickly changes to individual member portraits, all in the style of collectible athlete trading cards. This isn’t the only nostalgic reference to the eponymous decade. True to its title, the music video has many elements that resemble the ’90s. These include simple and “ripped paper” transitions, gym hall dance scenes, and 3D video game animation.

Beyond its throwback, the “90’s Love” music video is packed with SM Culture Universe (SMCU) lore. With lyrics mentioning “KWANGYA” and “KOSMO,” some NCTzens have theorized its relevance in the NCT universe (or multiverse, if that’s what you’re inclined to). Interestingly, the music video heavily features a blue and orange color scheme, which mainly manifests in the lighting. These are none other than the colors featured in the Past and Future versions of RESONANCE Pt. 1, respectively. This makes “90’s Love” all the more intriguing to watch.

I Wanna See You Dance, Dance

Being the last promoted NCT U track didn’t make “Work It” lose momentum. As the song was already available ahead of the music video, NCTzens couldn’t wait to see it come to life. Sure enough, their expectations remained high when exactly a day prior, the teaser came out. Dancing to the catchy, feel-good beat were Johnny, Yuta, Ten, Jungwoo, Hendery, Jaemin, and Jisung in colorful attire.

Just like the post-“90’s Love” stinger, Jisung is spinning on a playground roundabout. He smoothly transitions into colorful lights. “We steppin’ out, Czennies tell us right,” Jaemin raps. “Hot like the sun, we’re excited.” And sure they are. Throughout the music video, the members feel themselves to the beat. Their dandy outfits mixed with the social media “snippets” evoke the feeling of letting go of one’s life hardships.

“Work It” is arguably the most dynamic RESONANCE title track music video. It incorporates rapid shots on individual close-ups and the group dance scenes. In addition to the fluid camera movements, the music video makes good use of quirky transitions. These include the “zap” leading to the second verse, the Johnny-to-Jaemin “ball-passing” shot, and the “wormhole” before the penultimate rap verse. Topped with colorful backgrounds, graphic motion, and words from the lyrics, “Work It” is a vibrant three-minute fest.

The RESONANCE era music videos are stunning in that they bring out NCT’s different charms. With Universe around the corner, we can’t wait to see what they have in store next!

Missed out on the previous Neo Culture Throwback piece? Check out the eight gems from RESONANCE here.