Disorienting experience that will leave you damaged.
Let’s see what we have here!
Sticker is a very interesting release. It is inaccesible for the general public, it is engineered in a disoreinting way, it feels like you are trapped in a quicksand of cacophonous spikes. It feels better this way, but you also think its unethical. It is surely NCT’s best attempt at the neosound. It takes what SM does decades ago with better cadence and structure.
The song’s lyrics are nothing short of a kindergarten’s imagination. It is wide but limited. It cannot fully grasp the reality and the cynical lyrics more than add nothing to the table. It is another bragadoccio lyric. We have heard this for 50 million times at this point. It offers nothing.
The song actually presents an exceptional instrumentation, featuring a slithering flute that is very aromatic to the senses. It provides a rather poor but soft touch to the song. The use of a distorted bass line and a distorted guitar line is also a long time strategy of Yoo Young-jin, although not my favorite producer, he is actually not that bad here.
The dynamics of each instrument shine, the depth is very emphasized in each nook and cranny of the song. The pre-chorus draws in a very cadenced and rhythmic flow, an attempt that I have never seen NCT tackle since Regular. It is like the successor of Regular in many ways, it presents a very stable and cohesive structure.
The lethargic nature of the song is in so much ways like what BTS did with ON. I know I’m gonna get dragged by saying this. But the plodding and almost limp direction is then saved by the magnetic and enormous bridge, which also collapses in a hollow chorus, but is ultimately survived by the cadence. That is one of the quirks BTS and TXT have used in one of their most challenging releases and it certainly shows here.
The song is very hard to understand, and this also might be the first time I am not really sure what I feel about the song. I cannot comprehend the approach to this but I can see how they did it, what they did and why it is appealing to some people. However, the audience have judged. It is NCT’s most polarizing and for a reason.
On first listen, I cannot believe that they did a very advanced sound design in this track, the track was almost designed in a way that the vocals were in the right side of the ear and the instruments were in the left. I thought the song was very crazy and cynic to have done this. Fortunately, it was just my headphones cracking up.
However, the mixing in this track is very attenuated. It makes the song so strong and it rubs your ears in a cacophony of spikes that just hurts to listen. The vocal distortions of NCT was a nice stylistic choice and the spikes also must have hurt what you first heard that part. It is just badly engineered with an intention of catering towards the technical people. Unfortunately, you have to balance the critics and audiences.
The musical style was absolutely poor in this song. The song is so rich in textures because of the mixing and the sound design, but the song in its core is nothing. It is flawed, cracking and hollow. The neo style that NCT frequently uses doesn’t really lay anything new to this song, it just makes it even more languid and plodding.
The song’s production is so polarizing that it feels great, vivid and at its climax. However, the middling and unsatisfying direction and engineering this song has is so utterly bad that it ends up on a quicksand. It made its own trap from the beauty of trap. It is quite interesting that a song this polarizing qould be great right? But in all honestly, the vision was grandiose and the execution was better than obvious.
The song is disorienting, cynic and cohesive. It definitely works but for what it intends it definitely is inaccesible to more people than many of their tracks. It does a riveting turn but it does suceed at attenuating this lucid atmosphere. The sound design is brilliant but also unabashedly psychotic.
How about you? What do you think? Let me know your thoughts below!
Producers: Yoo Young-jin, Dem Jointz, Ryan S. Jhun
Songwriters: Mark, Taeyong, Yoo Young-jin, Dem Jointz, Ryan S. Jhun, Calixte, Prince Chapelle