While 2020 was a rough year for pretty much everyone, it wasn’t for NCT. The K-pop group had the most successful year in their career to date. We have listed some of these monumental moments for NCT along with highlights for its’ sub-units NCT 127, NCT Dream, and WayV. Come with us as we look back on how NCT made 2020 their year.
Neo Zone and becoming Million Sellers
When 2020 started with 127 dropping the video for ‘Dreams Come True’ and a note at the end saying “NCT 127 The New Album 2020.03.06.,” fans rightfully were beyond excited. Heavily 90s’ inspired in its sound, Neo Zone quickly became a favorite within the K-pop community, breaking records. With its repackage released later in May and lead track ‘Punch,’ this album pushed 127 into the “Million Sellers Club” and marking them as one of the industry’s top groups. This was also shown when 127 won the Best Artist Award at the Asian Artist Awards (AAA). This album has given us so many fan-favorites, such as ‘Boom,’ ‘Sit Down,’ ‘White Night,’ and more. It’s an album that defines not only 127’s career to date but 2020 as a whole.
Before the global pandemic caused live concerts to be canceled, NCT 127 made their debut at Rodeo Houston in March. It was the first time a K-pop group had performed at the Rodeo, and they filled the arena. It also was right after the release of their album Neo Zone, giving us the first concert performance of ‘Kick It.’ The boys even got individual cowboy belt buckles, and this event marked the start of many iconic performances from the group in 2020.
“Let me introduce ya to some new thangs.” Now, ‘Kick It’ deserves its own section in this article. This song arguably could be the SOTY (song of the year) for 2020 and significantly impacted the industry. It had all the makings of a hit, giving us the noise music from 127 we love, intense choreography, and a concept that stood out from the rest. Paying homage to the icon that is Bruce Lee, ‘Kick It’ not only became a favorite among fans but other idols, as it may be one of the most covered K-pop songs of the year.
Becoming a fixed unit
Before the announcement of their comeback in April, SM Entertainment announced that they would be doing away with their graduation system, and that Dream would become a fixed unit. Fans were beyond happy over the news, which many had been waiting for.
In April, Dream released their fourth mini-album Reload, showing us that the Dream boys are growing up. It was edgier than the usual pop comebacks we’ve seen from them, showing fans that they are refining their sound, maturing right before our eyes. This album not only marked the group’s growth but became Dream’s best-selling album to date, with all five songs breaking the Top 10 on the MelOn charts and lead track, ‘Ridin,’ peaking at No. 1. The album also landed them the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart and topped the iTunes charts in over 49 countries!
After this amazing comeback, Dream would go on to win several awards during the year, such as the Best Emotive Award at the AAA’s, Hot Performance of the Year at the Gaon Chart Music Awards, a Bonsang Award at the Seoul Music Awards, and a Disk Bonsang at the Golden Disc Awards!
The return of 7DREAM
With the fixed unit announcement also came the news that we would get 7DREAM again. Yes, Mark would be back for future promotions, and we got to see this during NCT 2020 with the release of ‘Déjà Vu.’ Not only is the song arguably one of Dream’s best, showing off a refined pop/noise sound, but seeing the seven members of this unit back together filled our hearts and was a monumental moment for Dream.
Awaken The World – WayV’s first full-length album
When WayV teased new songs during their Beyond Live concert back in May, fans were praying for a comeback announcement soon. And we got it! Not just a couple of songs, but WayV’s first full-length album. Awaken The World not only gave us hits like ‘Turn Back Time’ and ‘Bad Alive,’ but bops like ‘Electric Hearts’ and ‘After Midnight.’ It ended up being the first time the group charted on the Japanese music charts and had ‘Turn Back Time’ reaching No. 12 on the World Digital Song Sales Chart. Plus the English version of ‘Bad Alive’ charted at No. 1 on QQ Music’s Daily Digital Sales Chart. Awaken The World set the tone for WayV as a group, showcasing their talents as artists, and their journey as a standout group, such as with their win for Asia Celebrity Award at the AAA’s!
WayV is NCT
When rumors of NCT 2020 started floating around, fans were curious if WayV would be participating. There had never been an announcement about whether they were an official sub-unit of NCT (despite Kun, Ten, Lucas, and WinWin being members). Then, the official teasers dropped, and WayV were in on the comeback, confirming that WayV was NCT and welcoming Hendery, Xiaojun, and YangYang as official NCT members. Their inclusion brought us the hit ‘Nectar,’ a fan-favorite off of RESONANCE PT.1 and a song that showcases perfectly who WayV are; a group that can take the best parts of multiple genres, giving us C-pop at it’s finest.
“Ayo, listen up!” The surprise drop of NCT 2020 may be one of the top moments for K-pop in 2020. It brought together all their units and delivered a refined NCT sound. It gave us ‘Make A Wish,’ which became the MV with the highest views in 24 hours of any SM Entertainment artist (25.3 million), the emotional ballad ‘From Home,’ 90s throwback ’90’s Love’, and the EDM hit ‘Work it.’ This album explores different collaborations we could have only dreamed of, showing the versatility of NCT. It’s another album that put NCT in the “Million Sellers Club” with RESONANCE PT.1 earning over 1.2 million pre-orders and the best selling album for NCT overall. PT.1 earned the No. 1 spot on the Gaon Album Chart, as did RESONANCE PT.2. PT.1 even won the Album of the Year award at the AAA’s.
Meet Shotaro and Sungchan
While many were arguing over whether NCT 2020 would be OT18 or OT21, SM Entertainment said “Surprise!” and gave us OT23. This year we got to meet Shotaro and Sungchan, who debuted this year during NCT 2020. Shotaro became the 2nd Japanese member of NCT after Yuta, known for his insane dance skills. Sungchan impressed us all with his rap and vocal skills, with both boys earning a place in fans’ hearts the moment we met them. They did incredibly, from debuting on music shows to stepping up and standing out during the NCT: RESONANCE Global Wave Concert. We are proud of these two boys and cannot wait to see what the future has in store for them!
MAMA this year proved to be so good to NCT. NCT took home the awards for Favorite Male Group and Worldwide Fans’ Choice Top 10, plus WayV won the award for Favorite Asian Artist. Then, we were gifted with an iconic 20-minute performance that highlighted each sub-unit and the group as a whole. With Taeyong coming down from the sky like a magical being, the performance blew us away and had the entire K-pop world talking.
Beyond Live Concerts
While live in-person concerts were unable to happen for most of 2020, NCT took to the internet and gave us some of the most iconic stages during their Beyond Live concerts. The concerts broke records with their viewers and gave us a couple of hours of joy throughout the year. We got to see Love Talk live and Ten & WinWin’s ‘Lovely’ choreography, we got DJ Johnny and a dance battle between Yuta, Taeyong, and Mark during the 127 concert, Dream showed us how much their music had grown with their performances, and they ended with the NCT: RESONANCE Global Wave Concert, giving us the iconic ‘Nectar’ and “Without You’ stages. The group and its sub-units will give us the grand finale to 2020 with the SMTOWN LIVE “Culture Humanity” concert.
Yes, we know that SuperM is not an NCT unit. But, we have to take a moment to recognize the hard work that Mark, Taeyong, Ten, and Lucas put into the super group’s first full-length album, Super One. The album reached the No. 2 spot on the Billboard 200 and included multiple performances on shows such as Good Morning America, Ellen, and advocating for mental health during The Big Event by the World Health Organization. There was also the SuperM Beyond Live concert, in which the four boys performed (including their respective groups’ performances). Not to mention, they graced the covers of magazines such as Harper Bazaar China and saw ‘Tiger Inside’ entering the Gaon Digital Chart, the first song from the group to do so.
Bonus Bonus: What else were the members up to?
Okay, we have to mention some of the individual opportunities that some of NCT found for themselves this year. There are a few, such as Jaehyun and Doyoung scoring acting roles, Yuta earning his own radio show called NCT 127 ユウタの YUTA at Home, plus Chenle taking over for Renjun on Akdong Seoul, and we have to give a shout out to Haechan Radio! Johnny got to host his DJ session titled Sunny Side Up and was a guest speaker at the 2020 World Cultural Industry Forum; he and Jaehyun also had a spread in the May issue of W Korea. Ten and Xiaojun were featured on GINJO’s song ‘The Riot,’ the ‘Work It’ unit featured in Vogue Korea, and 127’s maknae line (Jungwoo, Mark and Haechan) were featured in Star 1.
2020 was the year of NCT, and we can’t wait to see them continue to own their success and make 2021 theirs as well. So, which moment was your favorite? Have one that we didn’t put on our list? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us, @TheHoneyPOP!
Need more NCT in your life? Let us introduce ya to some new thangs.
Featured Image Source: NCT via Twitter