K-Pop Comeback Spotlight: NCT DREAM – 4th Mini-Album “RELOAD”

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NCT DREAM dared to show a different side of them for their recent comeback—and their upgraded charms will leave you hooked.

For their return with the mini-album RELOAD and its title track “Ridin'”, NCT DREAM highlighted how much they had grown up over the years. By proving that they are indeed teenagers no more, the six boys had all let go of their youthful charms and traded it for a darker look and charisma.

nct dream

RELOAD Comeback Countdown Timeline

Although SM Entertainment made the announcement of NCT DREAM’s return on April 14, the group’s first formal comeback teaser arrived on April 20 through a teaser photo showing them at a carnival.

Later in the day, they also unveiled a hip crew video which captivated fans.

nct dream

NCT DREAM then followed up with their comeback scheduler and a new group teaser photo on the next day, further boosting the excitement of fans towards their scheduled comeback on April 29.

nct dream

nct dream

From April 22 to 25, the group sequentially released sets of teaser photos and videos for all four b-side tracks forming the loaded musical roster for RELOAD.

Aside from individual teaser photos, they also shared a track poster and video preview for the songs “Puzzle Piece”, “7 Days”, “Love Again”, and “Quiet Down”, respectively.

On April 26 and 27, the group followed with back-to-back releases of their dazzling individual teaser photos for RELOAD. Coming in the versions “Rollin'” and “Ridin'”, the snapshots of Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung further boosted the excitement for their return.

Lastly, NCT DREAM treated fans to a music video teaser for “Ridin'” on the day before its release. Through this, the group gave a sneak peek of the intensity they will show this time around.

RELOAD First Impression

A powerful “youth swag” indeed was what NCT DREAM showed through their newest mini-album’s title track. With an urban trap rhythm that jolts you awake, “Ridin” radiated intensity with its heavy bass lines and thundering beats.

Aside from its catchy tune, the song will also catch listeners’ attention with how it portrayed NCT DREAM’s passion and aspirations for moving toward a new path.

In line with this, “Ridin” proved to be very different compared to the NCT DREAM sound that we all grew up with. This time, the boys are giving a bolder and more electrifying musical color with an aim to show that they had, indeed, grown up and matured as well.

Among the showcases of the group’s vocal prowess worth noting in “Ridin'” were the beautiful harmonies between Renjun and Haechan as well as Chenle’s high note towards the end.

Jaemin and Jeno also got to display stronger sides of them as rappers, while Jisung captivated everyone with his already deep baritone being huskier in the song.

RELOAD also contained a rich selection of four b-sides, which boasted a variety of genres that set each song apart from the other.

This includes the EDM hip hop song “Quiet Down”, whose beats were as intense as its message of believing in ourselves instead of being swayed by rumors and fantasies.

The charms of the R&B song “7 Days” also came from its refreshing sound, which perfectly captured the youthfulness and sweet image of the group.

Meanwhile, the track “Love Again” marked the end of the group’s “first love” concept that ran in their previous mini-albums’ b-sides “My First and Last” and “Bye My First…”. It also gave a nostalgic feeling, especially to older listeners, with its old school sound.

Lastly, the song “Puzzle Piece” radiated warmth and sweetness all throughout – starting from the fact that members Jeno and Jaemin participated in writing its lyrics.

“Ridin'” MV Afterthoughts

Just like the song itself, the music video for “Ridin'” showed a different DREAM. Gone were the cute young boys pulling off a light and refreshing concept, for the new release from the NCT sub-unit rendered an even more intense aura than what they showcased with “BOOM”, their previous comeback.

They also took on a bolder and darker look aligned with most of their male idol group seniors, as if to say that they are more than ready to roll out their more matured side this time around.

Displaying the group’s dynamic and free-spirited energy, “Ridin'” delivered sensuous visual beauty through various colorful lights and neon signs. This was also complemented by the six boys’ striking styling and outfits which exhibited their upgraded charms.

Showing their strength as dancers as well, the music video directed the spotlight to their trendy hip hop performances which maximized their speed and explosive energy.

Filled with body rolls and snappy steps, the captivating choreography of “Ridin'” made the thought of how amazing it would be to see them perform this song live as the first thing that entered our minds upon watching the music video—and we’re 100% sure that NCT DREAM will prove us right.

Photos and videos from SM Entertainment