Last fall, NCT 127 teased the possibility of a deluxe repackaging of their 2 Baddies album by telling Billboard to “look forward to being surprised by something unexpected.” Four months after the LP earned the K-pop boy band their second top 3 entry on the Billboard 200, the group unveils their Ay-Yo – The 4th Album Repackage album with three new songs, including the sleek title track single.
While NCT 127’s previous title track “2 Baddies” seized listeners’ attention with its unrelenting chant chorus, the group’s latest takes a much more subtle approach with looping beats, delicate piano accents, and a surging, synthesizer-led chorus. Like they teased last year, the guys themselves also bring out unexpected musical moments in “Ay-Yo,” like when the silky-voiced vocalist Jaehyun kicks off the second verse with a rap section.
The accompanying music video is a mash of surprise delights too. Members like Doyoung and Jaehyun serve their best James Bonds with slick black outfits among a backdrop reminiscent of inside a pistol barrel as made famous in the 007 movies.
Meanwhile, leader Taeyong pulls off what will be one of 2023’s most shocking hairstyles with punky, pointy spikes that fans have found reminiscent of NCT label mates and K-pop pioneers TVXQ! and Super Junior.
In between the release of 2 Baddies and Ay-Yo, NCT 127 released a music video for their b-side “1, 2, 7 (Time Stops)” and held concerts in North America, Asia and Latin America as part of their Neo City – The Link world tour. The guys only wrapped their last show on Jan. 28 at Mexico City’s Palacio de los Deportes arena before dropping this new LP that includes its title track, the previously teased “DJ” plus hip-hop/pop hybrid “Skyscraper.”
Watch Taeyong, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Taeil, Mark, Yuta, Johnny, Jungwoo and Haechan in “Ay-Yo” below.