For me, Mark’s voice is synonymous with NCT’s music. Early on, he was in every unit, bringing a sense of cohesion to the sprawling project. I’m actually surprised he hasn’t released a solo song yet. But with the advent of NCT Lab – a platform for solo works from NCT’s many members – we’ve got our first Mark track in the form of Child.
Those expecting an extension of his NCT verses may be surprised. Child’s performance blends rap and singing, and is more subdued than usual. An alt-rock atmosphere surrounds much of the instrumental, casting bluesy guitar over robust percussion. I love the moments where the drums really get going, adding dramatic drive to the arrangement. A soft choir of backing vocals is used well, bringing emphasis to Child’s emotional finale. Overall, the production is rather fitful, pulling back just as often as it charges forward. I prefer a structure that creates more sustained build, but Child’s stop/start approach is clearly intentional.
Mark does a nice job navigating the song’s ebb and flow. His vocal matches the intensity of the instrumental – quiet and unguarded when it needs to be, but forceful during Child’s peaks. He displays more versatility than most NCT tracks allow — a quality any good solo effort should strive for. But while I can appreciate the intention and overall effect of Child, it’s not the type of song I’m likely to return to often. If anything, its confessional nature makes me curious how Mark might stretch his talents and ideas across an entire album.