NU’EST W have made what is assumed to be their last comeback, and their intention is clear: The four-membered NU’EST subunit is going out with a bang. The unit’s termination date is marked by the disbandment of project group Wanna One, which whisked away NU’EST’s fifth member for a year and a half. Following Minhyun’s triumphant return at the end of 2018, the group of five will finally be reunited as NU’EST—but not before NU’EST W finishes promoting its last title track, “Help Me.” The explosive song takes a sharp turn from the slick electronica that the unit has explored up to now, instead opting for a much more dramatic arrangement. It’s wonderfully written and performed but sonically chaotic, rendering it slightly less effective than previous title tracks.
The production of “Help Me” piles as many sounds as possible on top of one another: orchestral drama, galloping drums, a muted trap beat, roiling synths. The biggest problem with all this is that the vocals often become obscured as the instrumental chaos overpowers them. I find myself turning up the volume to hear the vocals and rap more clearly, but the instrumental becomes too overwhelming before I can do that.
The abrasive effect of the all these raging sounds makes it a bit difficult to enjoy the song’s stellar composition and structure. The song gracefully navigates suspenseful lulls, buildups, and drops without a hiccup; the vocal melody in the hook is delivered in distinct, unique phrases that accrue momentum as they go. Perhaps the most exciting moment of the song is that last hook, which after an intense buildup falls to a hush and then proceeds to interrupt itself (seamlessly, somehow) with a drop that borrows elements from the song’s opening. Rather than feeling unfinished due the fragmented final chorus, “Help Me” feels like it came full circle, back to the beginning.
The rest of the album, comprised of unit song “L.I.E.” plus solo songs by each of the four members, solidifies my belief that NU’EST are better off together than alone. While each member is plenty capable of carrying a solo, there’s something lost from the previous EP’s brilliant full-unit side tracks. It’s not everything I was hoping for from NU’EST W’s final album, but previous comebacks “Where You At” and “Deja Vu” had set a high bar. I’m excited to see what’s in store for fans once 2018 comes to a close.
HELP ME: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? I mean, it bops, but kinda too much.
Take a look at NU’EST W’s “Help Me” MV below: