Watch NCT’s MARK Sentimental Solo Release ‘Child’
The latest release officially marks the beginning of NCT’s music archiving project NCT LAB
NCT’s Canadian-Korean artist, Mark Lee (who goes by his stage name MARK) ruminates over self-identity, dreams and expectations in his latest release “Child.” The single mark’s the rapper-songwriter’s first solo single since his 2016 debut.
“Honestly, ‘Child’ is a song that I made a long time ago. It’s a song that’s been there for a while,” MARK revealed in a message posted to his fans on fan messaging app Bubble a few hours before the release. He further reveals the constant support the group received from Czennies (NCT fans) last year as his reason behind releasing the solo project through SM Entertainment’s free digital music project, SM STATION; “I kept thinking about it since last year, and if I release it through [SM] Station, I think I can approach you more comfortably, and I also want it to be really comfortable without having to worry about moneyㅡyou can enjoy it to your heart’s content through the music and video.”
Produced by dress, “Child” opens with a melancholic alt-rock composition of warm, rich electric guitar riffs as MARK sings: “Who do you think you are?/ Why are you hanging my heart and shaking it?/ It’s making me dizzy.” The sentimental single undergoes a strong sonic shift with the smooth insertion of bass synth in the chorus, categorizing the track as a hip hop-rock release. MARK effortlessly switches between vocal and rap performances, highlighting his troubles with staying true to himself amidst constant criticism from those around him, “I’m a child/ I can’t be the person you want/ Have a good night/ No need for a lullaby.”
Unlike the two previous SM STATION releases (“Young & Free with EXO’s Xiumin and “Lemonade Love” with Parc Jae Jung), “Child” sees the artist take on the role of fellow songwriter and sole performer. There’s a deep sense of conflict and friction between self and society that MARK examines through a raw, unfiltered approach, cementing “Child” as an admirable beginning to his artistic odyssey. The blunt, intimate sentiments are penned beautifully in the second verse, where the rapper discusses his pursuits to chase his dreams despite not having a strong understanding of himself yet. It’s a powerful message to today’s youth, motivating them to chase after their goals regardless of the barriers life throws in the way: “There’s a lot that I don’t know (Yeah)/ But you learn when you don’t know (Yeah).”
The outro brings us back to the starting line. Torn between knowing himself and what others see him as, MARK displays a few seconds of vulnerability, calling for anyone who resonates with the wildfire burning inside him with a silent fear of being misunderstood for speaking his mind; “Would there be anyone who can relate?/ Can someone understand me just for now?/ Oh, yes, woah (Yes), yeah (Don’t say it)/ No, no, no, no, no/ No, I’m saying what’s on my mind.”
The music video shows an abandoned warehouse and MARK running away from a group of people dressed in black. While the rapper succeeds at outrunning them, the final frame focuses on him sprinting towards a source of light; a possible symbolism of perseverance and diligence, embodying his ethos. The overarching thematic of the video, however, could point towards Mark’s efforts of preserving the child within him and keeping him away from external expectations powerful enough to crush dreams.
SM Station-NCT LAB aims at giving fans a deeper look into the group’s musicality through self-composed tracks either as solo or unit songs The tracks released under the project are ones you’d not find on a regular NCT album, giving the artist an alternative avenue to creatively challenge and express themselves. a music archiving project, offering fans a deeper look into the group’s musicality.
In other news, NCT DREAM is gearing for a comeback this March.