It must be odd to be a K-pop group debuting during 2020, when concerts, events, and any interactions were limited due to the outbreak. However, MCND made sure to consistently release lively music to combat the burnout of quarantine. Even though they just debuted last year, MCND Age is their third extended play and the first comeback of this year. The members are fairly young running from ages 16 to 21 and consisting of 5 members: Castle J, BIC, Minjae, Huijan, and Win. This explains why the album is heavy with party songs emphasizing the youthful message of living in the moment. While their music does not offer too much diversity, it is age-appropriate and stays positive for listeners who are looking for mindless and high-energy music.
“Intro: MCND Age” immediately sets the tone for the entire album. Like the start of a basketball game, the intro pumps up the listener, rising to a peak that it never comes down from. This album rarely slows down, keeping high energy throughout all the tracks. “Crush” and “OK, KO!” are two high-spirited tracks that pressure the listener to let go and dance. “Crush” is the title song of the album that is purely about dancing and partying. There is nothing too deep about the lyrics centered around a catchy chorus that is repeated throughout the song. If you were to only listen to “Crush,” then you basically capture the essence of MCND as a concept; they are young and worry-free.
Keeping with the same energy, “OK, KO!” is a track that could really be played at any sports event. It boosts up the confidence of anyone listening as the lyrics are all about being a winner. The voice of the song is unabashedly cocky and boasts that there is no way to be defeated. Like “Crush”, “OK, KO!” has a chorus that you will not be able to get out of your head. Whether you are working out or just want to dance in your room, this song is all about high confident energy to keep you going:
I am the winner
Raise the guard, I’m the winner winner”
“Player” and “Outro; ㅁㅊㄴㄷ” both emphasize the rappers but do not leave behind the singers. While the beats give off a darker vibe, the lyrics are still about positive messages. “Player” is similar to “OK, KO!” in that it is also about defeating someone and being a winner. However, “Player” uses gamer analogies comparing their situation to a shooter game. It is another fast-paced song and it uses the repetition of “bang” to create an easy to remember the chorus. This song is followed by the appropriately titled, “Outro; ㅁㅊㄴㄷ” which plays on the pun of their name that means “crazy guys.” Castle J shows off his unique way of rapping during the chorus with his lines “outta my head” and “I love my gem.” While these members are not crazy, they are crazy about music which shows in their choices of songs.
“Louder” is a mid-tempo song with tropical beats that at times can sound dated. However, this is a track that stands out because of how different it sounds from the other songs. It shows the softer side of MCND with more delicately sung vocals that complement the tone of the song. Even if it is on the smoother side, the song still leads up to a vivacious chorus. Like the rest of the album, the song emphasizes the idea of seizing the moment. It also expands on the concept by looking at one’s insecurities about the future which is likely relevant in everyone’s mind with current events. It is probably the only lyrically deep song on the album showing that MCND is more than just party music:
Everyone tells me you’ll regret it in the end
I get nervous again, I’m stupid, but where am I going?
It’s all just the first time, eh, even if it’s clumsy and awkward
Sing this song and leave your body to shine brightly, that’s me
While MCND has put out an album full of great side-Bs, “Not Over” is a track that could have easily been released as a single. It has an infectious chorus that that, like “Louder,” also stands out for sounding more different than the other tracks on the album. The initial whistle beat makes you think this will lead to a pop song but it is suddenly filled with fast-paced electronic beats. While we hear them throughout the album, this song is where you can catch the differences between the two rappers in the chorus. Castle J is looser and grunts with his voice, while WIN is more steady and straightforward.
MCND’s youthful appeal is in part due to their high-energy music with shallow lyrics. This is an album about having fun, letting loose, and not thinking too hard about anything. Even with a basic concept, MCND keeps the album from being boring by offering diverse tracks with a mix of hip hop and electronic beats. Even with their previous albums, MCND has established themselves as an act that is all about making jovial music. As we enter a new year, looking forward to if MCND will diversify into other concepts or expand on their current ones.