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'We overcame together': NCT127 returns on more solid ground

NCT127 seems to have safely survived K-pop's notorious "seven-year curse," although not things didn't go as smoothly as expected.

"Reaching our seventh anniversary, it's been a tough year for all of us. Different thoughts and concerns have crossed our minds and we faced many temptations. We even felt lost at times," Taeyong, the group's leader, said during the band's press conference in Seoul on Friday.

"It hit me then that NCT127 exists because the members can come together like this. The seventh year is significant to every group, but it feels more special for us. Our fellowship is stronger than ever. We exist because of our trust and respect for each other," Taeyong continued, not going further into the concerns and temptations that may have affected them.

The seventh year is a turning point for all K-pop idols as it is when their exclusive contracts with their agency come to an end. Most groups face a risk when they hit the milestone, with many either losing a member or two, or even breaking up completely.

But for a lucky few, it becomes an opportunity to rediscover themselves, with the members discussing their future together more deeply and fervently than ever. They become closer and get to know one another better and band together to decide that it's not time to say goodbye yet.

NCT127, which debuted under SM Entertainment in July 2016, overcame this critical period recently and returned Friday to declare its existence which remains on solid ground.

As a token of their new start, the nine-member group released its fifth full-length album, "Fact Check," on Friday.

According to Doyoung, "Fact Check" is an album that defines NCT127.

"I think our strength lies in the fervor we show in the music of 'Fact Check' and the powerful group dances. 'Fact Check' highlights those sides of us," he said adding, "Hopefully, we could prove again that NCT127 is a master of stage performance this time."

The boys seemed more solemn than ever on Friday as they introduced their new album, a release put out in over a year since the group's previous piece, fourth LP "2 Baddies," dropped in September 2022. In January, they released a repackage of the previous album under the title "A-Yo."

An album celebrating the band's renewed start, "Fact Check" embodies the group's passion and heart they had when they first began their journey, Johnny described.

Navigating back to the group's core identity, "Seoul" is the key theme of the album's namesake main track, "Fact Check." NCT127 is the Seoul-based subunit of SM Entertainment's global idol group project Neo Culture Technology, which aims to launch boy bands in major cities around the world. "127" refers to the longitude coordinates of the South Korean capital.

"As a team representing the city, we tried to show various beautiful sceneries of Seoul," Jungwoo said, adding the scenes were mainly shot in Gyeongbokgung Palace and Cheong-Gye Arcade in central Seoul and the IFC Mall in Yeouido, as well as Han River.

Doyoung hoped the group’s international fans could become more familiar with Seoul through their music video.

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