NELN’s Latest Move Is the Emotional Gut-punch

“Oh heck, it’s just about the end of the month, we must have a new NELN MV coming any minute now!” said I to myself on Thursday when I was trying to do a lot of productive work and instead kept needing to stick my head into Twitter and managed to scroll through long enough to see a NELN tweet. And of course I was excited — have you seen what NELN does? — and really hoped that they’d drop that this morning so I could fold this post into the Homicidols Time that comes on weekend mornings. And it did! So let’s talk about it.

I will reiterate later, but it bears pre-reiterating now: NELN, if you are unfamiliar, is releasing 12 MVs over 12 months since they debuted last year, and this is #11, and there has been some really great work from this kind-of-out-of-nowhere group during the process, so of course the expectation here is high. And so:

All right, so it’s not the trepanation experience that we got from some previous entries in the series, in particular the last (I’m still blown away by that one), but it’s a perfectly cromulent idol rock (yes, with piano, my Achilles heel) track that follows the well-worn tradition of having a nice ballad play over clips of the members doing fun stuff together. It’s not even a trope anymore so much as it’s basically its own genre of idol music video, right down to the portrait-style orientation of the video that doesn’t make me murderous at all! And it works. Shamelessly, gorily, it works: Even if you have no particular connection to these girls, you watch this and think, oh wow, what great friends, I want nothing but the best for them in this horrid world full of pain and suffering, and before you know it you’re manipulated into Extra Feels by the double-whammy that is the highly evocative music and the happy people being happy, and dammit. DAMMIT. Yes, now they got you.

So let’s check in: NELN is now at #11 of 12 digital singles, basically, MVs of their debut that are clearly leading us to a finale. Or, in the hands of a wise and clever and strategic producer-san, yes that would be the case, and producer-san hasn’t made any indication that they are anything less than wise and clever and strategic, so we can expect that the last in the series is probably something saved up for Max Hype, considering that the one-man follows and from there, honestly, NELN could say “we’re breaking up, what a year!” or “we’re releasing dual double-albums with all tracks produced by Swedish R&B heavyweights” or really anything in between, and we’ll respond with appropriate hype and then need to have ourselves a proper conversation about whether this needs to become NELNblog in the future. Love it. And considering that NELN’s done a lot of genre dabbling and stepped in and out of traditional idol norms throughout this process, I think it’s safe to say that the finale really could be anything.