NCT 2021 ‘Universe’: Release date, subunits and all about third full group comeback

The sub-unit NCT U will be performing one of the title tracks before its release at MAMA 2021

                            NCT 2021 ‘Universe’: Release date, subunits and all about third full group comeback
The K-pop group gear up for NCT 2021 Universe (@NCTsmtown/Twitter)

NCT’s third full group comeback ‘Universe’ is now closer than ever. With 23 members and counting, SM has divided the K-pop group into fixed sub-units like NCT 127, NCT Dream and WayV. Throughout the year, the members release music with their respective sub-units, but at the end of the year, they all get together to have one comeback with all members. Fans loved NCT 2018 Empathy and NCT 2020 Resonance and were eagerly waiting for a reunion in 2021.

With all of the members finally getting together after months of being apart, fans loved their interactions and clubbing of different music styles. Unfortunately, for NCT 2021, we are only getting 21 members since Winwin is filming in China while Lucas is on a hiatus. But that hasn’t dampened spirits as we have been getting a barrage of teasers and mini music videos. It was also previously reported that along with NCT 127 and NCT Dream, the sub-unit NCT U would be performing ‘Universe (Let’s Play Ball)’ at MAMA 2021 before the comeback.

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There are 21 members for NCT 2021 Universe era (@NCTsmtown/Twitter)

Release date

NCT’s ‘Universe’ will be released on December 14 at 6 pm KST (4 am ET). The title track ‘Universe (Let’s Play Ball)’ will be pre-released on December 10 at 6 pm KST (4 am ET).

Where to listen

The album will be available on all major music streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, MelOn and more.

NCT Dream for NCT 2021 'Universe' (@NCTsmtown/Twitter)

Tracklist and subunits

Since this comeback has 21 members, we only have one track that will be performed by all of the members. For fair line distribution and screentime, the rest of the tracks have been divided among the members as they form temporary sub-units.

1. ‘New Axis’ - Taeyong, Mark, Yangyang
2. ‘Universe (Let’s Play Ball)’ - TITLE TRACK. Doyoung, Jungwoo, Mark, Xiaojun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Yangyang, Shotaro
3. ‘Earthquake’ - The fixed sub-unit NCT 127
4. ‘OK!’ - Taeyong, Yuta, Ten, Mark, Hendery, Jeno, Yangyang
5. ‘Birthday Party’ - Johnny, Yuta, Jungwoo, Hendery, Jaemin, Shotaro, Chenle, Jisung
6. ‘Know Now’ - Johnny, Doyoung, Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Jaemin, Yangyang, Sungchan
7. ‘Dreaming’ - The fixed sub-unit NCT Dream
8. ‘Round&Round’ - Taeil, Ten, Jaehyun, Xiaojun, Haechan, Sungchan
9. ‘Miracle’ - The fixed Chinese sub-unit WayV
10. ‘Vroom’ - Kun, Jaehyun, Jungwoo, Hendery, Shotaro, Chenle, Jisung
11. ‘Sweet Dream’ - Taeil, Kun, Jaehyun, Haechan, Chenle
12. ‘Good Night’ - Taeil, Doyoung, Xiaojun, Renjun
13. ‘Beautiful’ - TITLE TRACK. All 21 NCT members


‘New Axis’ is the intro of the album with powerful raps and a heavy bassline. The title track ‘Universe (Let’s Play Ball)' is a hip-hop dance song and the rap part is written by Mark. ‘Earthquake’ is a hip hop dance song; ‘OK!’ is an R&B song with hip hop sounds; ‘Birthday Party’ is a groovy dance song; ‘Know Now’ is an R&B pop song while ‘Dreaming’ is a house song with R&B elements. ‘Round&Round’, Miracle’, ‘Vroom’ and ‘Sweet Dream’ are medium tempo R&B pop songs. ‘Good Night’ is a ballad with some of the main vocalists of NCT. Finally, the second title track, the pop ballad ‘Beautiful’, will be performed by all 21 members and has been written by Johnny, Taeyong, Mark, Hendery and Jeno.

WayV for NCT 2021 'Universe' (@NCTsmtown/Twitter)


NCT released cyber-themed concept photos as the boys are seen dressed in blue sci-fi outfits surrounded by machine props. For the fixed sub-unit releases, NCT Dream channeled their inner rockstars, WayV sported chic looks, and NCT 127 went for a grunge racer vibe. NCT U became bad boys for 'Universe (Let's Play Ball)' while all 21 members are going for a soft and bright concept for the festive title track 'Beautiful'.

NCT 127 for NCT 2021 'Universe' (@NCTsmtown/Twitter)
NCT U for the sub-unit 'Universe (Let's Play Ball)' (@NCTsmtown/Twitter)

The 21 NCT members for 'Beautiful' (@NCTsmtown/Twitter)

Music videos and teasers

NCT dropped mini music videos for the tracks ‘Earthquake’, ‘Dreaming’ and ‘Miracle’. They also released teasers titled ‘YearDream: Stage’ that hint at the sci-fi concept of the album.

Watch the ‘YearDream: Stage’ teasers below.







Watch NCT 127’s ‘Earthquake’ video below.


Watch NCT Dream’s ‘Dreaming’ video below.


Watch WayV’s ‘Miracle’ video below.


Watch the music video for 'Universe (Let's Play Ball)' below.


Watch the 'Beautiful' music video below.


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