NCT DREAM Remake ‘90s K-Pop Classic for Sweet Holiday Single: Watch ‘Candy’

After a significant 2022 that included NCT DREAM‘s first Billboard 200 entry, first KCON appearance and first international movie release, the boy band closes the year with a holiday album for worldwide fans that also pays homage to a formative song for the Korean-pop industry.

For NCT DREAM’s special winter album Candy, the septet reinterpreted the classic K-pop song of the same name for its title track single. “Candy” was originally released in 1996 by the five-member boy band H.O.T., credited as the first “idol” group in Korea’s music industry and setting the formula still used today. From their debut track “Warrior’s Descendant” tackling school bullying, H.O.T. released music that acted as social critique, but it was their saccharine single “Candy” that became the band’s breakout hit. The group disbanded in 2001, but “Candy” is considered a quintessential track in any K-pop primer.

Now, more than 25 years after H.O.T. released “Candy” under SM Entertainment, the K-pop super label brings back the bubblegum classic with its youngest group, NCT DREAM. The ’90 track is a perfect fit for the bouncy, youthful energy DREAM brings into their music with the track reinterpreted with a slightly updated arrangement. The accompanying music video has a glossy look that K-pop is known for today but pays tribute to H.O.T.’s original visual for “Candy” with the fashion (like Jeno’s very fuzzy, very ’90s yellow hat) and the sets (including filming in an amusement park just like the original).

Candy delivers more treats for listeners as well, including the standout R&B cut “Graduation” and the synth-pop throbber “Tangerine Love (Favorite),” with member Mark co-writing the winter-themed, mid-tempo track “Take My Breath.” The new release follows Glitch Mode, which debuted at No. 50 on the Billboard 200 in April. The LP bore a deluxe repackage titled Beatbox, which included the new single of the same name.

Check out NCT DREAM’s “Candy” and the original “Candy” music video by H.O.T. in its newly remastered version shared by SM Entertainment just two weeks ago.

Jeff Benjamin