“Universe (Let’s Play Ball)” by NCT U
The term “let’s play ball” is one primarily associated with the sport of baseball, being utilized by the game’s referee or announcer to officially commence the start of a contest. And as with many other terms derived from America’s favorite pastime, this one has also become part of the mainstream lexicon. It is relatedly utilized as a synonym for inviting an addressee to engage in some type of endeavor.
So let’s say, hypothetical speaking, that you’re communicating with someone in the name of forming a business relationship. If you were to tell that person “let’s play ball”, that means that you’re down to do business with them. Furthermore, it means that you’re also vigorously looking forward to doing so.
So with that in mind, there appears to be two different addresses in this song. One would be the universe itself. And in that regard, what the vocalist is putting forth is a notion of him being unafraid to face the world. In other words, the singer is more than willing to actually pursue his destiny and find out what the universe, so to speak, has in store for him.
But interwoven into such assertions are also references to a female addressee, one who is presumably a romantic interest. Or another way of interpreting this piece, as put forth in the second verse, is that she is actually the vocalist’s “universe” or exclusively center of his attention.
So clearly he perceives an intrinsic part of the pursuit of his destiny as being to lock said addressee down. Or yet another way of perceiving the grand scheme of the lyrics is that, as far as the vocalist is concerned when it comes to facing the world, an important aspect of that vision has to do so with having this lady by his side.
In conclusion, K-pop artists are the types that, up until very recently, like never dropped overt love songs. Instead, the standard in that part of the global industry is rather to come out with self-encouragement tunes.
And as for “Universe (Let’s Play Ball)”, it’s a combination of both of those motifs. On one hand there is that espousement of fearlessness in terms of pursuing what one deems as his destiny. But in this case, it is also made abundantly clear that a romantic interest plays an all-important role in his perception of achieving that goal.
NCT U and “Universe (Let’s Play Ball)”
The entirety of NCT, aka the Neo Culture Technology crew, is currently 23 members’ deep. So occasionally, they split into what are called subunits in the name of dropping songs or projects.
There are currently four subunits of NCT in all, and three of them – NCT 127, NCT Dream and WayV – have a set membership consisting of, on average, seven individuals.
However NCT U is what Genius describes as “a rotational unit”, i.e. the participant members on any given NCT U album or song being dependent on the nature of said project. So as it now stands, based on the NCT personnel that actually participated on “Universe (Let’s Play Ball)”, the lineup of NCT U consists of:
- Xiao Jun
- Yang Yang
This track is the lead single from an album credited to the entirety of NCT entitled “Universe”.
“Universe (Let’s Play Ball)” officially came out on 10 December 2021.
The aforementioned Mark wrote this piece alongside another South Korean, Kenzie. Kenzie is a behind-the-scenes’ musician heavily associated with SM Entertainment, the label that put this track out.
And this track’s producer is an American artist known as Dem Jointz.