For a K-Pop band with thirteen — thirteen — total members, SEVENTEEN may seem like an intimidating bunch, but they make sure to never fall short of expectations.
Boasting an eclectic mix of several sounds, encompassing polished pop, R&B, hip-hop and quite literally almost everything in between — the band even subdivide themselves into separate subgroups: there is the vocal unit comprising of vocalists Woozi, Jeonghan, Joshua, DK, and Seungkwan; the hip-hop unit of rappers S.Coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu, and Vernon; as well as the performance unit in charge of overall performance and choreography, comprising of dancers Hoshi, Jun, The8, and Dino.
And indeed, the band’s sounds listen like a robust and broad collection of cherry-picked sounds — here a guitar riff, as “Run To You” opens with; there a soaring chorus against slick EDM beds, as is on “Home”.
The band also show admirable vocal talent, that when their sometimes heavy production are toned back to let the boys’ vocals take front and center, it’s all to a very pleasurable effect, as they do on “Very Nice”, and to a larger extent, the dulcet-toned “Kidult”, a heartfelt lament on that bittersweet in-between of childhood and adulthood, and “Falling For U”, an enjoyably mellow offering on bedroom-pop, but with sounds so polished, they practically gleam and twinkle. It’s in the sweeter moments like these that SEVENTEEN shine the most, when the band’s inherent talent and youth and earnestness aren’t buried beneath layers and layers of production, which at times, especially for a band of thirteen, can feel a step too convoluted.
But despite all this, it’s an unusual thing for eclecticism to become a strength, and yet that’s exactly what SEVENTEEN have managed to do, with the majority of their offerings glistening with a lightning-in-a-bottle quality; a genre-hopping sonic buffet in the span of a few minutes.
The act of listening to music is in itself often a deeply personal activity, but SEVENTEEN seem to take joy and revelry in community, in the very commonality and sociability of music, as if their songs were meant to be shared, to be listened to in the company of others. And even in their most personal offerings, even sitting solitarily in a bedroom with their music through earphones, there’s a certain sense that the listener is never really alone, but in the company of some very cool, very likable and charismatic company — thirteen of them, to be exact.
There’s that saying that the whole must be greater the sum of its parts — but SEVENTEEN seem to have mastered the art of both.