SEVENTEEN have been a saviour for Pledis Entertainment. The agency was once one of K-pop’s more successful showbiz factories, but some underwhelming performances have seen them suffer a fall from grace similar to other entertainment companies.
But that all changed with SEVENTEEN’s debut last year.
The 13-member boy band has quickly become one of K-pop’s biggest new stars, and it’s not hard to see why. While their good looks and undeniable charisma have certainly played a part, it’s the quality of their funky, retro-tinged pop that’s really helped the group become a force to be reckoned with.
Now that they've had ample time to figure out just what works for them, SEVENTEEN’s third mini-album, Going Seventeen, sees the band sounding more confident and cohesive than ever before.
Lead single ‘BOOMBOOM’ brings back the old-school flavour of early hits ’Adore U’ and ’Mansae,’ but it’s unfortunately weighed down by a pretty banal chorus. I don't think anybody except Super Junior could get away with the hook “Boom boom, everyday boom boom, boom boom boom boom boom!” A few less “booms booms” and it could’ve been the next ‘Mansae.’ But on the bright side, it does make for one hell of a fan chant.
The boys enter more modern territory on ‘Highlight,’ a thumping urban-pop hybrid tailor made for future dance practice videos. They also play with sugary dance-pop on opener ‘Beautiful,’ but, as with most albums released in the Korean winter, Going Seventeen leans more towards slower numbers than club bangers.
Thankfully, the group avoids going overboard on the ballads by balancing the less danceable moments with some great R&B mid-tempos. Tracks like ‘Lean On Me’ and ‘I Don't Know’ make lovely background music, but it's ‘Fast Pace’ that's the undeniable standout of the album. Apparently it’s about a couple who are growing apart, but the sensual hip-hop production (complete with ‘70s soul flutes fluttering in the background!) gives the impression that it's about two lovers that can't keep their hands off each other.
It's still too early to put SEVENTEEN on K-pop’s boy band A-list just yet, but at the rate they’re going it won’t be long. 2017 will be their year - watch this space.