[Album Review] An Ode (3rd Studio Album) – SEVENTEEN

SEVENTEEN returned on Monday during the week with Fear. Channelling their more mature, dark and fierce sides, Fear follows the like of HIT (which is included in this album) and Getting Closer (released at the end of last year). The group is about to embark on their first world tour and the only fitting way to do that is by releasing their third studio album, which is why we are here today. SEVENTEEN’s albums have been a hit for me, so let’s see how this one will play out.

seventeen-anode-2
An Ode Album Cover

1. HIT (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for HIT. (10/10)

2. Lie Again (거짓말을 해) – Between the two amazing lead tracks of the album is Lie Again. It is a surprising addition, as it is very soft and delicate, quite the opposite to both HIT and Fear in any way. The focus on the vocals is amazing and I really enjoyed how the rappers were tweaked to fit this soft song. I thought the electronic instrumental was stunning, going with a similar aesthetic to what Home had (their title track at the start of the year). It was also very dynamic in its own way and paired well with the vocals and rapping we got in this song, it is a gem waiting to be discovered by listeners and their fans. My favourite part is the chorus, with the ‘drop’ a subtle explosion of energy. (10/10)

3. Fear (독) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Fear. (8/10)

4. Let Me Hear You Say – The album continues with another fantastic song. Let Me Hear You Say starts off like any other song. But as the song progresses, you start to hear the song develop. The chorus is completely unexpected, going with a chanting style rather than vocals which dominate the verses. I find the chorus to be like the chorus in Lie Again. There is an explosion of appeal during the chorus of this song that makes it so appealing. The chanting style was very catchy as well, which made it hard to turn away. Energy is still present in this song, but I am kind of glad it wasn’t as intense as Fear, as it would have been an overload. Let Me Hear You Say is kind of the relief that I didn’t know I needed. (9/10)

5. 247 (Performance Unit) – Now we are getting to the other important stuff. The units make their reappearance in this album through a series of tracks. The first one up is 247, sung by the main dancers of the group. It is interesting because I had expected to hear something a lot more upbeat and intense, like Highlight and Lilili Yabbay (their previous unit tracks). I didn’t expect an R&B track from them which really let their vocals shine. They all sounded amazing. But this isn’t a departure from what they do best, as 247 has a dance routine, which has a routine that is equally as beautiful. Like their routine, I find the song to be smooth, elegant and very well-polished. (9/10)

6. Second Life (Vocal Unit) – The next unit up is the vocal unit, which consists of the main and lead vocalists of the group. While I remember them for ballads, it seems like the units are changing expectations by going with different styles. There is more life in this track, in comparison to their heartfelt ballads. I attribute that to their instrumental, which I thought was very cool. It was simple but intense at the same time. It does allow for their soothing vocals to come through, so I can draw some parallels between Second Life and their past ballad unit tracks. I also find the song to be very relaxing. It is something I wouldn’t mind putting on the background and work along with it. Woozi’s randomly higher note does catch you off guard but the song (and the unit) does a good job of recomposing you and getting the track back on track. (9.5/10)

7. Network Love – We take a little breather from the units by introducing a different unit track. Network Love is sung by Joshua, Jun, The8 and Vernon. I don’t think this is an official unit from the group and is a one-off track with the four members. I find that Joshua, Jun and The8 don’t get to shine as often in the title or group tracks. So, Network Love changes that by putting all three members (and Vernon) in the spotlight. Listening to the track, I feel like this is something the Performance unit would perform to but it would have been a good sound for the vocal unit to try something a little different. Their vocals sound nice and the instrumental was bubbly and vibrant in its own way. Vernon’s rapping felt perfect for the tone of the song, not going overboard or holding back too much. The melody during the chorus was also memorable as well. (8/10)

8. Back It Up (Hip-Hop Unit) – It seems like the Hip-Hop unit didn’t get the ‘change it up’ memo that the other units got. But I don’t mind (though I would have loved to hear them try rapping to a ballad or something different to match the other units). Back It Up is intense and very powerful, something completely up the unit’s alleyway. I find each member of the unit brings a very different style to the song, which I think makes this track so much more appealing. It also doesn’t help that each member is filtered differently with the autotune, further proving my point. I really like two parts of the song. Vernon’s very soft ‘Siren’, which was whispered but due to the autotune, it came off as rough. The second has to be the drop in the second half of the chorus, which gave the song an extra infusion of energy that I didn’t know it needed (but I am glad they brought it anyway). (8/10)

9. Lucky – The whole group returns with Lucky, which is another upbeat dance track. It falls into the pop category but there was a bit of funkiness to the instrumental, which made the track enjoyable. It has a classy vibe to it and this vibe becomes more prevalent as you listen to it. I also liked the fast tempo in the verses and then the slowdown, which Jeonghan and Jun ask us to take during their respective parts. It was kind of fun to have them connect to us in this track this way. While the song is great, there was the constant thought that it did feel really neutral and knowing Seventeen, they could have upped something in the song to make it even better. (7.5/10)

10. Snap ShootSnap Shoot comes off as a fun song. It isn’t something to deny. I really like the subtle retro style we got from the track, reminding of The Jackson 5’s ABC. The instrumental also sounded like those really happy gospel-like songs we get in movies and musicals. The vocals were nice and I liked the incorporation of the hip-hop segments for the rapping. I think the song could have been more unique if the members started to sing speak to us and engage us in that manner, which would have been fun and something that feels completely like Seventeen would do. But nonetheless, the energy is infectious, and the song is catchy. This track would definitely be awesome to hear in a live performance as well. (8/10)

11. Happy Ending (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed the Japanese version of Happy Ending. Click here to read the full review for Happy Ending. (6/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

seventeen-anode-3
An Ode Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Trauma – Seventeen (Hip Hop Unit)

Last Monday, Seventeen released Change Up, a single which starts off their project for the final part of the year.  That particular single features of the leaders of each Seventeen subunits. This week, the Hip Hop unit of Seventeen has released their single, titled as Trauma.

As many of you may know, I am not a major fan of the hip-hop genre. And while I may have that bias working against this song, I don’t actually mind it. Like the name suggests, the song is a lot darker and more serious, compared to Change Up, which was also hip-hop based. Mingyu takes the reins for the vocal parts of the song, which showcases his rough voice, which felt fitting for the rest of the song. He doesn’t sing that much in past songs, so it did feel a lot different then usual. The rest of the team gave it their all in rapping, which I thought was fantastic in this song. There were parts of the song which I hoped they could have rapped a little louder because I found those parts a tiny too soft for my personal liking. But they weren’t as troubling as other songs. Overall, Trauma is pretty good, even though I am not one to listen to the genre as much.

The music video was definitely quite good. Per usual, I like the coloured backgrounds, which evidently gave the song more colour. Due to the tension from the song, they could have gone down that dark route, but they seemed to have gone with some colour to give the music video some life. Not exactly sure of the props that are used (such as the pile of sand or fans) or the way some of the members are positioned throughout the video but you can definitely tell that there is a level of aesthetics associated with the video. It wasn’t as captivating as expected but it did the job.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8/10