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Style SEVENTEEN Amp It Up With 9th Mini Album “Attacca” — Review

20:00  22 october  2021
20:00  22 october  2021 Source:   teenvogue.com

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  SEVENTEEN Amp It Up With 9th Mini Album “Attacca” — Review © Courtesy of PLEDIS ENTERTAINMENT.

K-pop stars SEVENTEEN are back with their ninth mini-album Attacca, their fourth major Korean-language release in pandemic times, and they are more rock 'n' roll than ever before.

Part of their 2021 “Power of ‘Love’” project, which started with the release of Mingyu and Wonwoo’s duet “Bittersweet” in May and continued in June with their 8th mini-album Your Choice, Attacca conjures up a different vision of love — one that’s loud, passionate, and unapologetic. Spanning six tracks and a digital exclusive song, the new project finds the group taking the full-on pop-rock route. Each track stands on its own sonically, conflating influences from disparate genres, but they flow seamlessly to create a more than enjoyable 23-minute ride from the very first listen. (As it’s customary with SEVENTEEN, all members have writing, composing, and producing credits across all seven songs, alongside long-time in-house collaborator Bumzu, among other contributors.)

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Leading the release is title track “Rock With You” — which arrives with its own TikTok challenge. From various teasers prior to its official release, most had anticipated the song would be instantly catchy, but its infectious nature could not be fully relayed with snippets alone. Leaning in heavily on pop-rock, with guitars and synths leading the composition, “Rock With You” has more than a couple of standout moments — from Joshua’s head-on opening line to Wonwoo’s airy closer, going over Woozi’s controlled mixed voice and S.Coups’s murmured verse, which provides a nice change of pace. All with explosive choreography and an eye-catching music video directed by fan-favorite studio Rigend Films, which has previously aided the group visually on songs like “HIT”, “Fear,” “Fallin' Flower,” and more recently, Hoshi’s solo track “Spider.”

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See the video on YouTube.

The two other offerings sung by all 13 members on Attacca are “To You” (소용돌이), the project’s opener, and “Crush.” “To You” is a sweet ease into the project. Tackling the time-honored declaration of love, the track is described as synth-pop. “Crush,” on the other hand, takes cues from hip-hop and R&B. Featuring an 808-style base, it is undoubtedly the sultrier sounding of the bunch — which is fitting for a song that’s basically a loud ode to your crush, something I’m sure many would deem aspirational in this climate. Both offerings are classic SEVENTEEN goodness, but things take an even more interesting turn in the latter half of the album with the unit songs.

The first one we are presented with is “PANG!” by SEVENTEEN’s performance unit, made up of Hoshi, Jun, The8, and Dino. Though described officially as “hybrid trap-style hip-hop,” the pop influences undoubtedly prevail. Initially, its onomatopoeic title might suggest explosiveness akin to Your Choice’s wonderfully raucous “GAM3 BO1” but, with squiggly synths and soft melodies, the quartet’s offering is oddly tranquil.

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Woozi, Jeonghan, Joshua, DK, and Seungkwan chose “Imperfect Love” (매일 그대라서 행복하다) as the track for the vocal unit. A soothing mid-tempo ballad with an extra dose of guitar and bass, “Imperfect Love” is the closest to the classic love song SEVENTEEN gets in this album, and, as usual, it’s the most soothing. This one begs to be performed live if not in an intimate setting, with pared-down production — for the vocals speak for themselves.

The biggest surprise of the EP is hands-down hip-hop unit’s track, “I can’t run away” (그리워하는 것까지). In recent years, S.Coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu, and Vernon have CARATs accustomed to fiery tracks like “Chilli,” “Back It Up” and the aforementioned “GAM3 BO1”, but the quartet’s honeyed vocals are the clear stars of “I can’t run away.” With a dominating acoustic guitar line and heartbreak as its main theme, this track leans more into balladry. (SEVENTEEN have said time and time again that they like to surprise fans and show new sides to their units with each comeback, and clearly, they are taking that statement to heart).

  SEVENTEEN Amp It Up With 9th Mini Album “Attacca” — Review © Courtesy of PLEDIS ENTERTAINMENT.

Digitally, the project closes on a high note with the release of SEVENTEEN’s first-ever all-English offering “2 MINUS 1,” performed by US-born members Vernon and Joshua. A worthy successor of their 2017 duet “Rocket,” “2 MINUS 1” could easily serve as the main soundtrack of a ‘00s YA rom-com. The upbeat pop-punk track is intended as a gift for international fans and, according to Joshua, it was in a way partly inspired by Avril Lavigne. “While making the song, Vernon suggested pop-punk as the genre we should do and it reminded me of the ‘00s, when I used to listen to Avril Lavigne… it really matched well with the theme of our song,” the vocalist said during Attacca’s global press conference, held just a couple of hours ahead of the album’s release. (Only 11 members greeted journalists from the Conrad Seoul hotel, as Jun and The8 are currently in China, but they made sure to include the absent duo in their responses any chance they got).

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The release of Attacca is not only impressive sonically, but also logistically. With Your Choice, SEVENTEEN officially landed the coveted title of “quadruple million sellers” and, as noted during the conference, Attacca secured almost 1.4 million pre-orders in its first week alone. Your Choice also placed the 13-member act on the Billboard 200 list for the first time earlier this year, entering at No.15, a feat they wish to emulate and surpass with the new release. “The higher we set the bar, I think the better it is so we’d really like to be No. 1,” Seungkwan said during the conference.

There’s no denying that SEVENTEEN have a lot on their plate right now, but they also took the chance to look back and dream ahead while introducing Attacca. “2021 has been a year where we’ve worked hard and I think we will remember it as a really precious and valuable year. The fact that all 13 of us can be together is something we are very thankful for,” DK said. “It would be really nice to release a full English song with all 13 members,” Mingyu added.

For now, all eyes are on Attacca. As part of the EP’s promotions, SEVENTEEN will hold a comeback show, live-streamed via the HYBE Labels’ YouTube channel, on October 23 from 8 AM (ET). During the show, they are expected to “unveil some of their performances from the Attacca tracklist.”

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