REVIEW Album Review: Seventeen - "Heng:garae"

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ALBUM REVIEW: SEVENTEEN – “Heng:garæ”
Written by: Dragon of the West



SEVENTEEN is a 13-member boy group who debuted in May 2015 under Pledis Entertainment (which was recently acquired by BigHit Entertainment). The group consists of three main units (Vocal, Rap and Performance) who—when compared to most other K-pop groups—function differently, as they don't have releases outside of b-sides on the main group's album. Over the years, Seventeen have gained a reputation of being a self-produced group, with the members playing really big roles in nearly everything surrounding their releases: music production (primarily handled by Woozi), writing lyrics and creating choreographies. Following an 8-month gap since their last Korean album, they recently made their comeback with their 7th EP ''Heng:garæ'', that has seen huge levels of success. With this mini-album, the group has firmly established themselves as one of the biggest K-pop groups yet—selling over a million copies within just 6 days.



'Fearless'

"Fearless" starts off the album and is a complete contrast to "Fear", the title track of "An Ode", as it shows that they have overcome the fear they expressed in their last album. This song starts off on an incredibly powerful note and has a really strong beat. DK's vocals in the pre-chorus leading up to Hoshi's line with the beat drop is executed to absolute perfection. They manage to create some great dynamics in its sound, with the quieter verses leading into that anthem of a chorus. Whenever I listen to the bridge, I instantly get chills, especially when Jeonghan comes in with his part from ''Fear''. While it is pretty obvious that ''Fearless'' is meant to be a successor to ''Fear'', I can't help but come to the conclusion, that it's a better song on so many levels. Honestly, this song is title track material and the performance is up there with some of their best.


The song itself revolves around the aspect of realising your fears and making an effort to get over them. This is shown through the lyrics ''I can't fool myself anymore // New day, new night, new me born, new me // Break this wall // It won't be scary today'', which amplify the aspect of breaking through one's fears and starting off as a new person.

8.5/10



'Left & Right'

Following the two hard-hitting promotional tracks from ''An Ode'', SEVENTEEN have decided to go with a more light-hearted, fun song this time, and I'm all for it. It's very reminiscent to some of their older tracks, which probably plays a part in why I'm so biased towards it. When the teasers first dropped, I was a bit sceptical because of the repeated "left and right" in the chorus, but while listening to the full song, my opinions on it changed drastically. This is because it manages to be fun and energetic, without ever being annoying or tiresome. ''Left & Right'' is definitely one of those songs where you'd need to have some serious self-control if you don't want to bob your head while listening to it! The rap verses, especially Vernon's, are some of their best ones in a title track. My favourite part though is definitely Hoshi's line, which builds up to the fantastic, catchy chorus! The choreography for this song is also quite easy to follow along to, which has helped in it gaining a bit of traction on platforms such as Tik Tok, where several other idols, as well as regular people, are posting videos of themselves dancing to it. Overall, this song is a perfect fit for the group, and I don't see it leaving my head anytime soon.
9/10





'I Wish'

"I Wish" is heavily inspired by the R&B genre and incorporates a gorgeous saxophone phrase. The song also includes other unexpected elements like an electronic piano solo and whispers of flute behind the melody. Hoshi’s smooth vocals open the track, setting an automatic mood. A stronger pop beat is brought in later in the song, which I personally found to be a tad bit unfortunate since it starts to drown out the slick R&B sound they started out with. It would have been interesting to see what they could have produced if they stuck with the original mellow and laid back instrumentals. I can, however, see this working really well as an OST for a slice of life drama. Overall, it's a calming and nostalgic song, and I have a feeling it's going to grow on me with every listen even though at the moment, it is the weakest track on the album for me.
7.5/10



'My My'

I loved this song ever since it first dropped, even though I was annoyed at the time because it wasn't available yet on streaming platforms. It has definitely moved up my list of favourite SEVENTEEN songs from the last 2 years, and I love pretty much every element of it, from the "lalalalalala" right before the pre-chorus, the gorgeous chorus, and just the general light-hearted, summery vibes. The performance for the track is also really creative—as is the case for a majority of songs these boys put out—and it gives off the vibe of a group of friends, who are out for a picnic on a sunny afternoon. ''My My'' is such a fun and easy listen. I'm happy it's finally on Spotify since it's been on my daily playlist ever since the album dropped!


Regarding the theme of the song, the lyrics are very sincere and speak about believing in yourself in order to fulfil your dreams, with an encouraging message such as: ''Fly over the sea // Spread our wings of dreams // The weight of happiness // Can't be measured by anyone // No need to rush, you're doing fine // Just stay as you are // My journey starts with me''

8.5/10





'Kidult'

With this song's title being ''Kidult'', you wouldn't really know what to expect from it when you are going in for a first listen, but believe me when I say, it's way better than you can even imagine. It starts off in such a soothing manner, with some low-tone, lyrical rap verses, but then it escalates slowly into an absolutely stunning chorus that still leaves me all up in my feels. Leader S.Coups talked about how they intentionally made this a very vocally difficult song, but they do a great job at hiding that with how well each and every member executes their part to perfection. The song ends on a rather uncertain note, which is so fitting for their latest theme of coming-of-age and self-discovery. Given it has been nearly a month since the album was released, I can conclude with certainty that this is my favourite track on the album.
10/10



'Together'

Not only is this a satisfying conclusion to the album, but the way it follows immediately after ''Kidult'', was a great decision from the person in charge of the tracklist order. ''Together'' is a new addition to the list of songs from the group that would fit in really well as anime OSTs and in that regard, it reminds me a lot of ''Run to You'' from their ''Director's Cut'' repackage album. The brief moment where the instrumental almost entirely cuts off right before the chorus is very interesting. The final chorus, with all its amazing ad-libs, is the absolute highlight for me, and I'm in love with Seungkwan's vocals there. This isn't just me being biased towards him, I genuinely think he's one of the strongest vocalists of the current generation. The lyrics to the song feel extremely warm and reassuring, almost like someone's reaching out their hand for you to hold. Lyrics such as ''Even if the world goes the other way // We'll never get lost // I'm gonna walk straight // Come with me'' in particular, really stand out a lot from this beautiful track. A worthy end to an album of this calibre, especially as it closes the circle between the transition from "An Ode" to "Heng:garae".
9.5/10





Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the quality of ''Heng:garæ'', especially since I wasn't the biggest fan of ''An Ode'' barring a handful of songs. I'm really interested in seeing how they will continue to explore this new concept that revolves around youth and journey, especially if the quality of songs is similar, or even better, than those from this album. As someone who has kept quite a close eye on the group ever since their debut, I'm overjoyed at how each and every member has improved leaps and bounds in terms of their vocal ability, and I believe the cohesiveness within the group continues to bring us top-notch performances.


__________________________________________________

Artistic Creativity: 10/10
Vocal Quality: 9.5/10
Music: 8.8/10


9.4/10
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PROOFREAD BY: @AKID❀KI
GRAPHICS BY: @Mina
 

AKID❀KI

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Kidult is my fave too! It's such a gorgeous track and I love it. This is probably one of my favourite albums from svt. Like nearly all the songs are great. And even I wish is like okay. Quite average but not bad in any way.
And I honestly thought I would get sick of left and right because of that repetitive chorus but somehow I still dig it. It's just such a good ear worm. And the performance probably played a huge part in why I like it so much.
Ths rest of the songs are great too. My my is cute. Fearless would have been meh but that performance just elevated it and made it awesome. Together is lovely.
Altogether this is a brilliant comeback and I am honestly really happy because ode for me was kind of disappointing. I only liked about 3 songs from it. And other than hit I haven't replayed any of them.
 
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Dragon of the West

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Altogether this is a brilliant comeback and I am honestly really happy because ode for me was kind of disappointing. I only liked about 3 songs from it. And other than hit I haven't replayed any of them.
I'm definitely with you on that. I listened to An Ode quite a bit during the initial week when it was released I think this was also highly driven by my excitement over their surge in sales but found that there were only a handful of songs that I had on my playlist after that. Meanwhile, with Heng:garae, I still listen to 4/5 of the songs nearly every day even after a month.
 

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yay thank you for the review! henggarae felt like such a satisfying comeback not only because of the achievements, but because svt themselves were having a lot of fun performing on stage. it's a shame promotions were only 2 weeks long </3

there's a sentiment which i wholeheartedly agree with that this album felt like they've been able to break away from the fear and uncertainties that could be felt in the previous eras, where they were not sure what kind of direction they wanted to take with their music. i hope after this svt feels more liberating to express their creative freedom.

last but not least, stream fearless and anticipate their next japanese comeback, 24H!


 

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Thank you for the review! :LovePar:

I really love the sentiment of this album and it's probably up there in being one of my favourites! I Wish is the track I least like/listen to but overall I enjoy all the other tracks!

Other than the music, the DIY concept of the album is something I love about it. It's a bit flimsy trying to construct it with the screws and whatnot (though, most people use other things to put it together like ribbons) but I've seen a lot of creative designs and I love how people are having fun with it!