SEVENTEEN – 'AN ODE'
2. Lie Again
3. Poison: Fear
4. Let Me Hear You Say
5. 247 (Performance Team)
6. Second Life (Vocal Unit)
7. Network Love (Joshua, Jun, The8, Vernon)
8. Back it up (Hip Hop Team)
10. Snap Shoot
11. Happy Ending (Korean Ver.)
Seventeen has just dropped their third full album, 'An Ode.' Apparently, this album was highly anticipated -- they tripled their last album sales rate in a day. The album hit #1 in 10 countries on iTunes to boot. Of course, it's been almost 2 years since we've had an LP from this band. 'An Ode' features compositions by members Woozi and Vernon, not to mention lyrics by Mingyu, S.Coups, Hoshi, Seungkwan and Wonwoo.
Right off the bat, they hit us with the sonic attack of "HIT." I love this one. Loud synths, and vocals in the chorus like they mean it. Not only that, a generous amount of hip hop and staccato repetition makes this an awesome tune. Considering that they rap "this is a hit" in here makes it even better. It's like they're making fun of the whole scene. "Lie Again" hears a return to the tropical house beat. And in keeping with that, the tune is a quieter one, showcasing the boys' talents quite well. It's tender and soft, with just enough of a rhythm to keep it from being a ballad. "Poison: Fear" is their title track, majestic and awesome and loud, all wrapped up in a running time of just under 3 minutes. On this one, we hear the boys going all out in a club-banger, from soft and tender to loud and fierce in an eyeblink. This is possibly even better than "HIT." They pull out all the stops in this one and its pure aural ecstasy.
We move to "Let Me Hear You Say," another showcase for the boys' talents. It's more complicated than a few lines can encapsulate. There's rapping, more of the Vocal Team's smoothness, and some of the Performance Team's tight compositions. It's an extremely satisfying pop tune, with something for everyone. "247" is an R&B slow jam, and again you get that smoothness that Seventeen is known for. It's a little more mature than past R&B tunes, though, which is in keeping with the concept. We get a rest from R&B for a bit on "Second Life," a sweet-sounding soft pop tune done by the vocal unit. The trademark top-shelf vocals that the Performance Team is known for are brought front and center here. What's nice about this is the time changes, and how they bring different elements into each part. There's a pounding drum and a thrumming bass part to one section, and an insistent piano riff in another.
Tropical house elements also show up in "Network Love." And these boys just kill it here, bringing a sense of urgency to this funky club-banger. They drizzle falsetto all over this pop confection. This really had me wanting to dance. "Back It Up," by the Hip-Hop Team, is my jam. If I thought "HIT" was hot, well this one just freezes that one out. They crank things way up here, with the repetition, staccato effects, and an awesome bass line. And they sound absolutely fierce in the chorus. They get playful on "Lucky." Yeah, it's a little more upbeat than the last track, but that's not a bad thing. They don't lose any of the energy they've shown in the last few tracks and have crafted a top-notch club banger. "Snap Shoot" is also a pop tune, melding the rap and vocal parts seamlessly. It's a different sound than "Lucky," but it's very definitely Seventeen. I really like that they gave the rappers a larger slice of the pie on this one.
"Happy Ending" is simply a Korean version of their Japanese hit. Does it sound different? A little. They don't lose any of that magic in the translation. I think it sounds better than the original, frankly. And yeah, it's a happy ending to this LP.
You always knew what to expect from a Seventeen album, whether they were yearning teens on 'You Make My Day,' or upbeat pop artists on 'We Make You.' Well, they're all grown up now. And the tunes have become slightly darker and more musically complex. They're also more polished. Rather than repeat the same formulas, they've found new ones to try on and rocking the new sounds quite fashionably, thank you very much. These guys have only gotten better with time.
The boys are darkly handsome in the new MV for "Poison: Fear".
This MV relies on interesting effects as distractions. Taken by itself, there isn't that much that's amusing (well, okay, ladies -- there are your biases). But other than that, the video's largely cheap. Taken with sets that looked like they were half-done, along with folding chairs...not really all that amazing.
But the shots!
A black and white shot of a member in a suit, while a sheet of tinsel shimmers and dances nearby. The glitter, the billowy clouds, the odd video glitches, and glowing rocks. Throw in some doe-eyed looks and you've got this MV in a nutshell. And, of course, there's the dancing.
Dancing in front of an odd special effect, the boys are in dark suits, and perfectly in sync. They're okay that way, but during the chorus, they crank up the choreo to 11 and really give us a show. At times, the lights go out and all we can see are silhouettes, which just makes this overall better.
Did it keep my attention? You bet. Thumbs up on this one? You bet.
MV SCORE: 8.3
ALBUM SCORE: 8.6