Seventeen – “Highlight” Review

(Music
Video—Dance Version)

Seventeen – Highlight

Reviewed
on January 8, 2016

In
terms of my stance, while I agree that the choreography aspect is stunning—as
to be expected from the performance unit—and I equally agree that the vocals
are decent, I do hesitate to highly praise the composition of the song. As the
review will attempt to highlight in “Highlight” (pun partially intended), the
song uses many unique composition techniques and decisions, but akin to
Meng
Jia’s “Drip,”
those said decisions might not be
the most optimal choices for musical appeal.

Personal Message:
Shout-out to the men and women who
worked as makeup artists for this music video. Random compliment aside (though
truly the men looked stunning in the music video—and yes, this is coming from a
heterosexual male as we need to critically challenge current notions of what
“being a man” is), I wish to thank a reader for recommending this song—and the
other ones—to me. While recommendations are not necessarily requests and thus I
could have opted not to review this, I find that “Highlight” brings interesting
musical discussions and that it perfectly fits with my review schedule of
bringing in more male artists.

Furthermore, as the recommender
mentions, she/he is curious on my take to songs that are, in summary, less
mainstream “idol songs”—songs that are not of the usual, traditional pop genre.
While Seventeen is a boy group that is still definitely a part of mainstream
pop music and are rather popular now, “Highlight” does technically deviate
away: physically, this is the “performance unit” of the normally
thirteen-membered group and thus consists of only Jun, Hoshi, The8, and Dino; and
musically, “Highlight” follows more of an EDM genre versus pop. That said, I
acknowledge EDM is still under the overarching label of “popular music”
especially as of the late (such as with EXO’s “Dancing King”), but indeed it is different from
the more common form of K-Pop.

Onto the review itself, I have
noticed many people have been praising this song in particular. For one, it
comes from the performance unit and considering the other units are the
“hip-hop unit” and “vocal unit,” it is a unit that might be overlooked. Besides
that, however, on a musical level “Highlight” has been deemed by many fans as
the best song on Seventeen’s recent album—this being what we care most about
for our discussion. Fans praise the song for its spectacular vocals, excellent composition,
and of course for its stellar choreography. In terms of my stance, while I
agree that the choreography aspect is stunning—as to be expected from the performance
unit—and I equally agree that the vocals are decent, I do hesitate to highly praise
the composition of the song. As the review will attempt to highlight in
“Highlight” (pun partially intended), the song uses many unique composition
techniques and decisions, but akin to Meng Jia’s “Drip,” those said decisions might not be
the most optimal choices for musical appeal.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 6/10
(5.75/10 raw score) – “Slightly above average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.14/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Conclusion

1.     Introduction:
3/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 6/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Rap: 7/10

6.     Bridge: 5/10

7.     Conclusion: 7/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 7/10

[Introduction instrumental]

When spread out pieces come together,
I’m finally able to breathe
When two lights meet,
they shine each other’s tomorrow
When the sun sets and darkness comes,
I remember only your warmth
A place where stars are embracing
Go towards there, I’ll be there

I want to match you to my heart
Like the sky and sun at dawn
We’re becoming similar along with time
Look at us that will become one in the end
I’m like a bird, I’ll fly
To wherever it is that I hear your voice from
In the air, whenever
(The moment that we face)

Highlight
Highlight
Highlight
(The me in your eyes
The you in my eyes
I can’t see the end
to the depth of your eyes
Believe in this moment
A miracle will appear
Regardless of whether it’s day or night
I’ll be by your side)

My lips only move
in your sight
Emptiness is filled by
each other’s expressions
making it meaningful
A feeling that only we know
You’re pulling me somewhere

My reason of existence is you
You make me want to smile like the spring
Wherever and whatever we’re doing
I know well that it’s not important
I’m just attracted by your stare
In order to make this moment shine,
I turn on the switch

I want to match you to my heart
Like the sky and sun at dawn
We’re becoming similar along with time
Look at us that will become one in the end
I’m like a bird, I’ll fly
To wherever it is that I hear your voice from
In the air, whenever
(The moment that we face)

Highlight
Highlight
Highlight
(The me in your eyes
The you in my eyes
I can’t see the end
to the depth of your eyes
Believe in this moment
A miracle will appear
Regardless of whether it’s day or night
I’ll be by your side)

Baby you
I look back at the time,
the times I earnestly dreamt of,
are becoming closer
Days where I held back tears
are left behind in my footsteps
Wherever in this world it may be,
if we believe in each other
This moment that we face

Highlight
Highlight
Highlight
(The me in your eyes
The you in my eyes
I can’t see the end
to the depth of your eyes
Believe in this moment
A miracle will appear
Regardless of whether it’s day or night
I’ll be by your side)

[Conclusion instrumental]

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
Regarding what I mean by my statements above, “Highlight” is a song that
focuses on “imagery”—and readers should refer to the linked review of “Drip”
for another song example of such. In other words, many of the creative
composition points in the song are not geared towards augmenting the song in a
musical sense per se; those points, instead, are done to promote the lyrics’ narrative
or to create a more vivid “imagery” of the said narrative—both of which are not
purely focused on music in of itself, however.

Let
us focus on the choruses for an example. From a non-musical perspective, one
very unique aspect here is that the murmurings are not inaudible nonsense: they
are, if correct, lyrics in Chinese (Mandarin in specific). Now not only does
this steer away from the usual form of including English lyrics (which I plan
to one day write a Critical Discussion on it that discusses the inclusion of
English in K-Pop and even Chinese Pop—both musically and socially), but moreover
the style in which the Chinese lyrics are included enhances the song’s
narrative as we could interpret this as the protagonist’s inner thoughts. Another
non-musical strength that exists is towards the very beginning of the song: the
inclusion of ambient noises. That said to clarify this, it should be noted that
the ambient noise at the very start of the song is in fact a part of the song; it is not just due to the music
video itself as I have checked various audio sources and all include it. As for
why this particular introduction matters, while we will soon discuss it in a
musical sense, I do wish to give credit to the storytelling effects this
brings: it sets an emotional tone of reminiscing over matters—this being one
possible interpretation of the song in whole.

And
so, readers may be confused on why I mention these points if they do not relate
to the review itself. I do this so that readers can understand why the composers made those decisions.
Even if these decisions, as we will find, are arguably hindering to the song’s
musical appeal, they exist for another purpose that I still have to acknowledge
and do not wish to merely dismiss as poor composing. Especially if we return to
Jia’s “Drip,” it would be limiting to just criticize that song’s composition
without at least acknowledging why the composers opted for “Drip” ‘s odd
choruses. In Seventeen’s “Highlight,” I wish to equally do the same: give
respect for the composers’ decisions that help forward the song’s lyrical and emotional
narrative.

With
that aside, though, let us now focus on the song itself and particularly with
how those “story enhancing” components play out. With the choruses, while the
plain instrumental that is backed by the occasional “highlight” phrase is at
most average, I argue it is the murmuring that impairs these sections.
Certainly the murmuring adds contrast and prevents a potentially stale and
repetitive chorus, but because of how the song is overall structured to have a
pure, electronic instrumental as the climactic moments—as we can tell by
gauging how the verses and pre-choruses escalate the song to the choruses—it would
have served the song better if that very structural form was supplemented and not contrasted or if
the murmuring portion was simply removed. As it currently is, the murmuring
ironically still add onto the choruses’ repetitive nature—and potentially even
more so as the low, grumbling creates a more monotonous sound—and more
detrimentally, it steals away the choruses’ main sonic appeal: an upbeat, clean
wave-like instrumental.

As
for the introduction, for something I have yet to discuss on the blog, length
is a factor to bear in mind. Unfortunately, “Highlight” falls into the problem
of being excessive in length: the introduction could have started when the
lighter instrumental sounds kicked in and of which then are instantly followed
by the vocals. Instead as a result, the many seconds at the start come off as
fillers: moments that are simply unnecessary. The ambient noises do not bring
any sonic appeal, and additionally, are never referenced to again throughout
the song. If, for example, the ambient noises were then heard again at the
conclusion, it would have added cohesion to the song and doing so would have
very much been a sharp conclusion. While the conclusion still is a stronger
one, the introduction however struggles now because without actually reusing
the ambient noises, the introduction seems to be overly abstract and out of
place and, harshly said, wasted space and time.

Miraculously,
though, as readers can notice, the song still scores at a six and thus, there
are still indeed many stronger points—these I would say outnumber the
weaknesses to the song. The vocals are a category to focus on. Intriguingly
here, many parts of the vocals throughout were edited with electronic sounds.
However, unlike in most cases where doing such reduces down the tune and
muddles the vocals’ sound, in “Highlight” the vocals when edited were
appropriate in scale and thus the tune was still clear and it allowed the
vocals to sonically match with the instrumental. Furthermore, the vocals were
edited only at specific moments: when the song was greatly increasing in
intensity—such as towards the latter half of the pre-choruses. Otherwise,
vocals were not modified and during these cases, the members delivered excellent
singing and rapping.

On
the topic of rapping, the sections barring the choruses and introduction were
overall decent. The rapping in particular was well positioned and executed. In
more depth, I refer to how the rapping seamlessly occurred after the second
verse as the section continued on the second verse’s instrumental and pacing
but then slightly increased said pacing to create a perfect setup for rapping.
The rapping itself, then, was also well done with the usual of flow and tune.
The only weaker sections—though “weaker” is an inaccurate term as both are at
least average—would be the verses and bridge as, while they accomplish their
usual roles, both bring minimal interest in the overall hearing of the song
versus merely progressing the song. Similar, the instrumental follows suit: the
sound of it is nothing unique though it is still pleasing, and structurally the
instrumental adds the usual of transitions and a foundation for all the other
sections though it is merely average in those roles.

Overall,
“Highlight” is a song that ultimately holds well even with many weaker points.
The instrumental and sections may be average and if focusing on particular
sections even weak, but indeed “Highlight” is a song that orientates toward not
just sounding well but also performing
well—both visually with dance and emotionally with the song’s lyrics. Given
that this is the performance unit of Seventeen, the song makes sense: it sacrifices
some musical appeal for some additional performance appeal, and that is perfectly
acceptable if we consider that this song is meant for the performing aspect and
not so much as for, say, the vocals. Now if this song was for the vocal unit, it
would be questionable but as said, this is not the case. Regardless, though, as
this blog focuses on the pure musical aspect to K-Pop songs, “Highlight” still
has a few glaring issues that exist due to that trading of “music-for-performance,”
but in the end, it still holds as a decent song.

_______________________________________________________

I
personally am not too satisfied with this review as I could have definitely
spent more time discussing the song itself and not just focusing on the
discussion of “performance versus music,” but given that reviews truly hone in
on individual songs and each song’s particular case (lest, as said before,
readers read robotic input-and-output reviews), I find that the discussion in
this review will be relevant to Seventeen fans.

Also,
I do want to apologize for not being as active with reviews as I should be, but
I definitely have many coming out and with following the reviewing philosophy
of focusing the discussion of each song to its specific context, I can probably
be more concise yet even more thoughtful for the reviewed song at hand. But,
either way, readers deserve an apology for a somewhat slower posting rate than
promised. I will do my best to keep releasing reviews, and when university
returns in a week, I hope to increase the rate of reviews by being more precise
yet concise in discussion.

Look
forward to many comeback reviews—two of which include two older pop artists,
and a request (which I received during the time of writing this). “A miracle
will appear,” hopefully, so that reviews are on schedule. AOA’s “Excuse Me”
will most likely be the next review.

SEVENTEEN – “Adore U” Review

SEVENTEEN – Adore U (Dance + Mashup Version)

SEVENTEEN – Adore U

Reviewed on June 18, 2015

image

Personal Message: Though my prior review on Infinite’s “The Chaser” was published a day ago, I will already resume writing. Three major motivating factors are active: For one, this is a requested review, and thus, I do not intend to revive past mistakes of highly delaying requests. Secondly, a friend’s comical reminder of “papers don’t write themselves” (comically speaking, it is a bit concerning that my reviews are synonymous to “papers” due to length), but thirdly, for the largest factor, AOA’s comeback of “Heart Attack” will occur on June 22, and with biasedly loving the group and sentimental value of my old review on their hit song of “Like a Cat,” I do feel obliged to instantly review their comeback. And of course, writing reviews is something that is fun and a few readers are anticipating them.

On topic, this review will be on SEVENTEEN, a newly debuted 13-membered male group, and as the requester humorously put, there are many members. Many. How this will affect the review will be unclear, but I already anticipate hassles in terms of tracking who remains in charge of which sections (for readers, however, it will all be sorted out and therefore not an issue). Briefly describing my overarching opinion of their debut song, “Adore U,” while the usual trend in debuts is that, due to various reasons such as it being the first song, a vast majority are moreover average or worse, I do admire SEVENTEEN’s debut for being thorough and, impressively, for not even appearing as a debut. “Adore U” plays out as if it were any regular song, not one of introducing the group or one that overly emphasizes a group’s general style and concept. However, though I will praise it in that regard, once the review begins, I do predict this song to be either “average” or “slightly above average,” which for a debut song would be impressive ratings as the men could only improve from such.

To address the video link as it is partially different from the usual ones, it is a dance version of their music video, but towards the end, it does become a “mashup.” Nevertheless, the choreography remains sufficient in length so that the video is still viable. Drifting to a new topic, for one that is surrounding the men of SEVENTEEN, I will discuss an interesting point involving one of their members (and as I always say, for those who desire to focus purely on the music, skip to below): Vernon, and more specifically, him being biracial. Pitifully, him being half Korean (father’s side) and White (mother’s side) elicits the current upcoming discussion when that should not ever be the case; by simply being biracial, he has faced tremendous racist remarks, and furthermore, in recent times, is being bashed by many for “pulling the race card,” but realistically, I should not have to venture into the subject because there should not be any instances of racism in the first place. Nonetheless, clearly, there are apparent issues, and rather than shying away, I will be diving in depth with this topic. Topics of race are uncomfortable, hence why they are vital to discuss and to understand on a social scale and in detail.

To begin, I will first offer context of the situation: Vernon, in his younger days, explained how he was often time called a “halfer,” was stared at, and of course, faced other subtle yet racist treatments (and as a side note, this was in South Korea; this serves as a prime example of how the “dominant” group varies per place, as briefly discussed in my post of EXID and TMZ, but needless to say, still exists). Now, although this incident was moreover in the past and shared when he was a child, for current times, many have decided to belittle his past experience, and thus, are claiming Vernon is simply “pulling the race card” as his shared experience is merely to garner attention. Sadly, however, this “belittling” of his story is unacceptable; his experience is what every person of a minoritized race undergoes, even to the extent of a daily basis, and to claim his story is for attention utterly defeats the purpose of why Vernon’s younger self had to share such.

Dissecting the “race card” phrase, in this specific scenario, first of all, it is already erroneous to claim Vernon is “pulling” anything as, from what I understand, he has not done so; Vernon has not brought up his experience with racism in modern time, but rather, people have found his old, childhood story, and thus, to claim he is “pulling the race card” is incredibly false as he, blatantly, has not done anything, and therefore, to claim he is seeking attention through such is simply illogical. If he did indeed recently claim and told his story (which will still not be seeking attention, as to be explained below) as the current matured Vernon, then at the very least, the current accusations would partially hold as, correct, he is bringing up the story. But, as stated, with him not conducting any discussion of his experience in current times, he should not be accused for “pulling the race card.” At most, accusers are the ones that are “pulling” something by digging up archaic news.

Nevertheless, even if he did bring his experience into discussion in recent times, irrationally claiming Vernon is “pulling the race card” to seek attention undermines his story, of which is costly. In essence, utilizing that phrase is identical to saying: Vernon’s (or anyone) experience with racism is miniscule; racism is nothing major, and those who claim they face racial discrimination are merely stating so for sympathy and attention. This is also exceptionally akin to the idea of justifying racist claims and jokes: “it is simply a joke, don’t be so sensitive,” or “I didn’t mean you, though,” for examples, work in a similar fashion to the “pulling the race card” phrase as, once more, undermining racism, and in many ways, justifying and encouraging it, is what occurs from utilizing those related phrases.  

Rather than viewing Vernon’s past story as him seeking attention, the more critical, open approach would be to understand his perspective. Acts of racism are still highly prevalent, but in juxtaposition to older times, are much more discreet. Members of minoritized races constantly endure microaggressions: relentless questions of “where are you from,” widespread exposure to racist “jokes” and comments, and overall, simply the feeling of inferiority to the dominant race. Racism, unequivocally, still exists. Though it is now socially unacceptable for blatant racism to occur, the version of veiled racism thrives. Relating the phrase of “pulling the race card,” this phrase’s sole existence is to defend subtle racism, and thus, for an ultimate point, it should never be used as incidents of racism are not shared for the sake of attention, but instead, attention so that proper, humane changes can occur. No one “pulls the race card” because of desiring attention; the “race card” is “pulled” by those who wish to continue perpetuating racism.

Until my senior year in high school, I had always believed racism (or any oppressions for that matter) were solely feelings; I had perceived “-ism” terms as people being overly emotionally sensitive. Truthfully, however, and for why these labels are coined as “social issues,” as the name, they are on a social level, not one of emotional feelings. These issues cannot be shoved away as “just jokes” or “pulling the card,” these issues need to be confronted directly, regardless of how uncomfortable. As an overall point, to tie into SEVENTEEN and Vernon’s case, his words and story are important and are not to seek attention; he is bringing attention to an ongoing social issue that needs to be challenged so that, in the future, no child or person would have to tell a similar story to what Vernon’s younger self had to share.

Of course, varying opinions are desired, and thus, I do hope readers who read the earlier portion develop their own understanding and care. Returning to “Adore U” in a musical lens, though, in honesty, I am very intimidated by the number of members and the number of song sections to analyze, their group size will not be a factor in the song’s rating (until the Line Distribution). “Adore U” may be promising in the category of vocals, but once the other aspects are included, I do remain skeptical on how well the song as a whole holds. Ending the anxiety of waiting, this review will determine if “Adore U” is worth adoring.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10 (5.4/10 raw score) – “Average”

– Vocals: 7/10 – With 13 members existing, rather than individually critiquing every member, I will analyze the vocals in “Adore U” collectively. That said, SEVENTEEN’s vocals in “Adore U” are admirable. Though they may be new in the K-Pop industry, the same cannot be said for their skills; SEVENTEEN’s singing possesses higher-end traits, as would be seen in more experienced groups. Expanding on those traits, for the strongest point, the vocals remain exceptionally diverse: notes range from lows to highs, the melody is versatile via being lively and dynamic but also calm and slow, rapping and standard singing alternate, and overall, with many members, every line possesses its own voice, and therefore, more appeal exists. Ignoring the layer of variety, the occurring singing and even rapping are musically enchanting. Deeper pitches, as during the first verse, grant a soothing effect, and as for the higher pitches such as during the choruses, a desirable, energetic flow is in place. Furthermore, moments of staleness are nonexistent; with the vocals’ melodies constantly showcasing a flexible style, be it common changes in pacing or adding in note stretches, every moment of singing in “Adore U” remains adoring.

Variety is arguably the men’s best trait for their vocals. Above average will hold as the score. Although the following categories (Sections, Line Distribution, etc.) may lack, the vocals certainly hold well. If the prediction becomes a reality, “Adore U” will serve as a transparent example of how even though high talent may be in place, a song requires more than 13 members delivering excellent vocals since 15 members are needed.

– Sections: 5/10 (5.43/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Conclusion (Post-Chorus)

1. Introduction: 6/10 – Five members cooperate for the introduction (and as a disclaimer, I do apologize if I am inaccurate for labeling who remains responsible for which sections; tracking 13 members is not an easy task): S. Coups, Vernon, Jun, Mingyu, and Hoshi.

Addressing the structural component, the introduction shines with fulfilling its role. Rather than introducing singing vocals, a familiar concept, as in many previous reviews, is used. Regular speaking, and later, whispering, are used. As a result of preserving the actual singing, anticipation becomes created, of which is a necessary outcome for an introduction to be enticing. In focus of the section in itself, the progression deserves praise for following a suiting pace and development: standard phrases are thrown while tints of an electric guitar accompany them, but later, once the whispering occurs, heavier beats become included. Many favorable outcomes exist due to the progression. For a basic example, a perfect level of intensity is gleaned; the introduction does not fail to transition to the verse due to being too passive, nor is there an issue of the introduction being too upbeat and lively as if it were a chorus. Another desirable point, however, is the song’s tone is clearly given. The song’s general rate and pacing is reflected in the introduction’s own progression rate. Heavier and medium-paced beats can be assumed as the song’s flow and pacing, and with this, the introduction becomes additionally appealing and cohesive.

Though the introduction should be numerically rated highly, the sonic aspect does falter, and it is more than merely the lack of singing vocals. Though the latter point does not directly hinder the score, it does significantly increase difficulties of possessing a section that is sonically infatuating. In “Adore U,” the lack of singing vocals is detrimental as the speaking and whispering phrases do not compensate; their voices, while on an individual level are nice and worthy of hearing (as are all voices in general; every voice should be loved), are not musically attracting as, blatantly, it is merely speaking (for a side note, solely one song has been an exception: Secret’s “I’m In Love” where Hyosung’s introduction of speaking was, miraculously, indeed musically charming, though she was accompanied with some tuneful humming). Even with the instrumental, which, once covered later, will showcase that it is moreover average, and thus, is also incapable of improving the introduction’s sonic layer.

Slightly above average will be the score. Considering how the introduction is nearly bereft of a sonic component, this score should be noteworthy as it indicates the structural portion is very much admirable.

2. Verse: 5/10 – For the verses, Seungkwan and DK handle the first, and for the second, S. Coups, Hoshi, Vernon, The8 (yes, this is his stage name and not a typo), Jun, and Joshua are all responsible. In truth, if the first verse was repeated, the score would be vastly higher. For how I will dissect the verses, I will follow the default protocol of mechanical and structural, but from there, I will analyze the first verse then second verse, and afterwards, offer an overall conclusion.

With that, for the mechanical layer to the verses, peering at the first verse, beautiful singing occurs. Both members’ notes range from low to middle, and furthermore, they remain exceptionally melodic. Their first seconds of performing a lower note stretch, and also, additional note stretches at the end, are prime examples of how the couple creates, emphasizes, and accentuates, the first verse’s captivating melody. Simply stated, solid singing is unveiled. Unfortunately, for the second verse, the first verse’s seducing traits are displaced: the second verse is bleak of not only attracting singing, but also, rapping. In the context of the second verse, the first two members, in truth, were not quite singing or rapping, but instead, practically speaking, though a tune was attached. Nevertheless, due to such, little appeal is given from the two. Following up with the next member, Vernon’s short rap is as impactful as its length; although it would be false to label his rap as horrid, it is solely average. Now afterwards, the remaining members adopt the first two members’ style of speaking, but at the very least, a slightly more melodic approach exists. Nonetheless, a monotone, tedious style becomes in place.

For the structural layer, once more, the first verse proves better. Though both verses do repeat their lines’ formats, the first verse benefits while the second suffers. Elaborating, in terms of the first verse, while both members replicate one another, with their singing holding favorably, recycling a similar format is increasing the time span of said singing, and that is no issue as fantastic singing occurs for longer. However, conversely, for the second verse, with relatively poorer vocals showcased, reusing similar lines is solely pushing more weaker vocals, and thus, is not appealing. Even on a more individual level, the first verse’s lyrics variate and are more than a single, basic tune. The same is not applied to the second verse: the rapping lines are not thorough with melody and flow, and blatantly, the moments that of speaking phrases were monotonous.

Average will be the score. Should the first verses have been reused, “Adore U” would possess very prominent, marvelous verses, but unluckily, the second verse does hinder the overall score.

3. Pre-Chorus: 5/10 – Vernon and Dino pair up for the first pre-chorus while Wonwoo and Mingyu handle the second. To already reveal the rating, average is how the pre-choruses hold. Both components of mechanical and structural neither have pressing issues or solid points.

Focusing on the mechanical side, the pre-choruses take the overall form of rapping, although slower than typical ones. While the lines are not lacking melody, the existing melody fails to be enticing. Additionally, the traits of the rap are equally in a state of average: The pacing, though unique in the sense of being slower, is nothing phenomenal. Lines remain relatively unchanged from one another, but due to a shorter length, rather than being impairing, it holds as average. Both of those aspects have the potential to influence the mechanical layer positively or negatively, but in “Adore U” ‘s case, nothing is modified; the rapping in a musical sense remains plain as no aspect is remarkable.

Structurally, the same trend of average continues. Although members alternating between lines do provide variety, with how similar their lines are to one another, it is not potent. At most, a pause is granted from the alternating. Nevertheless, it is not entirely mundane, and in a few ways, is still effective as noted by the mentioned pause, but overall, this aspect is, as the trend, average. In terms of the pre-choruses holding up to their roles, predominantly the ending is where the actual transition occurs; solely at the end of the pre-choruses are moments where it is clear that the section carries into the chorus. Though it is preferable for the entire section to be connoted with the role of transitioning the song into the chorus, in “Adore U,” it is still functional. Thus, rather than it failing to suit its role, it acquires it, although in the end it is an average route.

If the word average has not been stated enough, I will reiterate it once more: the section will be rated as average. The mechanical and structural layers are both plain; nothing renders as menacing, but nothing is praiseworthy.

4. Chorus: 7/10 – Jeonghan, Woozi, and DK are responsible for all of the choruses.

Excluding the first verse, the choruses are the song’s most appealing section on a sonic layer. Undeviating, basic vocals are nonexistent as variety exists: stronger vocals are apparent, but softer ones are also established. Furthermore, a catchy, flowing melody is in place. Focusing on the melody, with multiple note stretches occurring, such as at the end of the first line, or more explicitly, during “yoohoo” by Woozi, the melody becomes exceptionally detailed, diverse, and simply appealing. Adding on, in addition to an infatuating melody, variance occurs in the form of power: DK and Woozi’s final lines during the chorus are slightly more prominent than the earlier lines, and thus, more variety is gleaned, and of course, traces of power are pleasing to hear.

Structurally, many points translate over. As the two categories are related, due to the structural side succeeding, the musical portion equally thrives and becomes amplified. The listed multiple aspects, such as note stretches, regular singing, changes in power, and for what is not listed, even changes in pacing, are all in benefit of the structural side, and as a result, the mechanical side is also indirectly aided. But, on an individual level, the structure renders as marvelous due to being extremely thorough. On that note, for how it holds as a chorus, it suits “Adore U” with providing an energetic, upbeat and climactic section in the song.

For another aspect that suits “Adore U,” a seven for above average will do. The singing and format in the choruses are pleasing.

5. Post-Chorus: 4/10 – The first post-chorus is handled by Woozi and Mingyu, and the second one involves Woozi but with Hoshi.

For the sonic component to the post-choruses, it can be rendered as mediocre, sadly. While traces of power in the form of vocals are disclosed, the overarching singing holds as unadorned; moments of singing involve either stronger, chopped words, or a basic phrase. Regardless of the form, both can be considered stale. The instances of power in vocals remain moreover isolated than in combination to genuine singing, and thus, is now miniscule. As for the following phrases, with nearly standard speaking in place, little appeal exists in that regard, similar to the moments of paused, stronger vocals.

In terms of the structure, there are points of positivity. For one, the section serves its traditional role: bringing the chorus to a proper point so that “Adore U” can begin anew with another verse. In comparison to the choruses, the post-choruses are significantly calmer, and furthermore, perfectly transition to the upcoming verses via having similar, plain vocals, and because of the sections’ format of being slower paced and chopped, both of which allow the song to easily shift style (such as into a different section).

Nevertheless, slightly below average will hold as the score. The sonic piece of the post-choruses is incredibly insipid, and even despite a decent structural side, the lacking vocals are too impairing.

6. Bridge: 6/10 – Seungkwan, DK, Vernon, and S. Coups collaborate with each other for the bridge.

Spotlighting the bridge’s prime point, the structural side prevails with its variety and progression. Variety is observed due to the added layers of softer singing, a rap, more impactful singing, and eventually, a note hold. Sufficient appeal is created from such. Now, in focus of the progression, each specific style of vocals (soft singing, rap, and impactful singing) possesses a critical role: the softer singing introduces the bridge and lays the foundation, the rapping then serves as a bridge (no pun intended) for the bridge to escalate in terms of more active vocals, and finally, the stronger vocals and the note hold occur to leave a climactic point in “Adore U.”

Transitioning into the mechanical aspect, unlike the structural layer, it cannot be equally considered as solid. Initial vocals, in credit to the same duo at the verses, Seungkwan and DK, are exceptionally alluring, as expected from the two. Progressing further, when the rapping occurs, it does hold well as, dissimilar to the prior moments of rapping, melody and fluctuation are added attributes. However, for the final seconds, the note hold is dissatisfying. Though it remains in scope and suits the song’s overall tone, the note hold’s strain is excessive; a crisp, clear note hold would have been more sonically pleasing as the current, exaggerated strain is overly prioritizing power and not other necessary traits, such as melody.  

Slightly above average will be the rating. The mechanical layer, while hindered by the note hold, still remains decent when accounting for the softer vocals and rap, and of course, the structural portion holds well.

7. Conclusion (Post-Chorus): 5/10 – As in the regular post-choruses, Woozi, Mingyu, and Hoshi return. What remains fundamentally different, however, is that they all participate.

With the conclusion reusing an exact replica of the earlier post-choruses, the mechanical layer will not be discussed as it has already been covered. Summarizing the prior point: the vocals are not tempting. That said, for what will be scrutinized, the conclusion’s structure is still valid. Although on the individual layer, the conclusion is weak as, directly, the post-choruses’ structures are not enticing, for the role of a conclusion, the section provides a proper end to “Adore U.” A calmer state is gleaned from the conclusion, and due to the post-choruses’ format of pauses, points of ending are widespread as it would be possible to, in essence, abruptly end the song as the section is already replicating a closure via a sluggish rate. Lastly, “Adore U” ‘s traces still linger; with the lyrics including “adore you,” the song ends with its key phrase/lyrics.

Should the mechanical layer somehow improve, the conclusion would hold a better score, but due to the post-choruses being reused, those impeding aspects carry over and thus, average will hold for the conclusion.

– Line Distribution: 4/10 – 13 members in SEVENTEEN should, assumingly, bring issues with how lines are distributed. Putting aside apprehensive feelings, this category will discover if there are truly any issues (and a rather daunting task that is).

Starting with S. Coups, his section count includes the introduction, second verse, and bridge. Three is his count, and due to the copious amount of members, I will cease adding comments until the end (or near the end).

For Jeonghan, all of the three choruses are possessed. Three is also his count.

Joshua’s lines consist of the second verse. Nothing more or less. One is his count, and depending on the remaining members, this may be an issue.

Jun’s count involves the introduction and second verse. Two will be his number of sections.

In terms of Hoshi, the second verse and two post-choruses were where his lines appeared at. Three is his count, and so far, considering the number of members, it appears a high score is plausible.

The sixth member to be analyzed, Wonwoo, has lines at solely the second pre-chorus. One is his value.

Woozi’s sections includes the three choruses and the three post-choruses. Six, disturbingly, is his count. A disparity is apparent from this.

Gauging DK next, the first verse, the three choruses, and the bridge are his moments. Thus, five is his total.

For Mingyu, and I do apologize for briskly gauging the members, the introduction, two post-choruses, and one pre-chorus are his sections. Four is his count.

The8’s count is not quite an eight, and surprisingly, is far from it: one is his count, of which is at the second verse.

Seungkwan’s spotlight includes the first verse and the bridge. Considering his stunning vocals at the first verse, it is intriguing that he possessed few sections. On topic, two is his count.

For Vernon, the introduction, first pre-chorus, second verse, and bridge, are his sections. As a result, four is his value.

Lastly, for the final member, Dino’s parts are heard at the first pre-chorus. One is his count.

Finally delivering a score for SEVENTEEN, with the perfect distribution being at two or three lines, the group is rather off. Three members possess 3 sections and two members possess 2 sections, and the remainder, four members at 1 section, and two members with 4 sections and one member for 5 sections and 6 sections. With the current large disparity, slightly below average will have to be the rating. Many members are not in the range of two or three sections, and in some cases, relatively far away from such. Accounting for the extremely large group size, this is to be expected.

– Instrumental: 5/10 – Glimpsing at “Adore U” ‘s instrumental, while it is far from horrendous, it is equally distant from being superior.

Mechanically, the beats and bassline provide much: the heavier, slower beats and bass during calmer sections offer a tranquilizing effect, and with the smooth, subtle aspect it possess from manipulating lower pitches, it remains further pleasing. For more upbeat sections, such as the chorus, the deeper bassline and beats still exist, though modified; during the choruses, rather than fully disappearing, the bass and beats adopt a higher pitch, but nonetheless are still apparent. Due to such, the same pleasing traits carry over, but furthermore, are even more suiting. Lastly, tints of electric guitar occur at the post-choruses, and in addition to providing more instruments, it results in an exceptionally fitting tune with the sections’ vocals and flow.

Structurally, more direct flaws are available. While vocals are flawlessly accommodated based on intensity (for example, a calm instrumental exists during the verse, and expectedly a more energetic one for the choruses), in focus of the instrumental itself, the structure is stagnant; the instrumental fails to fluctuate as, for the most part, solely pitch changes occur, but actual change in the instrumental’s form does not. Highlighting an example, for sections that are not the chorus, the same, slower paced soundtrack occurs, and once the chorus plays, it simply alters in pitch. Afterwards, the same style is utilized.

Once factoring in the somewhat unmalleable structure of the instrumental, and furthermore, the mechanical layer as, while the deeper beats and bass are soothing, they become mundane quickly, the instrumental holds averagely. Five will be the score to represent such.

– Meaning: 6/10 – With a song title of “Adore U,” a flirtatious one is in mind. Perhaps the main character is “adoring” their love-interest. But of course, it may not even be a lover they adore, perhaps it is a role model for instance. Ignoring my shameful assumptions, the following Korean-to-English translated lyrics will offer the true plot to “Adore U.” The lyrics are not 100% , but it should be valid enough to discover the song’s story:

Ayo ayo (Seventeen) Yo! You know what?
These days, I have a lot of thoughts
These days, I have so much to tell you (these days)

I feel weird, I’m not talking as much
My friends are all worried (these days)
My heart races only when I’m in front of you
So I’m sorry about my clumsy actions

I still can’t control it
Please don’t play with me
Why are you keeping a front?
I don’t know, I don’t know what will happen

So what I mean is, I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

How can you dazzle so much?
You’re so pretty it’s selfish but your personality
is so humble
This is not the place to joke around
I’m announcing the fact about your charms
Is it because I like how you smile at me?
Or do I just seem light to you?
Yeah, if you’re finding a spot
Yeah, right next to me is good
Yeah, I have a lot of interest in you
Even your shoe size, oh oh

I’m on fire right now because of you
It’s impossible to cool me down
I’m on fire right now because of you
I don’t know, I don’t know, it’ll happen somehow

So what I mean is, I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

You can lean right here
You can cover your pain with me
Tell me your feelings
Don’t hold back, it’s not enough
Can’t fake it no more
Crank up the speed
Stop playing hard to get
Now let me call you
Baby you are my angel

I want to know all of you
I’ll sing you, yoohoo, I’ll sing you, yoohoo
Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this baby
I adore you, I adore you, enough to get dizzy

Adore you, these days, I (these days)
Adore you, these days, I (these days)

Not too surprisingly, the first guess holds true: a main character, a lady or gentleman, is adoring their love-interest. “Adore U” initiates the story with the main character expressing themself: “These days, I have a lot of thoughts” and “I have so much to tell you.” Both statements are understandable as, jocularly, the main character is “not talking as much,” and thus, “friends are all worried.” Explaining the new, peculiar behavior from the main character, she/he is, if the following word may be used, lovestruck: their “heart races only when [they are] in front of [the love-interest],” hence why the main character has been acting differently. Continuing the story, the main character endlessly shares his feelings of captivation, such as by describing the love-interest and their attractive qualities, and trepidation, as witnessed by their unease of not knowing if the love-interest reciprocates homogenous feelings. Answering why the title is called such, if not blatant enough, the main character very much adores their love-interest, and from such, the title is created.

Although I did not quote many lines from “Adore U,” doing so would have been plausible, and thus, that speaks for much; with the potential to use many lines, it indicates the song is thorough in detail. Many aspects are included in the lyrics, and many lines add new details. Since solely the choruses and post-choruses repeat, every other section possessed new lyrics, and as a result, rather than merely repeating identical ideas as in many songs, more of the plot is uncloaked for interpretation. Especially in a flirtatious, love related story, the lyrics are remarkable. The very minimal and slight issue that prevents a higher score is, overall, though many lines carry their own weight to the story, the overall story is still relatively straightforward as it can be easily summarized with: a main character has a love-interest and is now expressing their worries and affection.

On the positive side, however, slightly above average still holds. At the very least, for a personal note, the lyrics in “Adore U” may be the best I have yet to see in a flirtatious-based song.

– “Critical Corner”: Unlike the past review of Infinite’s “The Chaser,” as linked at the start of the review, there are no urgent issues arising from the lyrics in “Adore U.” Anticipatedly, this bonus section will be skipped over. In juxtaposition to “The Chaser,” the main character here is not obsessive, is attracted for the proper reasons (physical and non-physical beauty, as discussed in past reviews if correct), and focusing on the depicted plot in general, it is a sincerely sweet, adorable one.

_______________________________________________________

Choreography Score: 7/10 – Although “Adore U” in audio form may be average, the associated visual in terms of the dance is wonderful.

Syncing remains consistent and clearly visible throughout the entire song: for a plethora of incidents, the introduction’s hesitant motions replicate the whispering, the first verse’s choreography connects to spikes in notes, the first pre-chorus’ tunnel movement is based on vocals, and other sections follow through. High accuracy, if not flawless, syncing is discernible in the choreography.

Switching to key points, the dance can be divided into two pieces: dance and story. Dancing is in relation to the choruses and other moments involving rigorous movement, but for the part of story, instances of acting are akin to it. Already, the dance in “Adore U” is unique in the aspect of including acting versus, as a vast majority of K-Pop choreographies are, pure dance. Added skits aid in allowing the choreography to be further diverse, and of course, humor and depth to the lyrics are included. On the subject of diverse, for moments orientated towards usual dancing, variety still flourishes. Especially with 13 members, the choreography does properly and positively exploit such by creating key points that, for the most part, would be nonexistent without a high quantity of members. Examples are the “tunnel” during the pre-choruses and the post-choruses’ formations of having crouched members, and if including the acting, the ability to have a genuine setting of actors.

As a final score, above average will hold for the choreography. Though the song itself scored lower, the dance compensates for much of it.

_______________________________________________________

Overall Score: 6/10 (6/10 raw score) – And on the note of compensating, for the Overall Score, six is the average of the Song Score and Choreography Score. Therefore, “Adore U” can be considered a slightly above average song in the entire picture of song and performance, and personally, I can agree to it. With this being their first song, much room for further refining is possible, and even at their current stage, the 13 men are already skilled. I will be scouting out for them in the future to gauge how their dancing and singing improve.

Needless to say, I am incredibly thankful to the person who requested this review. Thank you so much for sending in this request. In truth, if it were not for it, I would have never known of SEVENTEEN (and same for the other request of KARA’s “Cupid”; I was utterly oblivious that KARA had a relatively recent comeback of that song). Also, comically put, I am glad that this request was on a male group as many have been wanting such (BTS, another male group, will be reviewed in a week or so), and that said, for readers in general, thank you very much for reading. I heavily appreciate the given time, support, patience, and feedback. I do feel partially guilty for this review, however; although it was not delayed, I do feel that my writing progressively deteriorated as the review continued. As such, I do apologize if the writing becomes horrendous. I am aiming to improve, and thus, I hope for understanding.

Sidetracking to the mentioned point of delays, for consecutive days, I have worked on this review in order to ensure any delay would not occur. Four days was the time span of this review as every day contained a writing session of a few hours (nine or so hours is the total time it took if I am correct). Though I have conducted in further self-discipline, preventing request delays is my main priority. That said, for the upcoming requested review of KARA’s “Cupid,” it will also be finished in a hasty, yet thorough, manner. In fact, a surprise will occur for the review: it will, optimistically, be finished in two or three days, and it will not be in credit to ridiculously staring at a screen for nine hours (not that creating reviews is “ridiculously staring at a screen”; though it is challenging at times, I would never equate writing and reviewing to a tiresome job). Instead, though I had desired to create the outline for a while, it has only been of now that I have found a potential trial: a “Speed Review Version” outline.

Feedback and actual testing will be necessary to truly gauge how it will carry out, but if correct, it will still allow my reviews to be thorough, and in many ways, unchanged. What will be different in the Speed Review Version is that, though my writing will still be detailed, it will be less lengthy. More specifically and being honest, as truthfulness is essential, a certain section (pun may be intended) will be optimized so that reviews are not excessively dragged on. Rather than allocating my stamina and time towards just one chorus, for example, it would be more realistic to give numerical values per sections in a song, as I currently do, but then afterwards, to have an overall, general analysis versus one per section.

Doing this would, in numerous ways, improve my reviews: For once, it would be possible for me to sincerely keep up with songs; many comebacks occur nearly constantly, and sadly, I can cover, at most, perhaps 5% of the more popular group comebacks. With this, at the very least, I could double that and now cover the top 10% popular comebacks, for example. After all, for “Adore U,” two and half days were spent solely on the Sections section. Two and a half. For being one-out-of-five categories, one has taken slightly more than half of the writing. Although it is understandable as a song is, overall, deconstructed at its core via its sections, I am most likely overly prioritizing the analysis. The impact of the Sections category will still hold as I will include each section’s rating, but the analysis is what can be reduced so that more reviews are in place. In short, it is as if I am writing three reviews in one in the context of time; due to how lengthy the Sections category currently is, I could shorten it and condense it (using a tip from my amazing English teacher, sometimes the shortest, compact writings are better than longer ones), and from there, still possess the same message and significance as before, but now, more time exists for other reviews. Overall, however, receiving feedback from readers is what will help direct the blog. I am already in favor of the Speed Review Version and hope, soon enough, it becomes the default review outline, but testing it out and having feedback will be what is preferred and the only way to make a sound choice.

Of course, regardless of what review outline stays or goes, it is always a huge honor and pleasure to be writing. Eight reviews for June is still the goal, and though three-out-of-eight is seemingly low, I will reach the mark of at least seven. Truthfully, shortcuts will be taken in the form of album reviews and even a music video review, but variety would never hurt. Finally ending perhaps the longest conclusion/Overall Score section I have written, thank you very much once again to readers and requesters. KARA’s “Cupid” will be reviewed next and the first test for a new outline. “Even if my lips are dry, I need to say this”: “I adore you, I adore you.” Stay tuned for such and keep checking back.