Review: Seventeen’s new album ‘An Ode’ is an electronic explosion

Seventeen's new music video for 'Fear', a song off their newest album 'An Ode' (Photo via YouTube.)

I will admit it: I’m not super into Seventeen. Their music tends to veer more toward bubblegum pop, and thus is not very memorable to me. There are also literally 13 members of the band, which makes it overwhelming to keep up with what’s going on. And probably the only song of theirs I really like is “TRAUMA” (listen to it, it’s a bop). Sorry, Seventeen stans — they’re still cute though!

Yesterday, however, I opened my Spotify and lo and behold, right at the top was Seventeen’s newest album, An Ode. It piqued my curiosity, so I clicked. Little did I know, I was grossly underprepared for the electronic explosion that was about to ensue.

The album opens with “HIT,” a song with a million and one things going on. And let me tell you — it’s a TRIP. The first few seconds trick me into thinking it’s early 2000s High School Musical era again, and then I’m transported to a fusion of the Backstreet Boys and “Good Girls Go Bad” by Cobra Starship. Twenty seconds later, it shifts into an EDM-esque banger. Am I a fan of it? Maybe. It’s a good song if you’re feeling aggressively lit.

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Then, the album tricks me with the next song, “Lie Again.” There aren’t really any solid I’m-going-to-cry ballads on this album, but if I had to pin the ballad label on one song it would be this one. Its Kygo-like fruity beats are coupled with soft falsettos and what sounds like an electronic version of a string instrument. Maybe it’s a marimba, I can’t tell. But I like this one.

However, this is where I get tricked AGAIN. Right after “Lie Again,” I’m relaxed, I’m calm and thinking about the beach. But then “Fear” comes on, and it transports me from my reverie into a chaotic but empowering fever dream. This is my favorite song on the album — there’s a linear progression of intensity, and it’s super catchy.

I can only describe the music video for “Fear” as an aesthetic eruption. I had to pause the video in the middle of watching it because it was just TOO MUCH — in a good way. There’s synchronized dancing and post-apocalyptic aesthetics juxtaposed with just the right amount of baroque. And then there’s Jeonghan looking like the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia.

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Honorable mentions are the songs I saved on Spotify: “247,” “Second Life” and “Network Love.” “247” and “Second Life” are both relaxed, easy listens. You could study to them or finally put away all that folded laundry sitting on your table to them. “Network Love” is a groovy-dancing-in-my-room-with-my-hairbrush-as-a-microphone kind of song — that is, if I knew Korean well enough to sing along.

This album seems to bounce between chill vibes, bubble gum pop and extremely hype bouncing off the walls. When I first listened to the album, I was relatively unimpressed; it didn’t stick out to me as something new and different. But upon second listen I heard a marriage of ‘90s boy band pop and late 2010s EDM, an unexpected but appreciated combination.

My conclusion: Will this album have longevity? Will I come back, time and time again, to listen to it? Probably not. BUT, it’s still a solid body of work that creatively interweaves a variety of electronic sounds into bangers and tweeny-bop anthems, which isn’t something I’ve heard a lot of. And I’m sure the songs I saved will earn a place in one of my specially curated K-pop playlists.

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