Giving us directions into this week is SEVENTEEN. The 13 member male group makes their grand return comeback with their 7th mini-album, Journey of Youth or Heng:garæ, and the title track Left & Right. Alongside Left & Right, the group also pre-released My My (which I reviewed already). In the My My review, I said that Us, Again was another pre-release track for this new mini-album. But upon the album’s release, I see that this single is not part of their 7th mini-album and is just a fan single (with no formal release aside from the lyric video they dropped a few weeks back). Aside from that little note, let’s see where SEVENTEEN is going to take us with this release.
SEVENTEEN has been focusing on very mature and dark sounds over their last few releases. As it is Summer time in South Korea, the group’s new single takes on a more energetic and upbeat feel to suit the season full of bright energy and colour. Left & Right takes on a modern hip-hop sound, a different style to what SEVENTEEN has released before. This might because SVENTEEN had retained that mature sound from their previous comebacks, whilst infusing it with a brighter sound. And it is because of this that I find Left & Right is unlike their previous Summer tracks, such as Oh My or Aju Nice, which each had a teenage vibe to it. And unlike those tracks, I find the the dynamic profile of this song to be well hidden in the music. What I like already about the song is that everything comes off as easygoing. From the light instrumentation to the laid-back nature of the hooks and melodies, SEVENTEEN really makes sure we are not overwhelmed in any way, making this an ideal Summer track to kick back to. And to match with this approach, their vocals and rapping are not overly dominate in the song as well. Everything just feels well-balanced and I liked that. Sure, Left & Right doesn’t have their most impressive vocal and rapping delivery to date, but their easygoing tone really appeals to me. The song’s main appealing point has to be its casual hook. Its presence in the teaser already sold me this comeback, but to hear it in full with the rest of the song really adds that more melodic touch to it. I am thoroughly enjoying this song and I can definitely tell it will be one that I will be replaying in the weeks to come.
The song is all about doing what you believe in. And I think the video does a good job presenting that. Take the race as an example. The old man starts the race off with the gun and seems to represents all the grownups that tell you what you should and should not do. Seungkwan seems to be the only one who listens and runs off, while all the other members stayed back and danced. When Seungkwan stops running, he is faced with two signs – ‘Early bird catches the worm‘ and ‘Youth can change everything‘. They don’t spark happiness in him, as you can tell with this facial expressions. Those signs talk all about being successful and don’t really tell you much about growing up and learning from your mistakes. The members burn a book about becoming successful and a trophy to go against becoming successful and perfect. The graffiti on the wall says to ‘Do Your Best’, but the members respond with ‘But maybe not sometimes‘ to say that it is okay regardless of the outcome. The biggest moment of the music video is when the members run into the dilemma of going left or right. Joshua instead doesn’t follow the two paths that are set and redirect the arrows to go up (i.e. doing what you believe in). As S.Coups is the oldest, it is logical he would go up first. He is strapped into car pretending to be like a rocket ship, which only goes up. Lift off was okay, but the car explodes and end up going back down, signifying failure. I final scene where S.Coups get out of the car and starts dancing represents that is whatever the outcome of a choice you make is, everything will be okay.
I really like how the choreography really brought that fun aspect to the performance. It just makes the stage so much more engaging and appealing to watch. I think the chorus looks like one of those that will go onto becoming viral and everyone will be dancing along to it. I also like how the performance related to the song’s easygoing vibe and didn’t incorporate anything complex looking, which obviously wouldn’t work well. I say this because SEVENTEEN is notorious for difficult dance moves.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10
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