Making their comeback yesterday is SEVENTEEN with their fourth studio-album titled Face The Sun. Leading the album is the title track simply titled as HOT. This comeback comes after the group’s Attacca mini-album and Rock With You comeback from October 2021, their Power of Love Japanese comeback and the first English language single Darl+ing (which is also getting its own review via the International Song Review segment and is featured on this fourth studio length album).
I liked that SEVENTEEN has returned to a heftier, harder and edgier dance track for this comeback. While I do like their other works, like their more recent pop-rock infused Korean comeback, SEVENTEEN’s darker (i.e. Getting Closer) or their powerful dance tracks (i.e. HIT) have also been favourites of mine. And HOT really encapsulates (without a doubt) that ‘powerful dance track’, with its high-energy instrumental elements, vocals and raps. I felt the darker profile of the group is there to a degree in HOT, but that might also in play thanks to the music video for this comeback (more on that later). Personally, I don’t mind HOT‘s chorus. There was a sexy and edgy hip-hop motif to it in the first half and an explosive feel to the second half of the chorus. The energetic dance instrumental is quite exciting, powerful but also fun, though I feel that there is potential for that whistle repetition to do my head in if I were to play the song excessively (though we are not there yet). The pre-choruses and bridge were quite impressive, showcasing their vocals so well. Talking about vocals, I got to mention the autotune usage in this song. I will definitely say it is a bit much, practically blasting us with autotune as soon as the song start. But I will hold back in describing its usage as ‘excessive’ (though it did occur to me briefly at first). I see the charm in the use of autotune in this song, as it really added a dynamic vibe, excitement and ups the energy to HOT. All of which works towards HOT’s favour. I did wish we got to hear punchier rap deliveries from the group’s rappers that weren’t smothered in autotune, as HOT would have been a great piece for them to flaunt their energetic styles. But overall, HOT was still one hot-damn piece for me.
SEVENTEEN turns up the temperature with their fiery music video for HOT. It definitely works with South Korea’s upcoming Summer season and the members’ more mature looks that they have been developing since their debut seven years ago (!). There are a lot of sun and fire imagery throughout the video, though offset with some darker scenes to allow the red fiery colour to pop out. And also part of the video is also set in the desert and these scenes give off Mad Max-like vibes (but not really). All of these references and vibes makes sense, as the video and lyrics depicts the members’ willingness and confidence moving forward with their journey as a group in even the harshest of conditions (taken from SOOMPI). For this video, it is their references to heat, which we all know can be extremely harsh. I enjoyed the intricate editing that strung all the scenes in this video together. The most memorable scene in this music video is THE8’s beat box-like moment at the start of the song, where his image dominated the screen. It was a cool moment and definitely left a strong impression on me.
Per usual, the synchronisation between the SEVENTEEN members is on point throughout the performance. It amazes me each time and takes everything to the next level. The body rolls we get in the performance make sense (how else does KPOP show off ‘HOT’!) and the rest of the routine for the chorus felt powerful and strong. Hoshi and Dino from the performance team caught my attention in this performance, as they really put their all into the stage and made their centre parts memorable.
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10