[Album Review] FACE THE SUN / SECTOR 17 (4th Studio Album / 4th Studio Album Repackaged) – SEVENTEEN

The only album review I can put out this weekend belongs to SEVENTEEN. If you could not tell, I was preparing to post the review for FACE THE SUN and SECTOR 17 (4th studio album and the 4th studio album repackaged, respectively), following the reviews for the two pre-release tracks from the album (Darl+ing and CHEERS) – links below. In addition to these tracks, the album also features the title tracks HOT (released at the end of May), _WORLD (released in July), the Korean version of Fallin’ Flower (orignally released in Japan in 2020) and 8 additional side tracks.

To be honest, after writing this review up, I felt the album is one of their weaker releases to date. SEVENTEEN has always put out strong albums, and my final rating of the album might indicate that it is a fairly strong release. But this is the first time I can remember where I made a number of comments that expressed some disappointment with some of the songs on the album. But don’t worry, this is just my personal thoughts and there are still some strong side tracks on there. So, if you enjoy SEVENTEEN’s releases, you will definitely find something to enjoy from both FACE THE SUN and/or SECTOR 17. And if you are looking for a new song or not a SEVENTEEN listener, I will always recommend a SEVENTEEN album, as they have always been a well-rounded group!

1. Circles (놀고 놀아) – Opening the repackaged album is the track Circles. It is quite a pleasant mid-tempo ballad, which leads into the title track of the repackaged album quite nicely. Everything in Circles – from the melodies to the vocals to the youthful choir to the classical instrumentation – were all warm and welcoming. Listening to the song brings a smile to my face. It might not be the most innovative start ever, but it was definitely enjoyable. (8.5/10)

2. _WORLD (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for _WORLD. (8/10)

3. Fallin’ Flower (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed the Japanese version of Fallin’ Flower. To see my thoughts for Fallin’ Flower, please click here to read the review for Fallin’ Flower. (9/10)

4. CHEERS (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read the full review for CHEERS. (7.5/10)

5. Darl+ing (Pre-Release Track)Click here to read my review for Darl+ing. (8/10)

6. HOT (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for HOT. (8/10)

7. DON QUIXOTE – For some reason, I felt DON QUIXOTE was quite an unsuspecting track to enjoy. It was one of those songs where I had no expectations heading into the song. But somehow, I am genuinely surprised with DON QUIXOTE. The chorus, which opens the track, falls squarely into the pop genre. It was a bit dry, but I appreciated the vocals in the pop sections of the song. As DON QUIXOTE progresses, we get hip-hop and rock influences on top of the pop, as well. The way these influences comes and goes in the track made it quite enjoyable. I wished there was a more explicit peak and drive to the song, as DON QUIXOTE almost falls into a neutral gear for me. But the already mentioned changes in style and instrumental helps keep the song afloat. (7.5/10)

8. MarchMarch picks up on the rock influences from the previous song, and dives deeper into the genre. But while I am digging the instrumental, I am left disappointed with the vocals. I think the members could have really picked up on the rock influence and gone much harder with their delivery and execution. The rappers and that chanty bridge definitely have the right idea, as I found their parts to be a lot more satisfying. The vocalists, on the other hand, just seem to scrape the surface of the direction they could have gone down with. (7/10)

9. Domino Domino is my pick for best side track on this album. It is definitely a cool track, with funky and groovy vibes throughout the track just screams a good time. I really liked the way the choruses start, with Vernon/Wonwoo’s countdown, the domino falling sound effect and the piano slide. The anti-drop that comes after was a great concentration of the funky and groovy vibes already mentioned. The addition of the electronic synths for the bridge was a neat development, as well. The vocals and rappers really did well in this song. I liked the breathy effect on the vocals and the rapping was sleek. (10/10)

10. Shadow – Next up is Shadow, which was a superb side track as well. Atmospheric and fast paced percussive synths in the verses, hefty guitar playing in the first half of the chorus and heavier pop rock is brought to round out the chorus. From there, the instrumental repeats but maintains the momentum it had created it for itself. The vocals in Shadow were really very well done, adding a suitable lively tone to the song and balancing out the heft that Shadow has. The roughness and textures of the rappers’ vocals were just perfect for a song like Shadow. Interestingly, the rapping was left to Dino, who nailed his rapping sequence perfectly and adds the right oomph to compliment the momentum of the song. (10/10)

11. ‘Bout You (노래해) – After such a hefty track, SEVENTEEN surprises with a lighter and smile filled summer pop track. Per most summer pop tracks, I am digging ’Bout You’s vibrant and playful manner. While the summery pop nature of the instrumental isn’t anything new to KPOP, I did still find it danceable and will not deny having a bit of a dance whilst reviewing the track. Overall, a fun track! (8/10)

12. If You Leave Me – The second last song on the album is another ballad. If You Leave Me, as alluded by the title, is a more emotional one (compared to the opening ballad of the repackaged album). The instrumental was only piano and I liked the beautiful tone it brought to the ballad. Per most ballads, there is a focus of vocals, and I liked the share of delicate and powerful vocals throughout If You Leave Me. The song also stands out with its interesting layering of vocals and the intertwining of vocals. The harmonies in the end were also just stunningly beautiful. (8/10)  

13. Ash – Closing out the album is Ash, a trap hip-hop track. It is quite heavy on the autotune, which gave very different and unique vocal effects to members throughout the track. I kind of like that in this song as it gave Ash variety. Without this source of variety, I would have found Ash to be more of a bore than what it is. As alluded in the previous sentence, I don’t really care for Ash. It was more of a skippable song, in my opinion, which is slightly disappointing given you want the closer of the album to be memorable. (6.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

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