Pledis Entertainment‘s newest boy group, Seventeen, hit the ground running with their debut, “Adore U.” It’s no wonder that with such a diverse batch of talents and personalities, the group managed to acquire a devoted fandom in a single round of promotions. Fans were quite excited to learn that the rookie group would be returning with a new mini album, Boys Be, and another single, “Mansae,” only a few months after their debut.
“Adore U” was a strong debut due in part to the fact that Pledis had been teasing Seventeen for what felt like years before their actual debut. Beyond the pre-debut promotions though, Seventeen impressed most during their debut because they hardly felt like rookies at all. They hit the K-pop scene with strong vocals, expressive choreography, and a natural group dynamic that translated to fun and captivating stages.
“Mansae” in many ways builds on the momentum of Seventeen’s debut, both musically and visually. While the track is very much in the same vein as “Adore U,” with funky beats and impressive ad-libs, “Mansae” also allows the boys to further explore their talents and present a slightly more diverse side of themselves without straying too far off-course.
“Mansae” (which basically means “hooray” in Korean) tells the story of a boy — or many, many boys — who are hopelessly in love with a tsundere girl. Since they proclaim themselves to have been “cold” guys before meeting her, the stirring of romantic feelings confuses them. Suddenly, they don’t know how to act and become shy in the presence of the object of their affections.
Though she pays them little attention, the boys decide to embrace their affections fully, continuing to celebrate simply being in her presence and daydreaming in her absence. Of course, they want to win her heart, but they’re also content with pining after her. There’s an adorably juvenile element to the lyrics, a fitting mix of shyness and frustration, as the boys tackle the longing they feel.
I get flustered by your mysterious eyes
Why is it so hard to say one word to you?
Dad, were you like this with mom?
The lyrics are so straightforward and simple that they boarder on cliche. As such, the MV itself does everything possible to bring the lyrics to life, mostly by acting them out word for word on the screen; from the high school setting, to the exaggerated (and almost comical) celebratory choreography, and even the inclusion of basketball and helping the girl walk down the street. Instead of letting the simple lyrics fall by the wayside, the MV endears them with the visual elements.
Seventeen themselves are able to charm both the main girl and the audience by acting like lovesick puppies throughout the majority of the MV. It’s fitting that the mini-album is titled Boys Be, since the majority of the MV is boys being boys — or, more accurately, teenagers being teenagers. There’s a playfulness to everything in the MV, and it’s especially charming to witness the transitions between moments of utter goofiness to intense gazes and handsome smiles. Because isn’t that what young love is? Making a fool of yourself repeatedly — unintentionally or not — in order to catch someone’s eye?
The members of Seventeen also rock boyish school uniforms and some pretty impressive pastel hair colors to play up the concept further. Jeonghan’s pastel purple hair puts Tumblr soft grunge hair blogs to shame, while Vernon sports an unfortunate center part. When will the trend end?!
Musically, “Mansae” throws a lot of elements together to create an impressively cohesive track. There’s a heavy hip hop intro that quickly transitions into a more groovy baseline once the track gets going. If you strip away the vocals, even though the back track is pretty unoriginal, there’s a lot of funky things happening there that give the track the punch it needs to keep up the energy of the vocals. Add on to that the cheerful chorus and the whistle-range ad-libs, and the final product is overflowing with energy.
Distribution-wise, “Mansae” really plays up the whole “unit” concept Pledis is trying to push within the group. The hip hop, performance, and vocal units are each given distinctive portions of the song and MV to show off. Fortunately, the unit parts cohesively play off one another, especially in the slowed-down bridge where the rap and vocal lines alternate back and fourth with each line. The rap bits rarely feel out of place, even when they fall in the middle of a verse. The performance line also lead the complex and dynamic choreography (featuring a few throwbacks to their debut) with a finesse beyond their rookie status.
“Manse” is flirtatious and silly, and genuinely fun to watch. While the track doesn’t really have any ‘stick’ factor for me, it’s a pleasant listen. Seventeen has yet to pull me in as a dedicated fan, but they’re a promising group and one that I’ll definitely keep my eye on through promotion cycles to come.
Readers, are you satisfied with Seventeen’s sophomore effort? How far along are you in learning all their names?