It’s been approximately seven months since Got7 released their last Korean EP, and since then, many members have embarked on solo or unit projects — JJProject was revived with Verse 2 and Jackson with his solo debut, to name a few. With recent rumours of Jackson leaving the group which were quickly and firmly shot down by the man himself, the group’s latest EP 7 for 7 comes in with perfect timing, making a powerful statement that speaks to the unity of the group.

Aside from the title of the release 7 for 7 which emulates the “one for all, all for one” mentality, the mini-album also involves all the members in the production process. For the first time, one of the members, JB (under the name Defsoul), took part in the lyrics and songwriting processes, a true testament to how far the group has come to reach this level of creative control over their music.

So, how did they fare?

The overall atmosphere of the album is quite cohesive, giving off smooth, soulful, yet laid-back vibes, featuring heavy electronic and synth elements. “Moon U”, co-written and co-composed by Youngjae (who goes by the name Ars), is a slower pop tune to warms listeners up. The slew of synth notes gives it the needed boost of variety to set it apart from any similarly-styled tracks. The chill vibes of the rap sections builds up the skilful vocal ad-libs at the climax beautifully, all in all delivering a solid and promising opening.

Teenager”, written and co-composed by JB, is placed perfectly as the second track, as it builds from “Moon U” with a livelier and more dynamic tune. Stylistically, it employs heavy use of synth notes to create a rich, powerful, and orchestral-like sound, and the strong bass line grounds the track. The build to the chorus has just the right amount of anticipation; the vocals during the chorus are perfectly complemented by the instrumentals. Although the song structure can sound a little repetitive, the members switch parts, so that their different timbres can be appreciated — for example, Yugyeom’s lighter and more delicate voice versus Jinyoung’s deeper and fuller vocals. In my opinion, “Teenager” would have made a perfect title track; in fact, several members did actually vote for this song to be the headlining track!

Following “Teenager” is “You Are”, the title track, which is very different from their usually hip-hop- and pop-heavy ones. It’s interesting, actually, how the title track is the third in the album — usually, it’s the second. “You Are” seems to be built on the foundations of “Tomorrow, Today”, with a similar youthful, uplifting, and wind-in-your-hair atmosphere. The genre borders a little on tropical house, and the highlight of the track is definitely the powerful, anthem-like chorus, which is delivered perfectly by the vocalists to create the needed emotional authenticity.

“Teenager” and “You Are” are quite intense tracks, so it makes sense to cool down a little with “Firework”, co-written and co-composed by Jinyoung, and “Remember You”, which BamBam took part in. The former track, like “Teenager” does a keep a strong bass part to drive the song along with squiggly synth motifs to create variety, but it is for the most part, a more soothing song that showcases the vocalists as it lacks any rap parts. The latter track clearly goes for the soft and sweet route with delicate keyboard instrumentals. While the tracks may be a little less dynamic than the previous ones, they are easy to listen to and are solid complementary additions to the album as a whole.

“To Me” and “Face” pick up a little speed from the previous two tracks to round off the mini-album. “To Me”, written and co-composed by Yugyeom, features darker hints of R&B to create a more mysterious and sultry vibe. “Face”, co-written by Jackson, Mark, and BamBam, is clearly a feel-good song that is just slightly reminiscent of “You Are” with a more nostalgic mood.

7 for 7 is very different from what we’ve heard previously from Got7 — in a good way. Although some may criticise the lack of stylistic variety and the slight stagnancy of some of the latter tracks, it is by far the most cohesive album that they have released, perhaps due to the heavy participation by members in the production process. In an interview with the group, JB said:

“We want to create music that fits our age.  GOT7 is good at depicting powerful imagery, but we also wanted to show we were capable of creating cool, refreshing content as well. We made for a more mature tone.  We didn’t want to necessarily create a happy, bright atmosphere.  I guess you can describe it as a sense of awakening.”

As an IGot7, I am so proud of the group for finally finding their own sound and style. They have grown so much as a group, and I cannot wait to see how they will continue down this path!

(Sources via Newsis and JYP Entertainment; Images via JYP Entertainment)