Long gone are the days when Seventeen were fresh-faced rookies from a struggling company with a low-quality, cheap-looking debut music video. A combination of their infectious, self-produced music and collective team chemistry led to their eventual rise as one of K-Pop’s top groups. Deservingly so, the quality of their later music videos reflects this, and fans have come to expect sharp, explosive music videos that bring out all the group has to offer visually. 

With their last comeback “Home” making multiple appearances in Seoulbeats’ 2019 Mid-Year Review, Seventeen continue their streak with their latest comeback. “Hit” is one that demands to be heard and remembered. It is loud, it is energetic and the song moves with urgency and a fierce tenacity.

With all the song tries to accomplish in its three and half minutes, the song’s composition and production consists of complex layers that enter and exit the song to allow it to flow the way it does. It also defies conventional song structures, something that is quickly becoming a trend in their recent title tracks like “Home” and “Oh My”. Seventeen never fail to make their above-average group size of 13 members their strength, and “Hit” is testament to this. It manages to remain a dynamic listen till the end without losing itself to an identity-less beat-drop thanks to the variety of voices and addition of the members’ ad-libs that give the song its distinct character. 

For a song that as action-packed and performance-oriented, it is appropriately released as Seventeen’s first standalone digital track since debut. After all, the song doesn’t quite fit in with an album that focuses on the auditory experience. The song was created with the intention of being performed and viewed, something that Seventeen has always done extremely well with their innovative choreographies and outstanding showmanship.

Directed by Rigend Film who were behind some of the biggest K-Pop hits of 2019 thus far such as Chungha‘s “Snapping” and SHINee Taemin‘s “Want“, the music video for “Hit” thus has the huge responsibility of complementing the song’s explosiveness. 

The music video spares no effort in its production process, employing the use of fog, strobe and LED lighting, glitch-like editing, neon backgrounds, confetti and an actual explosion near the end, all while alternating between glamorous individual shots of the members and the group choreography.

To top it all off, there are even silhouette shots shots of the members flying in the air. In a possible reference to their older music videos, the black double breasted suit the members don for the choreography reminds fans of S.Coups in “Clap”, and there is also the obligatory inclusion of a vehicle of sorts in the video, a motif that features in many of Seventeen’s music videos.

For the first time viewer, it is understandably a sensory overload, especially when the song is intense and complex as it is. Fortunately, the video does try to remedy this, with the noticeable use of fewer cuts and set changes in the second verses. The use of the natural sky is noticeable mostly during The8 and Jeonghan’s part and stick outs amidst the rest of the futuristic, glamorous music video that is shot indoors, but is a well-needed break from the sensory overload of the video and song that goes well with the slower mid-section of the song. 

Director Rima Yoon has confirmed fan theories that the motifs and choice of shots in the music video was inspired by the 1989 classic film Dead Poets Society, but this is something that is likely to go unnoticed by casual listeners who will not return to the music video enough to catch on. The artistic choice of tying in the song’s message of defying expectations and excelling in one’s self-determined path with the film’s timelessly relevant life lessons is excellent by theory, but unfortunately lacks in execution, ending up as mostly easter eggs for fans when it could have been used to strengthen the narrative value of the video and highlight the song’s uplifting lyrics.

“Hit” showcases everything Seventeen has to offer. While lacking in some aspects, the music video does justice to the members’ good looks and their individual charisma and talent is highlighted, but the group is presented as being at their strongest as a whole. Dance enthusiasts will be pleased that Seventeen’s signature synchronised and creative choreography continues to shine through here.

Despite not being a vocal-centric song, the song also manages to incorporate the familiar harmonies and backing vocals of member Woozi, who forms the heart of Seventeen’s sound as their main producer since debut. The popularity of survival shows hitting K-Pop industry has amounted to the surge of boy group debuts trying to make their mark as of late, but Seventeen continue to fair well amidst the stiffer-than-ever competition with their consistently impactful and memorable comebacks.

Seventeen’s constant expansion and experimentation means that their releases are often polarising for ardent fans of a specific genre. As “Hit” ventures into fierce and brave new musical territory for the group, it is testament to their capabilities and musicality, having successfully crafted a unique identity that makes any style and sound distinctively Seventeen.

(YouTube. Images via: Pledis Entertainment)