Since their days under JYP Entertainment, Got7 has always been quite vocal (shady even) about the creative differences they’ve struggled with their former agency. This disparity spilled over to their music, creating confusion in the group’s musical identity despite their fun and cheerful global appeal. So when the members started treading their own musical path as soloists, we could finally see their true colors and what they each are truly capable of.
With such impressive solo releases, like BamBam’s dazzling and eclectic riBBon and Yugyeom’s moody and angst-filled Point of View: U just to name a few, there’s admittedly much expectation with the group’s full comeback. How would Got7 sound now that they have full control, free from the confines of a manufactured image?
With only an extended play with six tracks, I admittedly was left wanting more. It is, however, understandable, given that the members all belong to different agencies and have probably schedules already in place. Nevertheless, their solo endeavors have done them good in their self-titled EP—they’ve always been the Got7 we came to know and love only with a more mature and solidified identity.
During the press conference of the album’s release, Jinyoung described the album as the most “Got7-like”. True enough, all of the songs in the album were produced by the members with leader Jay B producing half of them under his alter ego, Def. Got7 has always recognized Jay B for creating the artistic vision for the group, and it is no surprise that the album leans more on the chill R&B side.
Unfortunately, it is too much of the chill that weighs the album down despite some stellar b-sides. The title track “Nanana”, in particular, is underwhelming, especially after the bass-thumping futuristic “Truth” and brilliantly funky “Drive Me to the Moon”. It’s fun, alright, but the dreamy vibe makes it too subdued. While Jackson mentioned that the track reminded him of “Thursday” and “Page”, two fan-favorite b-sides from their Call My Name and Spinning Top albums respectively, the latter packed a punch that made it fun, enjoyable, and memorable.
Another is the synth-heavy “Don’t Leave Me Alone”, which is the last track in the album and the only R&B ballad on the album. Understandably, the song is mainly dedicated to their fans, who they ask not to leave them. It is the group’s most vulnerable song to date, with Jay B thoughtfully arranging the line distribution in the bridge as to how Got7 came to be.
If the wind stays
As much as the cool sky
If we walk side by side
I’ll capture your clear eyes
When the sunset grows dark
As much as those shining stars
At the end of the darkness
I’ll hug you even more
“Drive Me to the Moon” and “Don’t Care About Me” both stood out as they both reveal a spectrum of Got7’s musical breadth. “You Calling My Name” (with b-side “Run Away”) was the group’s first foray into retro funk, and Youngjae, the song’s composer, brings his influences from his solo work to “Drive Me to the Moon.” It is such a terrific bop with the instrumental’s chunky bass and a pretty later addition of a flute during the chorus.
“Don’t Care About Me”, composed by Jinyoung, combines trap and synth-pop that drops during the pre-chorus to deliciously introduce an electric guitar riff. It is brief but impactful, which goes perfectly with the angsty and provocative lyrics. It is unheard of from Got7’s vast discography but a welcome tease for the group’s future releases.
It’s been a long road
Been through up and downs
But we’re still here
Having now full ownership of trademark rights, Got7 shows how it’s done when artists now have complete rein in their musical direction. There are definitely shining moments like Mark, Jackson, and BamBam singing more than they are rapping or that we are reminded of how beautiful Jinyoung’s falsetto is. When a group has a clear vision of who they are, then the group can focus on its strengths.
Got7’s full group comeback is a long-time coming and it isn’t anything grandiose or pompous. And that’s okay. Their self-titled EP reflects their unapologetic selves—rightfully done in Got7 fashion.