Seventeen have returned with their 11th mini album, Seventeenth Heaven, proving their rising popularity as their title track, “God of Music,” topped key Korean music charts, a first for any boy group.
Carats were teased about “God of Music” right under their noses earlier this year in the opening VCR of the group’s concert, ‘Follow’ To Seoul. Nonetheless, as a dramatic contrast to their last album, FML, the punchy and high-energy “God of Music” comes as a pleasant surprise. In fact, the jazzy and funky “God of Music” is a clear return to the ‘Freshteen’ (a portmanteau of “fresh” and “seventeen”) style that they’re known for, following fan favourites like “Adore U“, “Pretty U”, and “Mansae.”
The crux of “God of Music” is hypothetical, as Seventeen pose two questions. One, what if all of the music in this world disappeared? Second, what if there’s an omnipresent god of music? If they ever find themselves in such a situation, Seventeen wish to reintroduce music to society through a worldwide festival, inviting everyone (and everything) to join them to dance, bask in their music, and simply have fun.
The message in “God of Music” is simple: music is all around us and it breathes life into our otherwise mundane world. The MV begins with unplugged headphones in a basket, a guitar falling from the sky and breaking, and two red crosses vandalised on the windows of a music store as “music not found” flashes across an old car radio. At the same time, there is no sound during these scenes.
Joshua, while holding a cassette tape, breaks the silence and introduces their music to the world, an ode to their international success. Tapping into their own experiences, DK and Hoshi accurately point out that music transcends not only language but also age, various beings, and even inanimate objects:
All over the world, ah
A universal language
But no matter as long as there’s music (Oh)
We can’t communicate with words but with music
We can be best friends from now on
Music literally breathes life into things, as Mingyu sings, “Seventeen to the world, the whole world sings in unison.” The music anthropomorphizes headphones, as they move while Vernon raps, and sunflowers sway gleefully while DK sings. When Wonwoo dances at a restaurant, forks and napkins fly, and flowers morph into treble clefs as Jeonghan lies next to them.
Their music is so powerful that it transcends space. It reaches S.Coups, who is in a hospital in Korea, as he bops to the song in one scene, and in another, it causes objects to fly into outer space. Music is also enjoyed by different types of beings as Hoshi DJs for a donkey, Woozi hands a microphone to an ant on a makeshift stage made of books, and a snail even wears headphones in the outro.
“God of Music” transcends language too, a reflection of how popular K-pop and Seventeen have become in the last few years. In the MV, music is the bond between them and the local children, as they have a dance-off with the locals and jam to the song with a throng on the Liberty Bridge in Budapest.
Similarly, in a broader sense, the simplicity of the onomatopoeic “kung chi pak chi” is a smart choice. On its own, “kung chi pak chi” imitates drums or is used to count rhythms. In this context, however, the decision to dedicate every post-chorus to this onomatopoeia is deliberate.
As the second track of Seventeen’s festival-themed set-list, it is easy for listeners to sing along, even if they don’t know Korean, like how “God of Music” is intended. Even more so, just like a concert where they want to engage with their audience, Wonwoo’s and S.coups’ voices in the outro are clearly heard as the background instrumentals fade, encouraging us to sing along to the addicting “kung chi pak chi.”
“God of Music” celebrates the power of music, specifically, Seventeen’s music, as K-pop becomes a global phenomenon. Like a music festival where attendees flock from all over, and as a track consisting of cheerful brass and synths, “God of Music” invites everyone to be in seventh heaven…or in this case, to be in Seventeenth Heaven, a world consisting of Seventeen and Carats.
All in all, “God of Music” proves Seventeen’s confidence as a worldwide group, a monument to their rapid success both domestically and internationally over the last year.