It has taken me over a month to finally admit it. I have a confession to make. I'm completely and incomprehensibly addicted to Seventeen's "Adore U." And this is coming from a Kpop fan that gravitates to girl groups, and likes his biases to be placed comfortably in small and manageable groups. But then...Seventeen. Here's five reasons why I think Seventeen's "Adore U" is so irresistible. Because confessing is healing.
5. Pop in the Time of BTS
Which is to say, hip hop, spearheaded by our favorite boy groups, is a major part of Kpop for the foreseeable future, and the major success of shows like Unpretty Rapstar will only make future Kpop releases more in that hip hop vein (we imagine). And the thing is, I love that. Groups like BTS and Block B are my biases - Monsta X is one of my favorite debuts of the year. But Kpop is massive and ultimately indefinable (though we've tried), making it open to a wide range of music. There's plenty of room for BTS to be at one end of the spectrum and Seventeen may just be staring back at the other end.
Seventeen is essentially a throwback, hankering to a more innocent, wholesome, and sweet Kpop world. Pre-2014, before the Kpopalypse. Early Boyfriend. Not quite flower boys, they're not exactly reintroducing a new sound, with GOT7 and 2PM (among others) having similar popular releases in the recent past. Seventeen is not starting a revolution here.
But what makes Seventeen's "Adore U" so unique is the fact that this release doesn't even feel like they're doing a cute, ridiculously fun concept. This lightheartedness is an essential part of the group. They radiate fun. They encompass fun. Where's my evidence? I'm glad you asked.
4. The Music Video
The music video for "Adore U" is RIDICULOUS in the best possible ways.
Those little ovals that popped up on the bottom left of your screen, featuring members singing, a group shot of them singing in the background, essentially having a duet with themselves? This is a touch of brilliance, truly.
Or how about this?
Or maybe angels is what the video needs?
You are my angeeeelll. Or how about being a rock star?
Okay, okay, enough pictures. But "Adore U" is a mosaic of Kpop ridiculousness. And the best part is that this mosaic is bereft of irony, holds not a hint of cynicism. It's wacky. It's fun - hell, it's refreshing.
3. The Numbers
Seventeen is a group of thirteen young men (four members didn't debut with the group but some of them might later?). With uncertainty being the nature of the beast (not B2ST, beast), it seems like more trouble than it's worth to name a group based on the number of members it holds. Look how much trouble Nine Muses has had filling up their quota! The fact that Pledis stuck with the name Seventeen even with the departures (most likely to keep the branding established by their popular reality show), is a uniquely Kpop quirk that is absurdly wonderful.
Even the thought of thirteen members, for those not initiated, can be daunting. But the numbers somehow add up in "Adore U," giving every member a moment to shine and splitting them up for various vignettes.
2. The Performances
You gotta see them live, friends. Their choreography is killer. Pure energy. They're loving this. And then, seeing them, so will you.
1. The Stakes
And now to get serious for a minute. The stakes for Seventeen's success, you must realize, couldn't be higher. Make no mistake: Seventeen is here to save Pledis. Besides Orange Caramel, Pledis hasn't had a lot of good news lately and they're bleeding money fast. We want Pledis to succeed (shouldn't everyone?), so the fact that they rolled out a killer release with Seventeen and "Adore U," right when they desperately needed the hit, could be the feel-good story of the year. It looks like it might just be. Our fingers are collectively crossed.
Timothy Moore writes from Chicago. He blogs at Read My Blog Please, and edits at Ghost Ocean Magazine. His biases are T-ara, Block B, Nine Muses, Brown Eyed Girls, and Girl's Day.