SEVENTEEN’s ‘Attacca’: A Brilliant Chapter In Their ‘Power of Love’ Project
In the multi-million selling group’s second EP of 2021, they serve us a complex album that showcases the full extent of their artistic dexterity.
It was earlier in 2021 when group SEVENTEEN announced their ‘Power of Love’ project, a project that, as the title suggests, saw them looking at creating music that delved into multiple aspects of love. The project has featured single ‘Bittersweet (feat. LeeHi)’ from members Wonwoo and Mingyu, as well as their May EP Your Choice. If ‘Bittersweet’ was the beautiful and gentle introduction to the lyrical and musical depths they would experiment with, Your Choice was the bright, optimistic take on love that touched on themes of hope, agency and discovery. The group’s newest album, Attacca, continues this theme of love by exploring emotional conviction and openness.
Title track ‘Rock with you’ is a pop track heavily influenced by the rock-pop genre, with guitar and drums running through the entire instrumental. It sells itself as an out-and-out rock-pop anthem, and the pre-chorus stands amongst one of Seventeen’s catchiest:
I just want to love you
Alone I don’t want to leave you
I just want you, I need you
The night is short can’t take you for granted
Tracks ‘To you / 소용돌이’ and ‘Crush’ are the other 13-member tracks on the album, with ‘To you’ being that B-side that could have staked a claim to be the title track. It’s a feel-good song, with the group openly telling a loved one just how much they mean to them. ‘Crush’ is no dud either, and as the song’s title suggests, deals with the emotions one has when a crush comes to the fore. But this is not the denial-tinged kind of crushing one gets in middle school: this take sees a full-on acknowledgement of such intense feelings, one which can’t help but come off as charming to hear.
The four remaining tracks are all unit songs, with Performance Unit’s ‘PANG!’ taking the title of the most endearingly bright track on the entire record. The unit’s usual sonic sandbox is dance-pop and in this song it’s fun to hear them rapping and playing with sounds the listener would usually associate with the Hip-Hop Unit. On the flip side, ballad ‘I can’t run away / 그리워하는 것까지’ sees all four of SEVENTEEN’s main rappers show off their vocal skills in a gentle ballad where they honest reflect about the passing of time and the sometimes painful memories of lost love that often remain. The group’s fans (also known as CARATs) have long since maintained how many of the members are all-rounders, and both songs help certainly serve their argument.
‘Imperfect Love / 매일 그대라서 행복하다’ possesses some of the most beautiful instrumentals on the entire album, and is another reminder of the Vocal Team’s cohesiveness despite their different vocal tones. The track is another ballad that continues on from the vocal flexing we heard from them in ‘Same dream, same mind, same night / 같은 꿈, 같은 맘, 같은 밤’, except here they trade old-school 90s ballad influences for rock-ballad guitars, synths and drums. In bonus track ‘2 MINUS 1’, American members Vernon and Joshua go full 00s rock-pop in a song sung completely in English. Added on to the album as a thank you to all the group’s international fans, the song is surely set up to be chanted with abandon by fans when the group are able to go back on tour again. The song’s chorus is undeniably catchy, and you can imagine it being added to many a break-up playlist instantly.
In many ways, Attacca truly is the other side of the coin in contrast to older sister Your Choice. Even the concept photos and album artwork suggest a different level of intensity and emotion than their previous record, and the entire album delivers on this promise. If the songs on Your Choice can be thematically held together by a nervously hopeful undercurrent — one that is relatable to anyone that holds almost overwhelmingly great dreams, emotions or loves in their heart — Attacca instead comes off as much more assured, much more unashamed throughout the entire record. Whatever emotions they wish to convey across the album’s seven tracks, this time the group are not worried about possessing them, nor to bare or explore them completely. Musically, this is reflected too. Whereas Your Choice is a bright pop album, Attacca instead revels in its edgier rock-pop influences. Both albums are held together by love, but if Your Choice sees the group filled with the whirlwind of feelings still not fully discovered, Attacca is them now embracing the emotional storm in all its glory.
Within a musical context, the instruction ‘attacca’ is used to let the musician know that the next section of the piece should continue straight away without a pause. The artistic beauty of this is that it helps to highlight the differences and similarities between various sections of music more keenly and allows them to form dialogue with one another through this interaction. In that respect, in Attacca SEVENTEEN have created a record that holds together well through the cohesiveness of both its message and genre, whilst also managing to cast reflection on the music that has come before it in their ‘Power of Love’ project.
It is never necessary for an artist to underline a great body of work through the creation of duologies, trilogies and so on, but just the like the ‘You Make My Day/Dawn’ series that ran from 2018 to early 2019, SEVENTEEN’s ‘Power of Love’ project stands as a great reminder of how thoroughly the group enjoys sustaining the narratives around their artistic experimentation across multiple records. Attacca is, at its core, an album created to reflect the fun to be found in one’s emotional convictions — especially when it comes to love — but also how such emotions are best enjoyed when they are allowed to continually evolve.
A reminder, perhaps, of how unstoppable the power of love really is.