Launched a day after their seventh anniversary, Seventeen embarks on a new journey with their fourth full-length album, Face the Sun. Dodging the infamous “seven-year curse” in the K-pop industry—where idol groups usually disband or have a member leave after seven years in the industry—Seventeen’s latest release solidifies the group’s bond and career with all its 13 members on board for years to come.
Seventeen has come a long way in the K-pop industry by providing a wide array of music that champions their talent, creativity, and maturity—from their debut song, Adore U, to their previous title track, Rock with you. This season, Seventeen lights up the skies and shows audiences what stars are made of. From a shining diamond to a fluorescent blaze, Face the Sun exemplifies the group’s burning and undying passion for music.
The album is not just a message to Carats—their fan base—but is also a message to themselves. Featuring nine different songs, the album focuses on the importance of stepping away from the shadows and facing one’s fears. Much like in their previous releases, Seventeen’s songwriter and producer Woozi shaped the album to be a comforter and a push for its listeners. Taking consideration of not only Korean fans but also international ones, he created an album that is easy to listen to and contains lyrics that are uplifting, lively, and heart softening.
Through this album, Seventeen aims to express their journey as a group. They show Carats their more human side by sharing their collective goals, fears, and desires using music. Unlike their previous albums—Your Choice and Attacca—Face the Sun doesn’t contain b-sides unique to the group’s subunits. Instead, the album pictures the group as a whole, with all members taking part in all nine tracks.
However, Face the Sun does contain various songs of a different caliber. From upbeat songs to more dramatic and mellow ones, the group transcends any box that the music industry has placed them in. Seungkwan reiterates how the group is unafraid to move past their image in the industry and to further explore new sounds and concepts.
The album begins with Seventeen’s first English song, Darl+ing. Released before the album, the group teased the song with a series of pastel photographs—implying a mellower tune comparable to Your Choice’s soft pop path or Attacca’s rock vein. But much like all of the group’s songs, Darl+ing did not disappoint. The voicework is a heavy focus of the song; with the vocals of the members having their own summary tone but also a memorable sweet melody. Woozi expressed that he wanted to create a song that would be easy to listen to and one that would resonate with international Carats—and Darl+ing did just that.
Complimenting the softness of Darl+ing is HOT, the album’s title track, which features a heavy bass and a catchy chorus. The pacing of the song is well highlighted with S.Coup’s deep vocals, with his parts capturing the attention of the listener while also carrying the song. But what balances out this track is Hoshi’s falsettos which provides a composure in the middle of the song’s heavy beats during the second verse. All things considered, HOT feels like a culmination of all their past comebacks and experiences.
The next two tracks, Don Quixote and March, breathe life into the album. While both feature strong beats, the group’s vocal work and smooth rap lines are still highlights. As the lyrics go, “I just want to feel the vibes,” Don Quixote brings out a Seventeen that hasn’t been fully explored. Following its title—which references the literary impractical idealist—Don Quixote shows Seventeen and their desires and hopes for growth. In comparison, March’s solid flow highlights the perfect transition from the bridge to its final chorus, where the voices of each member are spotlighted.
As the album reaches halfway, Domino becomes the perfect transition between the fast-paced tracks to ones that carry more somber emotions. Featuring the voices of Joshua and S.Coups in the first pre-chorus, the song resembles a warm hug. The beat drop is reminiscent of Seventeen’s previous song, Home. However, the following rise and fall of the tone in the song is a testament to their growth as artists.
In contrast to the upbeat, energetic tracks, Shadow proves that the group can produce songs with depth, meaning, and emotion. It’s a refreshing take on the “shadow” theme as it does not conform to the vampire-like dark concept other idol groups frequently use. Instead, Shadow discusses topics such as insecurities, escapism, and acceptance. The emotional aspect of the track peaks during the chorus and the bridge, allowing the members’ impactful vocals to shine.
The warmth of their music extends to ‘bout you, which exhibits playful lyrics and a light melody. The harmonization of “Neomani da” gives the introduction and chorus a kick, effectively setting up the positive tone of the song. Emanating the same charm of past songs like Healing, Pretty U, and Snap Shoot, the track shows what makes Seventeen so endearing.
Astonishingly, the album’s last two tracks are contrasting: If you leave me serves as a ballad while Ash is a trap song—showcasing the group’s range in pulling off songs from varying genres. The last two songs further highlight how each member excels in aspects outside of their specialty. Toward the end of If you leave me, Mingyu, one of the group’s rappers, ends the song in a melancholic tone with his soothing vocals. On the other hand, lead vocalist Joshua and main dancer Dino surprisingly showed off their swag during Ash’s bridge, matching the energy of those in the group’s hip-hop subunit.
Seventeen’s courageous decision to step out of their comfort zones and to produce music that is uniquely and soundly theirs culminates as a revelation in the release of Face the Sun. It is a testament to the group’s many years of being together—and of the years they have yet to share. As Woozi mentions in their album press conference, they may have worries in their hearts, but this is what the album is about: facing one’s fears and making difficult decisions with a courageous heart.
The album serves as a remarkable milestone for Seventeen as it sets a solid foundation for the next phase of their career. Exceeding their records, Face the Sun even became Seventeen’s first album to reach over a million album sales during its release day on the Hanteo charts. This success just shows how the group maintains their being a powerhouse in the K-pop industry.
But beyond album sales and streams, one cannot overlook the sincerity and warmth that Seventeen evokes through their music. Being the self-producing idol group they are, the group continues to create songs that express their personal stories and messages. Now onto a new chapter, Carats are excited to hear what’s to come for the future of Seventeen.