Seventeen has never failed to give their fans another chance to love and appreciate them. Coming off of a scintillating album release last year with Face the Sun, the boy group shows no signs of slowing down. After they ran their world concert Be The Sun from July to December, while dancer Jun and rapper Vernon simultaneously unveiled banger solo releases of their own, Seventeen has once again gifted us with their latest work and mini album, FML.
Inspired by everyone around the world
What lies in the mini album’s core are themes of liberation and individualism. From the name of the mini album itself, Seventeen takes FML to mean “Fight for my life” and “F*ck my life”, among many other cleverly-worded innuendos that encapsulate the notion of spontaneity. As the singers convey in the mini album’s teaser video, FML is inspired by “everyone around the world.” As such, FML fights back at the pressures that people go through in their everyday life—breaking free from the shackles of an unhappy, mundane world. With a concept so earnest, FML serves as one of Seventeen’s most profound albums.
Despite the timing of its release, FML doesn’t entirely have a lighthearted, blissful appeal to match the summer season—unlike their past albums, Your Choice and You Made My Day. Another unique aspect to the mini album is that it showcases two title tracks, F*ck My Life and Super, a first for the Korean boy band’s music discography. While two of FML’s tracks—Dust and April shower—still emerges with such carefree and uplifting spirit, the new release also consists of other tracks that aim to lift their listener’s morale through the eclectic and diverse sounds of their music.
Seventeen right here
The mini album opens perfectly with title track F*ck My Life. Contrasting the boldness of the title, its melody is bright and carried by a punchy yet smooth rhythm that is embellished with faint jingles and drums. The catchy and cool song uses self-deprecation to highlight a universal truth: sometimes, life just sucks.
But the song repackages this brutal reality as a candid reclamation of power and freedom to find one’s self after being constricted by the inevitable struggle and uncertainty of life. By claiming this truth, Seventeen raises a flag of hope—the world can “F*ck” up our lives, but we are still worth fighting for. Our lives are worth the fight.
The other more intense and energetic title track, Super, uses fast-paced hip hop beats mixed with instrumentals taken from traditional Korean music. The track in general is inspired by East Asian culture, as seen in its respective choreographic and lyrical references to Dragon Ball Z and the Legend of Sun Wukong. It opens with the group’s lead rappers, highlighting Wonwoo’s husky vocals followed by Mingyu’s catchy “Darumdarimda” verse, as it prepares listeners for an enticing and exceptionally commanding experience. Carats may end up baffled with the track, given that it only possesses a few seconds of vocals and an abrupt second part of the chorus—a new and sharp approach for a title track. However, the well-executed rap verses of lead vocalists Jeonghan and Woozi are a more welcome surprise. With the potential of a grand and powerhouse performance, Super will definitely be a track Carats will anticipate to see Seventeen perform live.
Although only a B-side song of the album, April shower is a track that affords all the members their chance to shine vocally. The lyrics in April shower highlight the beauty in showers of rain as they invite listeners to show their true colors and break free like flowers that bloom in late spring. With its charming and relaxing sound that harkens back to their songs Come to me and Our dawn is hotter than day, April shower is a commendable song that Carats can enjoy listening to for the start of the summer season.
Just like in most of Seventeen’s albums, the group’s hip hop, vocal, and performance subunits each have one track where they get to highlight and exhibit their skill sets. On top of showcasing each subunit’s flair, FML‘s subunit tracks also show the individuality the members have in producing and writing their songs.
The track of the vocal unit—composed of Jeonghan, Joshua, Woozi, DK, and Seungkwan—Dust, shows the quintessential, endearing side of Seventeen that Carats have grown to love since their debut. With tender lyrics and soothing vocals, Dust elicits a warmhearted feeling that makes one’s heart flutter. The track also highlights Woozi as Seventeen’s main producer through the inclusion of soft whispers and delicate mix of instrumentals, elements that are the cornerstone of the vocalist’s productions.
In contrast, Fire serves as the hot and bass-heavy track of the hip hop unit, with S.coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu, and Vernon. Fire notably shows more of the unit’s spirited charisma, which never fails to burn up the stage when performed live. Despite Fire having fewer lyrics and bars than past hip hop unit tracks, the song—which was primarily written and composed by the members of the unit themselves—still shows the unit’s effortless and cool artistry.
There is always a space to be furtively fun and seductive, and that is exactly where the performance unit—Hoshi, Jun, The8, and Dino—takes the album with I don’t understand but I luv u. The song deviates from the earnest and hype music by delving into a fiery romance. While its lyrics hold the value of love in misunderstanding, its sound juxtaposes its lyrics’ wholesome nature as it creates a captivatingly sensual atmosphere through its production. Enveloped in slow reverbs and raunchy beats that are textured with subtle whistles and chords of a mean electric guitar, the song makes for an airless feeling and is a sound itching to be performed on stage.
Worth f*cking listening to
FML shows more of Seventeen’s mature and angsty side, given that the tracks are mostly performance and rap-based. The softer side of Seventeen isn’t as prominent as it was in their previous albums, despite having a few endearing tracks that reminisce the group’s carefree and lighthearted approach in their music. Still, the elevation in the quality of their show-stopping choreography and undying charisma does not fail to keep Carats hooked and intrigued.
That being said, FML humanizes Seventeen in a way their previous works have not—by dressing them down as individuals who struggled with what little they were given to get where they are now. More than just fame and success, they have found their voice. While this mini album serves as an ode to life, it also serves as the culminating triumph to Seventeen’s history, making this so much more personal and filled with meaning.
This comeback is more than just a testament to Seventeen’s strength in performing. With the profound concept and artistry the group has used for the album’s composition, FML will definitely shine as one of Seventeen’s impactful mini albums in terms of both message and influence.