God, I wanted to ignore this so bad. It’s late, I slept about three hours last night, and I was in the minority who didn’t care for their debut much, so I wanted Seventeen‘s “Mansae” to be mediocre so I could just write some snarky Deep Reviews thing and hit the bed.
Unfortunately for my health, and fortunately for their careers (and Pledis Entertainment), “Mansae” was easily worthy of my (super important) time, as they arrived with a near flawless release.
Let’s start out with the negatives, which mainly revolve around the fact that I don’t know any of them besides Vernon and there are so goddamn many of them that it was difficult to keep track. More importantly, the music video concept was horribly cliched boy group stuff — oh wow, they all pursue a girl and act thirsty enough to be starring in a Gatorade commercial, how original!
But putting those relatively minor things aside, basically everything else worked. Unlike with Red Velvet‘s styling, I can now at least recognize some of the Seventeen members, even if it is ‘purple hair guy’ or ‘pink hair guy’ or ‘penis-part hair guy’ — it’s a start, which is important for nugus.
Of course, the song itself was particularly appealing thanks to a great chorus. Yes, the verses did their job effectively in that they carried the momentum of the song from hook to hook, and even the rap was workmanlike if not particularly notable. Clearly though, the star of the track was an amazing combo chorus of sorts, which was both addicting and infectious. The way they worked in a more traditional chorus as the pre-chorus before the chanting hook chorus of “mansae” came in was a clever way to effectively play both sides of the fence. Both parts had their own appeal and they ended up complimenting each other well, but it’s the put your hands up “mansae” repetition that will be easily remembered in the end. I can hear it rhythmically chanting in my head even as a type this, and I fear it may haunt me for months.
A bonus was that the rhythm they repeat “mansae” during that section reminded me a lot of the way DMX chanted in “Where The Hood At“, which makes for amazing potential mash-ups, and just imagining the comparison made me giddy and thus entertained me greatly in itself.
Arguably though, the track wasn’t even the most impressive part of this release, as every second the music video spent away from their choreography felt like a waste. This is one of those songs where they could’ve released a dance version as the final product, because I could easily watch just 3:27 worth of the energetic and visually appealing choreo instead of whatever lame “plot” was being shown.
Anyway, if the main complaint about a K-pop release is that it was a bit cliched, that’s how you know it was an overall rousing success. Not every boy group release can end up as complete as SHINee‘s “Married To The Music“, but Seventeen and “Mansae” were surprisingly and impressively within range.
Also, because this needs to be said, Vernon looks absolutely nothing like Leonardo DiCaprio. Koreans have been struck by whatever the opposite is of the blindness that afflicts white guys with yellow fever.