Over the past year or so, I’ve found myself more disconnected with Seventeen’s music. Their once unique blend of old-school funk and killer song construction threatened to be overtaken by current musical trends. I feared that they were losing what made them special in the first place. As a group who co-writes all of their material, this slide in quality is understandable. The guys are ridiculously busy, and probably don’t have as much time to dedicate to music-making as they once did. This makes me think that Pledis Entertainment really needs to invest in Some new composers. Vocal team leader (and main songwriter) Woozi is almost always paired with in-house producer Bumzu, and it kind of feels like the two have exhausted their bag of tricks. A break would probably be beneficial to both of them.
This brings me to “HIT“, which is actually the most exciting Seventeen comeback since 2017. The intense EDM banger shows the same wear as the group’s recent material, but its endless energy helps it stand out within an otherwise glum summer slate. At this point, a song like “HIT” scores major points for several simple reasons. First, it maintains its energy all the way through, never dipping into some half-time trap breakdown. Second, it goes big. The EDM drop chorus isn’t anything we haven’t heard before, but it’s stuffed to the brim with aggressive electronics that match the explosive energy Seventeen have always displayed as performers.
Ultimately though, the lack of a proper chorus holds the song back from being truly transcendent, and crystallizes a particularly maddening (and lazy) trend that’s plagued global pop music for too long. With a vocal line like Seventeen’s, the guys could have crafted an amazing hook to layer on top of the song’s already-robust production. Thankfully, the verses of “HIT” compensate, offering a slick melody that builds momentum. I love the thundering percussion that underlines the rap breaks, and the pre-chorus is the rare moment when heavy autotune actually works. Stray Kids pulled this sound off much better with March’s “Miroh“, but I’m pleased to have another high-energy dance track as part of 2019’s K-pop roster.
IATFB: “HIT” brings a ton of energy and it will surely be a ton of fun to perform for fans in concert or something, much like a lot of EXILE songs. But the energy sorta hides the fact that the chorus is essentially instrumental and not a compelling one. Easy to see how one can enjoy it, but do feel like people are liking this more due to the dearth of quality this summer as we know SEVENTEEN can do better.