“Face the Sun”: SEVENTEEN Confronts Seven Years of Dreams and Fears
By Jaden Lam
SEVENTEEN, although currently one of the biggest boy groups in the world, is less a marketing phenomenon, but rather recognized for their immense talent and determination. They had a slow burn success, starting their careers from an almost bankrupt company.
With their company’s lack of financial support in 2015, the 13-piece K-pop group were forced to produce, write, and choreograph their own music even before they debuted. In their seven year careers, we’ve heard all their personal stories. “Face the Sun,” their fourth studio album, is no exception.
“Darl+ing,” the album’s catchy lead single and SEVENTEEN’s first full-group English single, greatly contrasts their second lead single, “HOT.” A heartfelt love song to their fans all around the world, “Darl+ing” ardently portrays the genuine relationship between SEVENTEEN and their fandom, Carat. A chill, summery, feel-good instrumental kicks off the song, accompanied by a lovely Neverland-inspired music video. After the song’s passionately warm bridge, the track transitions into a wittily unexpected guitar riff, followed by the bright Neverland dissolving and the group falling into a dark dystopian society.
Upon the album release, there was an admirably quick transformation into a darker, more sultry era of SEVENTEEN, a newly experimented concept by the group, “HOT.” The high-energy track commences with strumming a Midwestern guitar, but with a clever twist, shifts to a thunderous and raucous mood. Wailing sirens pervade the song, presenting a flashy warning to Carats of their newfound confidence. During the post-chorus, they fervently encourage themselves to “Face the Sun.” Then, in the bridge, they powerfully assert: “We’ll rise high all of a sudden and become the sun.”
“Shadow” is full of epiphany: the members realize their shadows, or fears and weaknesses, are also a part of them. When the lyrics reflect on their hatred for their shadows, the BPM is higher and clear resentment imbues through their voices, but the BPM reduces to a slower tempo and a softer vocal tone when the members reach revelations, like “I hated you and I got hurt too.” Amplifying this vulnerability, “IF you leave me,” a heart-wrenching ballad, utilizes a sole English phrase, captured from the title, in the song, to allow their international fans to imagine the what-ifs personal to them as the band similarly dwells on the sorrow they would feel if their fans left them.
“Face the Sun” is an important milestone in SEVENTEEN’s careers, serving as an eager declaration that they will be in the music industry for many more years to come, while also rising higher and reaching countless more accomplishments. Most groups begin losing their sparkle after five years in the industry, but SEVENTEEN is just getting started.