Seventeen are back!
I'm so happy these boys are having a great first year with the release of both their debut single "Adore You" and album "17 Carat", which charted for several weeks on Billboard's World Album's chart and peaked at number eight. If not domestically than definitely internationally these boys have gained many fans around the world, and for good reasons. I personally loved their debut track and the fresh, youthful and playful energy they brought to each and every stage performance, and all the boys are so talented. You'd think being 13 members would mean some of them getting forgotten or lost but that isn't the case here, and now they're back with "Mansae" to prove once again how skilled they are.
At first listen I wasn't a huge fan of their new title track, sadly. It could just be that "Adore You" set the bar too high straight away, but "Mansae" just wasn't as instantly catchy. After a few listens though I started getting more and more into it, and now I can jam along to it just fine. It's still not my favorite of theirs, but it's a good, upbeat song with a playful undertone. Musically it shares many similarities to "Adore You", especially in terms of the instrumental, but also due to the excellent way the vocals and rap parts are mixed together without none of them sounding out of place. All the members get fairly equal lines too (of course the main vocalists get more but that's the way it goes), which to me is really impressive considering the number of boys in this group.
As for the video however I can with clear certainty say that it's miles better than their debut one. Although I loved the video because of how low-budget and cheap it was I couldn't deny that it was quite bad, despite the boys of Seventeen doing their best in disguising it with their charms. "Mansae" is a definite improvement only in terms of production, as you can tell more money and time has been spent on putting this together. The sets are of higher quality, as well as the props, camera work and editing. Overall the product is more polished and clean, and reaches the level of above average K-pop MV, which in any other case wouldn't be a huge accomplishment. For this group however, it definitely is.
What is the song about then? Like their title track it's about love, but from the perspective of a teenager. Thus it's appropriate enough that the main setting for this MV is a school. It isn't much of a shocker that Seventeen decided to take on a school boy concept, both considering their ages and it's current trendiness, but they still manage to put a fresh spin on it.
The plot however isn't the true star of this video, let's face it, but it has its perks as well. However that's mainly because of the members' acting, both on their own and in groups as fill-ins, as they make all kinds of expressions and engage in both cute and funny antics.
Additionally I have to praise, as expected, the choreography. I do believe that once again Hoshi was the member behind it (whether he was completely alone or not I cannot say), and although I don't like it as much as I did with the one for "Adore You", this one definitely has a uniqueness to it. The fact that there are thirteen members might sound like a difficult aspect in putting together a routine, but as we can see here it can also be a positive thing. In terms of formations and variations there are just that much more than can be done, and it's important also when telling a story or trying to elevate the song's message and concept further. In this department the group is excelling.
Aesthetically I can't complain too much either, because as I said earlier it is an above average K-pop video but compared to their previous one this feels like a work of art. The colors are popping in a more refined way, the camera work is smoother and the styling of the members is also much improved from last time. Overall it gives off the feeling of a K-pop group that's not at all a rookie group, which is great because earlier only their stage performances gave off that vibe. Now they finally have a video to semi-match their skills as performers, or at least highlight them in a more flattering way.
Finally I will just have to say that although this review is late, and the album review will be even later; I have genuinely enjoyed this comeback. I don't love "Mansae" as much as "Adore You" nor did I like the choreography as much, it doesn't matter because a debut like that is hard to top. What Seventeen have come out with now is a very stable second title track to solidify their identity as a group, and as I said I really do like the MV as well.
I also have to express my growing love for Mingyu, because he just went from a cute kid to a sexy man in a matter of months and I'm all about that. But really though, this group is full of visuals and I'm still thanking the higher powers that Junghan hasn't cut off his gorgeous mane yet. It's really a gift from the Gods.