First Listen is a series where I post my immediate thoughts/reactions the first time or somewhere around the first time I listen to an album. The exception would almost always be the title track (this happens usually if it is a Kpop album), because for those I usually watch the music video first, so it’s not exactly a first impression or a first listen for that particular song. Nevertheless, I will still include my thoughts on such song especially stuff like how I think it plays into the album as a whole, and so on.
I cannot believe it has taken me this long to put this post up, this sat in my drafts for more than a month? Work just really came and slapped me not just my on my face but on my everything, and then of course I have to get sick right after because why not? That stress should go somewhere, right? Anyway, let me just assure you that most of the thoughts written here on the songs were written down during my first listen, although some editing might have been done afterwards. And even during the early drafts, this was affected by the album showcase because I watched that live as I was not gonna miss that just for a blog post. Lastly, this post will be in two parts, which I will explain more at the end, and the second part will be even lesser of a First Listen than this one is, but still related.
Seventeen has made a comeback on September 16, 2019 with their third full-length album entitled An Ode. This album has eleven tracks, two of which Seventeen listeners are already familiar with. Seventeen has shown a pattern of releasing full-length albums after two mini albums (and repackaged albums), as their first full-length album, First Love and Letter was released after two mini albums, 17 Carat and Boys Be. Their second full-length album, Teen, Age was also released after two mini albums, Going Seventeen and Al1. They also had a repackaged or special album for every period that I mentioned, the first of which was Love & Letter repackage album with Very Nice as the title track after the first full-length album, and Director’s Cut as the special album which was pretty much also a repackaged album, with Thanks as the title track after the second full-length album. I am recalling this off the top of my head, so if I made any mistakes, do correct me in the comments. But this was an interesting pattern which made Carats think that we were getting another full-length album even before any details were released, since we already had two mini albums again, namely You Make My Day and You Made My Dawn.
As I mentioned, two of the eleven tracks are already familiar to Seventeen fans. The first track, Hit, was previously released as a digital single, while the last track, Happy Ending – Korean Version, originally came from their Japanese single which was released earlier this year.
And now that I have rambled enough, I shall start my First Listen. I am listening to this on the release day, but may add some more thoughts before I post this which is probably on a later date. Anyway, enough dilly dallying, here we go!
Track 01: Hit
I’ve listened to this song before, but I still like the energy of this song. Some people didn’t really like the song, but I think it was about time Seventeen released a song like this.
Track 02: Lie Again
This has a Korean title, but I didn’t include it here, unlike the title for Fear, for which I really wanted to include the Korean part. For some reason, I feel like it completed the message, since I believe it translates to “poison”. Anyway, this part is for Lie Again, and here are my thoughts on it:
- Wow, Woozi opened the song! That in itself is a treat for me.
- I love the instrumentals I am hearing. And the vocals, too.
- This made me bop in my seat, even though it has a chill vibe to it.
- I love how the rap parts and vocal parts transition to one another.
- I really love listening to their vocals here! It’s not a song where they have to belt or anything like that, but I do think this was a good showcase of Seventeen’s vocals (at least for those who sang).
Track 03: 독: Fear [Title Track]
I already have my reaction on the MV here, but here are some more thoughts as I listened to the song without watching the music video (which has interesting elements in and of itself that it’s good to not be distracted by it too):
- Wonwoo’s opening is still hella strong!
- I love the vibe I get from the song, how raw it comes across to me.
- Who is bopping? Me, that’s right!
- I love the twists and turns of the song.
- Powerful falsettos are being served!
- Again, those ad libs at the end really catch my attention, I think that was DK, probably Seungkwan, too.
Track 04: Let Me Hear You Say
If I don’t have much notes written down, it’s because I really am excited and just wanted to listen to the whole album, I had to remember to write down notes at some point!
- I really love the build up right before and then the drop to the chorus.
- Wonwoo is really something this album.
- Oh, was that The8 doing the parallel part to Wonwoo’s in the second chorus? If yes, I love it! I mean whoever it was, I still love it. (I think it was The8!)
Track 05: 247 [Performance Unit]
This surprised me in the highlight medley, but here are some of my thoughts upon listening to the whole song for the first time:
- I love Jun’s vocals in the first verse. It sounds stronger.
- This is so…sensual? I expect nothing less from Performance Team, to be honest.
- I’m not saying it’s being sexy, but it has that smooth, sensual groove to it.
- Oh, hello Jun’s falsetto, we meet again.
- It’s nice to have Performance Team tackle a more emotional song. I do expect some interesting choreography one way or another, though. (Post-showcase HM note: it really did have an interesting choreography! It tied well to their previous dances to, which makes it even more amazing.)
Track 06: Second Life [Vocal Unit]
My thoughts upon listening:
- Isn’t it amazing to have Vocal Team having a more upbeat sounding song than Performance Team?
- The song gives me a hopeful vibe.
- This also feels like a hug, but a warm, happy one.
- It’s a simple song, but very comforting.
- Is Woozi belting out notes? Am I being given this gift?
- This makes me think of a warm, sunny afternoon. Not too hot, but with rays of sunlight peeking through the trees. It’s amazing how Vocal Unit songs make me think of actual images in this way. This happened with Pinwheel, too.
Track 07: Network Love [Joshua, Jun, The8, Vernon]
The only subunit other than their basic divisions, this was really an interesting turn of this album. Here are some of my thoughts on the song:
- Ooh, the chorus did not go the way I expected it to.
- It sounds like a really amazing mess with the way it kept changing up on me.
- I don’t know if this is what funky sounds like, but that’s the word that kept popping up in my head.
- Ah, I love hearing Jun’s vocals.
Track 08: Back It Up [Hip Hop Unit]
The part of me that likes things to be in a certain order is a bit bummed that there is a break in the series of unit songs, but the transition or flow of Second Life – Network Love – Back it up makes sense as it avoids an abrupt shift. On to Back It Up:
- Made me smile and bop from the start.
- I love it when Hiphop Team goes with their harder sound.
- This got me dancing, so fun!
- I think the what sounds to be autotune effects were used nicely (except when it was used too much on Vernon hahaha)
- I love how this gives me some old school vibes? I don’t know I could be crazy, but there’s something about the way it sounds…
- Whoa, that end part though!
- Probably my favorite to be honest.
Is this my favorite unit song? I’ll confirm later!
Track 09: Lucky
On to the other songs with everyone!
- Ooh, I like the groove of this song!
- This is a fun song and it has me dancing!
- It’s quite fast, especially at the start. At least, it felt that way.
- I may not say much but I am enjoying this a lot.
Track 10: Snap Shoot
This also caught my attention in the highlight medley, I think. My thoughts below:
- Lol I saw a tweet saying the intro sounded like Glee just like the song played and that’s pretty accurate hahaha!
- This sounds fun too! (So difficult to choose one favorite b-side at this point ahahaha)
- The song sounds like a musical to me (is it because of the Glee reference? Or maybe the clapping sounds I hear, like it could be played on stage with them dancing musical-style)
- Love the guitar sounds I hear.
- It really does sound like some musical.
- Spoiler alert (well at this point not so much anymore), but I saw this when it was performed at the showcase and wow, what a performance this was! Perfect contrast to Fear!
Track 11: Happy Ending Korean Version
I’ve heard this in Japanese before, but it’s still part of the album, so I listened to it, and anyway it’s in Korean now, which is bound to be different:
- It’s a bit strange to hear this song in Korean, I so loved it in Japanese.
- To be honest I was distracted because the showcase was about to start.
- I do think I still prefer it in Japanese, though, but the song is still amazing.
It’s safe to say that I really did enjoy this album. However, as I said earlier, this is just part one. Why? Because remember when I made some predictions based off of the highlight medley? I still want to go back to that, and maybe add some more of my thoughts on the album after a while. It’s hard to round up this post with my initial impression of the album because I’m writing this part more than a month after the release (but the notes above are definitely first listen notes), so it will be best to include my thoughts on the album as they are now, and with the rest of the results on my highlight medley predictions.
Have you listened to Seventeen’s latest album? What did you think of it? See you in Part 2! I’ll make sure to post it, I did end up posting this, right?