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 haven’t really kept up with the album promotion for this one prior to the actual album release so I’m not quite sure if the album title in my post title is proper, but that’s how it’s written on Spotify, where I am listening to the album, so that’s what I am following. (Unfortunately, a Genie streaming pass is not in my budget this time, so Spotify premium will have to do.)
Seventeen’s special album came right at the heels of its Japanese promotions, but a few months after their previous Korean release of Heng-garæ. Thus, in Korean comeback terms there’s arguably a bit of a break, but overall Seventeen has been pretty much nonstop in their releases and activities these past few months. As I’ve mentioned, this is marketed to be a special album, and one new thing Seventeen did for this album was by making new units again, and this time, it’s by their age lines. Thus, we have two tracks with the full group, and four tracks with the new unit groups (’95 line, ’96 line, ’97 line, and maknae line). This is one of Seventeen’s strengths: the many permutations they can make with the number of members they have, and these groupings are very much anticipated by Carats.
I listened to this special album right after they released the music video for Home;Run, their title track. Thus, the notes below are really of first listen (with the exception of the title track, as per usual). Of course, since then I’ve seen them perform Home;Run; they’ve even had their first win for this comeback. I might also give the special album another listen while editing the notes I first wrote down below, and thus, I may have more thoughts I want to say. If I do add some notes post-first listen, I’ll indicate that they’re my additional notes and they’re most likely in paragraph form instead of the list format I use for my immediate thoughts.
With that being said, let’s see if I have any coherent first listen thoughts on ; [Semicolon]!
Track 1: HOME;RUN [Title Track]
- I really love the beat of this song and the instrumentals.
- It’s refreshing to hear them step away from too much of an EDM sound, and I have to say I missed this quite a bit.
- Ah, Mingyu’s vocals, so good!
- I kind of thought Dino’s part was a rap part, but upon listening to it again, I am not so sure, but I really like the swagger in his part.
- The8 has been having more parts, and more prominent song parts and quite increasingly challenging vocal-wise at that, and I am so happy and proud of him.
I’ve seen the performance for this and it really is like a musical, so I highly suggest you watch their performance as well. I also suggest you watch a live stage where they have their costumes on; while I love their choreography video, which you can also watch already, their costume really adds to the whole effect of the song for this one. Perhaps this comeback stage would be a good one to watch, but any music show performance will be good, I think.
Track 2: Do Re Mi [Maknae line unit: Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dino]
- This is quite fun sounding.
- Ah, Vernon really loves his autotune, but I love him more so that’s okay ahahaha. If that’s his preferred direction, I can’t really stop him.
- I love that this allows them to have longer parts and show off their vocal prowess more.
- I can’t wait to check out the lyrics of this song.
- Did you know that this unit has all the mains of Seventeen? Main vocal, main rapper, and main dancer! Maknae line is cooler than you probably think.
I found myself really liking this song over time. I even find myself just humming to this song out of nowhere. This is really a cute and refreshing song for me. The thing with maknae line is that they’re the “babies” of the group, but they’re not treated that way. They’re very much respected within the group, and I think it shows when you group them together like this, in what they put out as a result of their collaboration.
Track 3: Hey Buddy [’97 line unit: The8, Mingyu, and DK]
- This is more energetic than the maknae line’s song, not that the previous song is worse because of it or anything. That’s just an observation of the different vibes of the two songs.
- Love the instrumentals in this song (are those trumpets? Horns?).
- Also curious about the lyrics of this song!
- Is this funk? I have no idea about song genres at this point, but if this is funk, I like it.
- I really like how Mingyu has been singing more, although he did rap too in this song, I think.
- Oh my gosh I don’t know if this song has a saxophone, but it definitely has brass instruments doesn’t it?
This unit is similar to maknae line in that they have one member from each main unit (vocal, performance, and hiphop), and thus I call them both mini-Seventeens, like when you reduce a fraction to its least common denominator (is my math correct? I at least hope you get what I mean). I can’t quite explain it, but I think it is cool, and a strength of this unit (as well as maknae line’s). I’d say I like the product of this collaboration, but I like all the tracks in this album so it’s pretty redundant haha.
Track 4: Light a Flame [’96 line unit: Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, and Woozi]
- This one is indeed more…sensual?
- Why does this song mention the word despacito wahahahaha is that a reference?
- Jun’s vocals in a sensual sounding track is…wow.
- Woozi’s falsetto in a sensual sounding track calls back to his previous concert solo that was more on the racy side (if you know, you know).
- I feel like I could tango or dance something (Latin?) of that vibe of dance with this song.
- Oh dear they mentioned they have a performance for this, right? For fans to think about how they will perform this? Okay my fangirling has been activated for that ahahaha.
I’ll be honest, I don’t think this is my favorite unit track if I have to rank them. However, I still find myself suddenly humming this song (since I haven’t memorized the lyrics) out of the blue. It definitely is pulling a last song syndrome (LSS) on me, which means I really, really like this. More than I probably think I do. It’s very catchy without trying to be. There’s just some…strange lyrics when translated (did they really mention a swamp?), but maybe it makes more sense in Hangul?
Track 5: Ah! Love [’95 line unit: S.Coups, Jeonghan, and Joshua]
- Love the guitar in the instrumentals.
- Singing S.Coups! I have wanted for this so long, I am so happy!
- I really love the vibe of this song! This chill, upbeat vibe is so up my alley especially these days.
- This was the track to actually make me bop (and then cry just a little inside when I realize it’s S.Coups singing!).
- Could this be my favorite track??? Over ’96 line, surprisingly? We shall see.
If we go by my “humming out of nowhere”, I can’t say I do it as much as I do with Do Re Mi or Light a Flame, but I haven’t been really monitoring that as well so who knows. However, every time I listen to this song, all other songs fall away. I truly love this song, and I think I can say that this is, after more than a week of listening to the album, my favorite unit track. Which is funny, because if we go by subjective ranking of the age lines, like if I have to rank the age line groups, I might put ’95 line as my least favorite, if only because when ’95 line is together, S.Coups is bound to get bullied (with love) hahaha. But will you look that, who knew they’ll come up with the song to really be right up my alley? Not me, but I am definitely not complaining. Also, I just want to be clear that I like ’95 line, okay? If you’ve been reading my Seventeen posts you’ll have seen me being like a proud momma of Joshua and Jeonghan because of their growth as vocalists. And now I get to be a proud momma bear for S.Coups, because if this is not a step in his growth as a vocalist then I don’t know what is.
Track 6: All My Love
- This is the only other track on the album with all of them participating.
- I also like how this is upbeat, bright, but not too energetic. Just right.
- Also has me bopping.
- Oh my gosh that harmonization at the end, so lovely.
I love how comforting the final tracks in Seventeen’s albums tend to be. It’s pretty much their formula for their albums, and I’m not complaining. It’s not always the case, because upon a quick search, we shall exclude You Made My Dawn, as its last track is Getting Closer, and I would call that exciting more than comforting. But it happens often enough in their albums that it’s pretty much a thing in their album flow, for sure. This is no different, and I love it.
Overall, upon first impressions, I think Heng:garae had more impact on me on first listen, but it could also be due to my state of mind at the time and how the album affected that. Still, I love the upbeat but chill overall vibe of the album, which, without knowing what the lyrics are, plays into their theme of “it’s okay to take a break.” Upon first impression, I do think that I probably favor Ah! Love the most when it comes to the unit songs (and after a week it is still my favorite), but I am so excited to see how they will perform these songs (all of these songs, to be honest, title and unit tracks), because I know that will most likely have an effect on what will ultimately be my favorite song in the long run. (Note: Home;Run’s performance is superb, and I cannot wait to see the other songs performed. One day.)
Have you listened to ; [Semicolon] by Seventeen? What do you think of it, do you have a favorite track? Which is your favorite unit, or favorite unit song? If you haven’t listened to it yet, I highly encourage you to check it out here! And even if you don’t listen to it, I hope you’ll at least get the takeaway they want you to have: that it’s okay to take a break. See you in my next First Listen!