Attacca Album Review: SEVENTEEN at Their Best
This is the second in a series of essays released in honor of SEVENTEEN’s latest comeback! Subscribe to the 17 Carat K-Pop podcast for more coverage of their new album, Attacca!
A Track-By-Track Guide to Attacca and Its Highlight Medley
The highlight medley for Attacca reinforces both the messages of its songs and the messages SEVENTEEN have been sending throughout their discography.
The opening scene of the highlight medley video is for “To you,” a beautiful tribute to a person they feel permanently indebted to for helping them learn how to love and for being such a light in their lives. The song is performed on a small, empty stage, allowing the focus to stay on the song’s message.
The guitar-driven, fast-paced “Rock with you” comes next and shows the members performing it with contagious smiles on their faces.
“Crush” brings to life the feeling of adrenaline that comes with crushing on someone, with swoon-worthy lyrics and a fun instrumental. This song plays as the camera zooms in on a metronome. This is notable when considering SEVENTEEN’s last comeback. In “Ready to love,” the members finally have the confidence to say the word “love” without the same hesitancy as they had previously, and they sing about feeling like time is slipping away from them. With “Crush,” SEVENTEEN finally name their feelings as such, making the metronome representative of their new sense of urgency to express themselves before it’s too late.
“PANG!” is a playful song that compares the swell of emotions provoked by a crush with the helium entering a balloon. It is a cute and quirky song that plays while SEVENTEEN play with bubbles and remind viewers they still have their inner child intact.
The visual that accompanies the teaser for “PANG!” transitions into the teaser for “Imperfect love,” with the image of the members being zoomed out to appear to be on a record player. Given SEVENTEEN’s frequent references to using music to say what talking on its own cannot, turning this scene into its own record sends a very on-brand message. “Imperfect love” takes pride in a relationship’s sincerity, even when that sincerity brings problems with it. Its emotional message is effectively delivered with gentle but powerful vocals.
The small stage from the beginning of the highlight medley video returns for “I can’t run away,” only this time, the stage is surrounded by grass and flowers. Flower petals also start falling from the sky, a repeated symbol in SEVENTEEN’s music videos and lyrics. As explained in a different piece, they frequently use flowers to represent a relationship’s periods of blossoming and withering, and they sing about finding beauty even in the fallen petals. “I can’t run away” shares this view, with lyrics that make a promise to hold onto the memories of a relationship forevermore, treating them like precious “fallen petals” even if a relationship comes to an end.
Lastly, “2 MINUS 1” is a pop-rock jam that closes out the album perfectly, and the reason why is explained in the following section.
As discussed on 17 Carat K-Pop and in a separate piece about SEVENTEEN’s music, SEVENTEEN frequently revisit topics in their songs to address them with a new perspective. The members once again express their view of words as inadequate on their own to fully encapsulate their complex emotions in a relationship, singing on “Rock with you,” “No words are enough for you.” In “2 MINUS 1,” the members pivot from repeating “I don’t need you anymore” to saying “I need you” at the very end, and the final lyric in “Rock with you” changes from “I wanna rock with you” to “I wanna stay with you.” These are just a few of the many examples of how SEVENTEEN use their lyrics as a place to keep grappling with the conflicting emotions that are stirred up by love in its many forms. Although the members have a more upfront, confident attitude when expressing their feelings than ever before, their insecurities, fears, and doubts still remain. Just as they seem to convince themselves of one thing, how they really feel comes to the surface.
The “Rock with you” Music Video
“Rock with you” is full of nods to previous SEVENTEEN music videos. The opening image on the screen of the video’s teaser says “Boyhood,” which summarizes the theme of their debut album. Previous settings also make a reappearance: there are rooftop scenes like in “Oh My!,” a parking garage similar to the setting in “Happy Ending,” and music-making equipment surrounding Woozi like in “BOOMBOOM.” The signs saying “Attacca” bring the street signs from “Left & Right” to mind, and the pillars on which images of bright blue skies are projected bring to mind the pillars the members stand on in “Hit.” Whether intentional or unintentional, the memories invoked in “Rock with you” make this video even more of a treat than longtime fans expected.
All potential Easter eggs aside, the video is an attention-consuming one that exudes contagious joy. Watching “Rock with you” leaves viewers tapping their feet, pressing “Replay,” and tuning out the world. The song carries the hallmarks of SEVENTEEN title tracks: layered instrumentals that seamlessly blend into one memorable, elaborate sound, lyrics open to interpretation, and an unmatched energy level. This energy is clearest during dance sequences, when the members once again excel at their synchronization.
On Attacca, SEVENTEEN continue to flex their creative muscles in new and exciting ways, while also managing to remain true to their sound on a metaphorical level. They reliably deliver messages packed with deep feelings and prompts for self-reflection. Attacca is as uplifting as it is contemplative, as much of a mood boost as it is an invitation to join them in pursuing the meaning of love. Sweet and serious, with both light and heavy moments, Attacca is instant canon in SEVENTEEN’s discography and a worthwhile listen for non-fans as well.
Both auditorilly and lyrically, the songs on Attacca cover a range of speeds, moods, and intensities. Songs like “To you” and “Imperfect love” reveal SEVENTEEN’s gentle, insecure side, and songs like “PANG!” and “Crush” emphasize their relatively new boldness and optimism. Regardless of tone, the themes tying all these songs together remain what they always have been for SEVENTEEN’s albums: love and an embrace of the human experience, both because of and despite its emotional extremes. SEVENTEEN convey their emotions in a myriad of ways, and these ways are reflected in these songs in new ways that also manage to carry SEVENTEEN’s trademarks. In short, SEVENTEEN are as authentic as they have always been, and listeners and viewers are better off for it.