Seventeen have quickly become one of the most reliable hit-makers in k-pop, regularly churning out the kind of dance pop that feels universal and classic — in line with trends, but pulling influences from multiple decades and genres. 2016 has been a big year for the group, cementing them at the top of the new generation of rookies. New single Boom Boom (붐붐) is their third major release in the space of nine months, and it deftly pulls together elements from several of their past singles.
As Seventeen embarked on their promos for July’s Very Nice, their stage show became more and more loose in nature, pulling ad-libs into the studio mix to give the track an even funkier, improvisational energy. Boom Boom carries this over, erupting with a verse that skirts the line between a traditional mix of vocals and rap, and an almost militaristic chant. Seventeen are one of the few groups with a large configuration of members that seems to fully take advantage of this fact. With thirteen guys in the group, it’s difficult to give them all something to do in the space of three and a half minutes, but Boom Boom is a pinball machine of a song, bouncing from one hook to another without a second to breathe. I love how the melody seems to be constantly in flux, weaving around the short stabs of percussive instrumentation and lively hip-hop segments.
While the verses punch forward with a series of unpredictable exclamation points, the chorus wraps them in an unadulterated blast of pop, acting as a powerful centerpiece and the song’s strongest moment. The way the rhythm guitar flirts around the edges reminds me of EXO’s fantastic Love Me Right from last year. At first, I found the “boom boom” segments that come next to be a little too lengthy and repetitive, but although they lack the celebratory bombast of a song like Mansae, there’s no denying that they’re the song’s catchiest moments. And as with all Seventeen tracks, I have no doubt that Boom Boom will get even better with time.