Review

Song Review: Seventeen – Home

I’ve gotta admit, I was worried. When Seventeen started teasing Home as a mixture of “future” r&b (why is everything labeled “future” so hopelessly dull?) and more traditional balladry, I prepared myself for the worst. You all know how tired I am of pop music’s ever-increasing love affair with downbeat pace and moody atmosphere. Add to that the fact that Seventeen haven’t given us a big uptempo funk-pop Korean title track since 2017’s Clap, and I was about ready to flip a table. And indeed, Home’s restrained structure makes many choices that I’d usually hate. But damn if the guys don’t pull it off.

Home’s opening marimba-like synths seem to foreshadow an eye-rolling beat drop, but turn out to be a red herring of sorts. They quickly fade into the background as the first verse quietly creeps in. A delicate — but super effective — melody takes prominence, soon blooming into a gorgeous pre-chorus reminiscent of their 2017 hit Don’t Wanna Cry. This extended build seems destined to end in a big beat drop, but Seventeen yank the rug from under us and offer a striking palette of empty space instead. In most cases, this anti-drop approach would leave me cold, but it’s pulled off with such flair here. And, it never outstays its welcome, as the hook quickly regains fullness with a rousing repetition of its titular refrain.

Like December’s Getting Closer, Home’s most valuable asset is its compelling percussion. Songs like this can easily drag, but Home retains interest from its ever-shifting tempo and dynamics. Rather than throw one or two jarring trap breakdowns into an otherwise fine instrumental, Home builds its whole existence from a sense of unease. This gives it surprising power, despite being one of the group’s most subdued title tracks. It may not be the big, bombastic dance anthem I continue to hope for, but if this is Seventeen’s version of a typical winter single, I’ll gladly take it.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


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14 thoughts on “Song Review: Seventeen – Home

  1. I’m surprised you’re such a fan; I wish I could say the same. I’m still waiting (in vain) for another high-octane, funk pop single, and to have another synth-y r&b track is disheartening. If there’s one group who I don’t want to fall victim to trends and fads, it’s seventeen. And maybe I’m being biased, because I personally dislike trap beats and those squeaky synth noises that pop up everywhere, but this was a pretty big disappointment. The b sides weren’t much better, which pains me to say because they’re one of my all time favourite groups…hopefully they’ll come back in the summer with a big go-for-broke sound and my worries can be put to rest.

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    • I am SO with you, believe me. And honestly, my hopes for this comeback were so low. I am dying for another Very Nice or Mansae or Clap.

      Maybe those lowered expectations are why Home resonated with me more strongly than I would have thought. Or maybe it’s because the general sound reminds me of Don’t Wanna Cry, which — despite all odds — is actually one of my favorite Seventeen songs.

      Genre features and trendiness aside, I also just think that this is really solid pop song. I hate to sound like a broken record (they’re not even my bias group, after all), but Seventeen has a way of pulling off sounds I generally dislike. I don’t know what it is, but they always surprise me.

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      • I think with Seventeen the production is still quite unique and exciting even when they switch genres. They utilise really hollow sounds a lot, Home’s chorus is kinda an exaggeration on that but they do it a low and inject harmonies to balance it out a lot.
        I love both Getting Closer and Home despite not being floored by last year.

        I too would love to see a nod to their earlier funk as maybe a pre release but I kinda like where they’re going with this “chainsmokers” inspiration and fusing it with their style. I want to see more.

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  2. That’s quite a high score for what it really is, in my opinion. I would’ve given them a 7 -at most- and if I let my already stablished opinion on them influence my rating, I would probably give them the same score as you.

    But can’t help but feel disappointed with their recent work.
    I feel like these boys’ strong desire for a breakout hit is responsible for the outcome of their music.
    It seems like they’re holding onto whatever trendy sound is working for the succeeding boy groups in the kpop scene and trying to make their own version of it. They seem a bit lost, I hope they find their way back to who they were before.

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    • As confusing as it may seem, this review is in no way an endorsement of Home’s general sound. I’m utterly sick of it when it comes to Seventeen and (like you) crave for something more upbeat.

      What gets the song over the line for me is its use of dynamics. It’s got that sense of catharsis in the way that the best EDM tracks do. And stripping the genre choices away, I think it’s got a pretty solid melodic core, as simple as it may be.

      When Don’t Wanna Cry came out, it got the exact same score from me. That song went on to become an easy 9+ rating — and one of my favorites of that year. Time will tell, but my gut says that Home will pretty much stay where it is — a solid 8.

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      • I see. I don’t necessarily want them to go back to their upbeat sound but instead try something new instead of following trends. Reading the comment below, I had similar thoughts, they don’t go full in as they do with other concepts or music genres. Don’t wanna cry is one of my favorite Seventeen’s track despite I thought they couldve done so much more with it, composition wise.
        I don’t mind them experimenting with different genres but it’s that Seventeen’s unique twist is what it’s missing.

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  3. To be honest, they may still go in the direction you fear (like going edgy or dark), if only because they feel that they haven’t done it yet and they want to try it. They’re just that kind of group, they like to try as many sounds as they can, from what I can tell from their interviews etc. But with they way they are being, I don’t think they’ll stay too long there, since they are always trying to change things up. That’s also probably why they haven’t pulled off another Very Nice or Mansae again as of now.

    As to how they pull off things that one would usually dislike (I know that has happened to me with Seventeen too, they’re not even the kind of group I’d tend to like when I first discovered them), to me it’s because they’re just so unapologetic about it? Like if they go the Adore U route they’ll go full Adore U, or if they wanna do EDM then they’ll do it, there’s no hesitation (ha there’s a reference there I think), and they push as much Seventeen as they can into whatever sound they are experimenting with. It’s never half-assed, to me at least, and that makes for a good end result. And maybe because of Woozi, Bumzu, and their other production team members too, but to me that’s a given hahaha.

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    • It’s all going to rest on the strength of the actual song, I think.

      For comparison’s sake, the new album’s opener — Good To Me — plays with many of the same sounds as Home, but really doesn’t click with me. The melody and arrangement are too flat and derivative, despite the song being more uptempo. On paper, I should have preferred it to Home, but that isn’t the case in reality.

      Oh, and the less said about “Chilli,” the better…

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      • I haven’t heard the rest of the album, so I’ll keep that in mind. And yes, in the end, it will all boil down to the end product which will be the song itself. Hmm, I don’t think Woozi has any participation in “Chilli”, and songs like that (no Woozi participation) make me curious as to how they’ll be received, or how they’ll be different, so that is interesting…

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  4. There’s something about this EP that makes me feel off. Not in a bad way, if that makes sense, in a way that it seems like an intro of sorts. Something big is coming, I’m sure of it. From the very restrained quality of the whole album to how Home feels kind of unsatisfying, I think the boys have something planned. We’ll just have to wait until the next comeback.

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  5. Pingback: Top Three K-Pop Songs of January 2019 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  6. I also kinda miss their funky sounds a lot. But i think they are saving that for summer comeback idk? I think they are trying to establish themselves as a group who can do all kind of sounds. Also having a very upbeat comeback at the starting of the year will loose its hype by the end. The winter comebacks are generally more calm and conceited, to match the mood? But also they had the same thing as summer too. So who knows its just wait and watch for me. But for far as i can tell it was a good comeback.

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    • It just feels like it’s been forever since they hit us with something truly upbeat. Of course, I could say that about K-pop as a whole. Seventeen are just playing to trends, but they’re far too creative to simply follow the pack. I hope you’re right about a funky summer comeback. As much as I liked Oh My, its chill sound is not what I want from Seventeen.

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