Review

Song Review: Seventeen – Left & Right

I’ve been longing for the return of “funky Seventeen” for way too long now. Their first three years remain unbeatable, offering a steady supply of rollicking, upbeat tracks. These can still be found from time to time within their albums, but the group’s title tracks have steered toward angstier and edgier material for some time now. Left & Right marks a semi-return to the bright music of their past, though I guess I should be careful what I wish for. The song has its moments, but is undercut by an irritating hook that feels more like a TikTok challenge than a chorus.

Left & Right is also Seventeen’s first title track after Pledis Entertainment was acquired by Big Hit Labels. This is undoubtedly a big moment in their career, and I wish it was soundtracked by a song that matched the significance. I’ve always disliked music that feels as if it’s trying too hard to be clever or meme-worthy, and Left & Right strikes me as hinging too strongly on novelty. Seventeen are above novelty, and certainly above a chorus as uninspired and repetitive as this.

The track’s opening verse rekindles a bit of that old Seventeen magic, melding playful rap with splashy vocal ad-libs. The pre-chorus is even more enjoyable, as it appears to be building toward an exciting centerpiece. Instead, Left & Right collapses into its obnoxious, one-note hook and never really recovers from there. The second verse is stuffed with equally annoying hip-hop, and any goodwill the brassy instrumental might cultivate is undercut by tinny, trap-inspired percussion. Honestly, it feels like Left & Right spends all of its energy telling me to have a good time, rather than actually being a good time.

 Hooks 6
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

63 thoughts on “Song Review: Seventeen – Left & Right

  1. I have decided my Top 2 candidates and This………….. IS ABSOLUTELY NOT ONE OF THEM! What the heck?! This is the first time , I have seen in this site (from your Pretty U post to Fear Post) You have given them something below 8 and I agree ! Bighit will get a F this year from me for the grading of their company. Drama! Moon! Labrynth! And now Together and Kidult!
    Hooks: 7
    Production: 8
    Longevity: 7
    Bias: 9
    Rating: 7.75

    Like

    • I don’t understand how bighit is related to this honestly… It’s a self-produced album and even if it wasn’t pledis is still in charge of everything.. bighit is just providing the budget.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. What happened to writing good choruses? Aren’t these the guys who out out Mansae, Clap, DWC, Very Nice, Hit, etc.. What happened to all of that! Where did Seventeen go?! Honestly ever since Fear, I’ve been repeatedly disappointed with their singles. This one keeps up the disappointment and ruined my day. Seventeen are, and will continue to be my favorite boy group, but I don’t know how long I can take tracks like this. Throughout my first listen, I was at the edge of my feet, waiting, waiting, waiting for it to wow me. It didn’t, it just ended. And honestly I felt cheated on. I waited 8 months, for Seventeen to deliver their worst single yet! I am angry, sad, and wish that they just didn’t come back at all or were given a month to polish their songwriting. Look, I never thought I’d say this, I defended them last year because they put out Hit, Home, and Getting Closer, but I can’t anymore. I have to say that Seventeen shouldn’t be allowed to produce their own music. For the past few months they’ve shown time and time again that they do not know how to write a good chorus anymore and everything they’ve released feels rushed.
    -Thought at least we got Fearless which is an amazing song with one of their best choreos, Left and Right on the other hand, its choreo and music video are extremely disappointing. But Vernons part in the second verse is so nice to listen to.

    My disappointment is immeasurable and my day is ruined.
    My source of joy is gone and today will go down as one of the worst days in 2020

    Liked by 6 people

        • Boy With Luv had a great “old style” chorus, and it worked quite well on TikTok, fancams and social formats.
          Let’s say choruses are too long and complicated to create, and sales prove that a generic trap drop in the middle of nowhere is more than enough to hit the charts.

          Liked by 5 people

    • I am hearing the sound of existential angst coming from you. Sung choruses, actual sung choruses. How about actual harmony too, would that be too much to ask? Or = oooh, listen to this = sung choruses with actual harmony.

      Once upon a time, the chorus was the only part we used to know, and perhaps the first line, half of the bridge, and two other lines both double entrendres that mom somehow didn’t hear.

      Ah, but then, pop music has always let us down. Really, has ______ ever released anything good since _______? The fill in the blanks applies to every band ever. Two things are for certain: 1) The Beatles are not getting back together. 2) One Direction is going to get back together in about 5 to 10 years’ time when they all need the money.

      While we wait, may I suggest you satisfy your choral soul with some kpopera from a bunch of hotties who can sing sung choruses in four part harmony. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jibt1y5XYk8

      Liked by 1 person

    • You know what? It’s grown on me, not the single, of course. The album! I liked it, and I think the songs got an average rating of 8.25 from me. Good job Seventeen, but please, delete Tik Tok.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I was worried when I thought to myself that this song’s not my cup of tea as twitter gave it a lot of good reception, but I’m glad that you’re on the same page!

    Honestly the song is really weak for me to be a summer song. I like the build up from the verse towards the pre chorus, and I was expecting it to be like a bombastic chorus with a strong hook but I was met with… meh…

    Anyway, any thoughts for a buried treasure?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Nick you asked for it, seriously. HOW IS IT A SUMMER SONG WITH OUT TRAP HIGH HATS THAT SOUNDS LIKE CRICKETS? IT’S THE MUST SUMMER SOUND EVER!

    Reference:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh goodness… I am never going to be so positive and hopeful from now on.
    First 15 seconds in the song and I was like calm down it can still become good going on..but no it just spiraled down and down…and then came that ”left and right rip it rip it” and I honestly was flabbergasted. I am going to pretend that the pre-release was the title track thank you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. .

    As long as I don’t overthink it, its okay enough for now. The instrumental sounds under-produced, like they left the demo version and didn’t bother to punch it up.

    Apparently they are trying to start a trend because one of the autocomplete options now hours later from my initial listen is “Right and Left Challenge”. OK, sure, whatev. I’m an ELF which is to say we have grown out of these manufacture a fake trend things. We Elves can barely bother to stream to get “No Other” to 100 million in honor of its 10 year anniversary.

    I don’t care for “Fearless”; it sounds very generic.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I am gonna mask of a little hold on:
        The thing is these challenges adds NOTHING to the sales, “Candy” had insane sales because he has bullcrap cult following from China for the “working hard music love” image he maintained, but seriously if he worked this hard and sounded like justin bieber then why make music at all. Seriously right now he is the most worthless thing ever associated with SMP as a performance style

        Like

        • Everyone is entitled to their opinion, just that yours grossly overlooked the vocal skills and performance effort that were put into the work. And you sounded as if he murdered your family for you to say what you said. Biased and angry.

          Like

  7. I…. sadly agree. I’m so disappointed at this lackluster chorus (I hate that you mentioned Tiktok as this seems to be their primary motivation for both the song and choreo). The verses and pre-chorus were so promising!

    They’ll always remain as my ultimate bias group, so I’ll have to comfort myself with listening to “Together” instead. Seriously, why hasn’t anyone approached SEVENTEEN for an anime OST yet??

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yikes. I almost always have a polar opposite view of the song quality with most of the opinions posted here. So now I have it figured it out. If I love a song and find myself enjoying it with every listen, I immediately know it’ll be given a poor rating here. Lol. But, that’s the thing with music taste. Everyone is bound to react differently, according to different moods, bias and simply preference.
    Apparently this song was the 21st song the producers wrote for title track. I, for one give them a huge credit for going for a very different direction. This song is unmistakably Seventeen. Never have I seen them this confident in their work and it manifests itself into the mini-album. My summer has been made with these 6 amazing songs, KidUlt being a definite favourite.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow — the despair here feels a little extreme. The song is fine. The chorus is basically a funkier version of Snap Shoot. It certainly doesn’t hold up to the rest of their discography, but it’s not nearly as trendy/meme obsessed as the reactions I’m seeing. Nick, there is a chasm between the awfulness of Sunday Best and Left & Right. I’d even say stuff like Illusion by ATEEZ and Shine by Pentagon are greater offenders of the kind of tropes you’re talking about. I’m not going to have any fondness for this comeback in a years time, but it’s not a crushing letdown either.

    Also, if people think Left & Right is lame, I shudder to think what the reaction to Blackpink’s next comeback will be. If the teasers are any indication, it could be their worst yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Re Blackpink: 1) it’s a pre-release so I’m gonna reserve judgment, tbh even the teasers themselves look like crap (the girls look good but good god the background and text are an eyesore) 2) that said, I feel Teddy has been running out of ideas for two years now so :/

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I would say that even if TikTok likes really basic, repetitive choruses, they still generally like them as extremely catchy as possible. This isn’t much of an earworm for me so I’m not sure it succeeds at what it sets out do, either.

    Nice to have freshteen back if nothing else….

    Like

  11. Aww, I heard this and thought you’d like it more because it wasn’t as moody as the musical angst/puberty a lot of boy groups are going through LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Listening to this made me realize that the chorus is truly the main course of the meal. The verses reminded me of debut SVT. The pre-chorus? Even better! But there’s just no way around it, I can’t compromise myself to listen just for the verses and pre-chorus alone. This kind of fun SVT was something I was hoping for, since Clap. I’m quite sad, really. Oh well, moving on… Something I’ve kept doing a lot of this year…

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I give it a 5, if it wasn’t because of that lame attempt of a catchy chorus in hopes of a viral song or summer hit, the song would be okay. I really dislike the fact that they ditched the funky magic because they didn’t want to boxed in to just recycle most of their previous songs and mix match them into a new one. This is a 100% Pledis comeback, though, maybe that’s why is nothing new.

    Personally, the b-sides are better. My buried treasure is “I wish”.

    Like

  14. Seventeen’s dip into darkness was well deserved, but I’m happy to see them returning to fun and humor with this, even if the chorus is too meme-y to have staying power.

    You know what I want? A spiritual follow up to the 13 Month Dance (Lilili Yabbay). Give me some otherworldly sounds and some sick electric guitar.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Things I like:
    – the verses
    – the pre-chorus
    – Seventeen

    Things I don’t like:
    – the chorus
    – the choreography

    Sadly, it’s not the summer track I wanted it to be

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Wow, music is subjective. I’m looking at all the ‘negative comments’ and- lmao oh well why not I take part in the discussion with a different opinion.

    I actually don’t mind Left & Right, though I guess I admit that I felt a little underwhelmed with the chorus part. But being cooped up indoors, the song feels like the right song for me to expel energy for since it’s not too loud and not too intense, and yet it is fun (Stray Kid’s God’s Menu, I love it but then again listening to it feels ‘tiring’ because the energy from that song feels massive). I think that it could be better, but I thought that the repetitiveness of Left and Right is less annoying (and kinda fitting for the song’s fun mood lol) than Fallin Flower’s “Fallin’ Fallin Fallin” (where I personally thought that the song having this sentimental-like feel should have more lines for a meaningful chorus. Gosh if there was one song I wish they could redo it’d be Fallin Flower. I felt cheated by how it wonderfully opened up only to reveal it’s dull-like chorus point) . The MV is amazing to me, it probably was an element that helped made the song more interesting to some peeps who received this title track warmly (but yeah of course I get it, the point about music is to make something for people to hear and not see but then again there have been a number of songs I’ve considered meh that ends up being ‘worthy’ to my ears only because I discovered some kind of video I like that greatly complements with the song).

    Also for unknown reasons, Left & Right is giving me High School Musical goosebumps, so that may also factor in as to why I like it too (I had an HSM phase). The song is cheesy, repetitive, danceable(?), and a song that encourages people to bop it silly in a friendly group of pals.

    Then again these are the opinions belonging to someone who agrees with how Nick feels for Golden Child’s One but still doesn’t get what Nick sees in ONF’s A New World. But what do I know, the only musical qualification I have is that I have a Grade 1 certificate in piano XD

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just want to say I’ve had the same experience when it comes to MVs elevating a song for me. There are several K-pop songs on my playlist that wouldn’t be there if not for an amazing music video, performance, or dance practice.

      Left & Right’s MV is super charming. The chorus, which is the only weak part of the song for me, is enjoyable if I’m watching them dance to it. But if I’m listening and not looking at a screen? I’m not sure.

      Like

      • Same experience here! Watching the MV and reading the lyrics, I actually really loved it. Then I downloaded the song to listen to and.. got annoyed with the chorus, really quick. Without the fun visuals there’s nothing to distract you from how extremely repetitive and underwhelming that chorus is.

        Like

  17. Yes this song is a little obnoxious, yes I love it. It reminds me of Hey Ya! It’s the Hey Ya of kpop. And like Hey Ya, if you put it on at a house party at 2 AM, I bet everybody would shake it like a polaroid picture.

    Like

  18. Nick, I really liked your song review and how you said “the song is spends all energy to tell me to have a good time, instead of the audience who listen to it actually feeling energetic and having a good time.” I admit that the MV production is so much better than that when they are under pledis, but the song qualities has significantly different to highlight, thanks, and flower.
    To those who says that everyone have different tastes, yes, however, I think the carats who think critically of the songs and dances of their idols are true carats and hope for the better, we are not just machines who supports, pays attention and listens, we have emotions.
    The fearless choreography is also really disappointing for me, they didn’t grab the gist of the song, and there is so much details for the dance to match better with the song. for example, “because I am fearless” part is the icon of the song, but I don’t see the movements that signify this climax.

    Please comment down below to tell me what you think

    Like

  19. People are really complaining about “repetitive choruses” like Mansae wasn’t literally the same word again and again, Akinda didn’t have a bunch of repetitive phrasing, rap breaks haven’t always been a thing in kpop, and people weren’t doing dances like this in the 1990’s (which this specifically payed tribute to.)

    You trying to elevate the fact that your biases can do basic unison does not change the fact that y’all don’t know how to have fun. The chorus is really elevated by that little vocal showboating in the middle. Mwah.

    Like

    • At least Mansae was tightly tethered to a compelling instrumental and coupled with soaring high notes. This? nonono… I can’t believe you would compare a mere tiktok meme song to the rousing Mansae. That’s like comparing a hunk of dirt to a piece of chocolate.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Repetition is a key part of pop songs, but sometimes it works well and sometimes it doesn’t. This depends on both the song and subjective opinion (some people have very low tolerance for repetition). For this one, a LOT of people seem to agree that it’s not great.

      Like

  20. Every group nowadays is doing awfully forced Tiktok “”challenges”, and it’s starting to affect music production, pisses me off.
    Also this is in no way better than Fear, it is in fact worse. I just want Hit back…

    Like

  21. This is late, and maybe I’m just crazy, but I love this song! Leagues better than Fear for sure, and it beats out a lot of my lower-ranked Seventeen songs (sorry, Thanks! I love your dance). I understand what you mean when you say it’s tropey and built for a sort of meme notoriety, but I do disagree. It doesn’t sound that forced or fifteen-minutes-of-fame-ish to me. It’s just a fun song, maybe even one of Seventeen’s better ones — and that’s a hugely high bar! I think there’s nothing wrong with a little meaningless fun, and they for sure sell it with their delivery. Reminds me of elementary school.

    Like

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