Over the past few years, Seventeen have secured their place in K-pop’s A-list, routinely selling over a million copies of their albums. And, they’ve done it while staying true to their self-producing roots. This has allowed them to develop a signature style. No matter whether the group goes light or dark in concept, you can always identify a Seventeen song. Usually, I’d consider this a good thing. But as their popularity has soared, I’ve felt that the group has been stuck in a bit of a creative rut. June’s Left & Right left me cold, and although new single Home;Run revisits their funk-pop roots, its repetitive structure could use a jolt of melodic diversity.
Home;Run pairs the group’s usual charms with a brass-filled instrumental that borrows from big band and swing. This approach is guaranteed to thrill many fans. I’ve personally never been a huge lover of big band elements in pop songs. The last time I can remember K-pop doing it really well was in 2017, when Super Junior unleashed the excellent Black Suit. Home;Run has a similar energy, utilizing jazz piano and stabs of brass to give its verses a propulsive drive. The production bounds forward with confidence. It’s theatrical and fun, and knows exactly what it wants to accomplish.
What’s missing in Home;Run is a sense of melodic variety. From verse to chorus, too much of the track is beholden to the same two-note hook. This makes Home;Run come off as a series of chants rather than a fleshed-out pop song. There are exceptions, of course. The pre-choruses offer a brief switch-up, and the fun rap during the verses delivers some spontaneity. A splashy dance break gives needed breathing room as well, but the melody misses the chance to stretch itself in more satisfying directions. Even so, Home;Run is an enjoyable performance piece.