Song Review: The8 (Seventeen) – Side By Side

The8 - Side By Side
Just days after Seventeen’s Hoshi delivered his solo track Spider, bandmate The8 has dropped his own digital single. I guess my wish for more Seventeen solo projects is coming true! Apart from being familiar with his role in the group, most of my knowledge about The8 stems from Chinese collaboration show Chao Yin Zhan Ji. He participated in 2018, and I appreciated his dedication to his craft and desire to push musical boundaries.

Side By Side (나란히) doesn’t do anything too different from Seventeen’s work, and that’s fine. Despite having its own charms, I could see this fitting alongside tracks like Home;Run and Snap Shoot. All three take classic musical elements and meld them to modern arrangements. Side By Side brings its share of brass and jazzy undertones to its pop frame, and The8 is a great conduit for the song’s diverse soundscape.

With this said, the track is a little meandering for me. The chorus is quite strong, and pulls me back each time it repeats. In between, Side By Side unveils rhythmic shifts, catchy counting refrains and even a sprinkle of jazz piano. Some moments are more successful than others, but I applaud The8’s willingness to stretch the idea of genre. It would have been easier to simply play things straight. The guitar-fueled instrumental has a satisfying, laidback groove that embraces elements of reggae. The song is most successful when it relies on this backbone, though there’s a wonderful point during verse two where the percussion really gets going and injects a jolt of funk. Side By Side has a lot going on within its narrow frame, and that’s both an asset and a potential stumbling block.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8


8 thoughts on “Song Review: The8 (Seventeen) – Side By Side

  1. I’ve had lots of thoughts about this one. The instrumental although subdued vastly outshines the performance, not that the performance is bad but it sounds like it cycles. And that is precisely the thing about those interesting instrumental curiosities – they also cycle. I can’t decide if this is clever or too simplistic songcraft.

    There are cleverer people who can pick this out more precisely, but I am hearing the same three (four?) chords repeating over and over. I think its four, one per measure, four measures to the line. The rest is ornamental flourishes that seem to make the song sound more complex than it is. The guitar strum is therefore more vamp than melody. Same with the piano, little twirls over the same chords.

    That said, I really want to hear this song done live with a small handful of instruments and see what happens. One guitarist, a person on bongos, one piano, one trumpet, and a bare vocal. Give them all solos in turn. Hear what happens next.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is it bad I was more interested in the piano in the beginning? The one that actually isn’t part of the song? It’s just classic jazz, but it sounds good. That said, the second verse and the bridge were really surprising and fun but maybe it’s because they both had piano and I wasn’t into the guitar reggae. Those parts had some really ear-catching production.

    Side by Side’s not bad sounding, but the chorus isn’t that great to me. It’s the childish nature/execution of the lines I suppose that really draws me out of the song. I’d probably give it less than an 8 because aside from the nice bits of the song, I’m not eager to listen to this again because I’m not a fan of that chorus and the reggae vibe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoy this. I still have a lingering connection to Seventeen and it’s satisfying to finally see them get more solo work.

    I have a soft spot for reggae rhythms, so this works for me. The different instrumental splashes, piano, guitar, keep me engaged through the song even though it is not super varied in terms of vocal performance or chord structure (as mentioned by commenters above). My favourite parts are the jazz piano in the beginning and middle, though!

    It’s also cool to hear The8’s voice so much – he doesn’t usually get much to do in Seventeens singles. I think he’s playing to his strengths here and choosing not to push out of his comfort zone vocally. Finally, I love that he chose such an upbeat, soft track – it’s right up my alley.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The8 has released two digital singles before (Chinese) and I think so far, Falling Down is still the fan favourite accompanied with a stellar performance. That being said, I loved the instrumentals of the track more than his vocal delivery but it’s very enjoyable nonetheless. Excited for the next solo release (if there is any)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a lot better than I expected. Getting these nice solo tracks is a great bonus now that I recently got back into Seventeen after losing interest around the release of “Home.”

    Also the whole rating is hilarious to me because of my username!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.