Review

Song Review: Seventeen – Rock With You

Seventeen - Rock With You
In a disappointing month for K-pop comebacks, I’ve cast poor Seventeen as my Great Shining Hope of October. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one song, but Rock With You seemed to promise many of the elements I’ve been craving: big, bounding energy + a hooky structure (with rock guitar thrown in for good measure). And, the track is all of those things – to a degree.

Since pairing with HYBE, it seems like the musical ambition of Seventeen’s title tracks has flattened. It’s hard to know if there’s a correlation, or if the guys are simply taking victory laps and making fun, upbeat songs that bring them joy. Either way, this pattern feels both liberating and frustrating. There’s nothing wrong with a simple, catchy pop song. I’ll never get enough of them! But, we all know Seventeen can be so much more than that.

Refreshingly, Rock With You never makes room for unnecessary detours. It’s a straight-ahead pop track, wasting no time unveiling its first verse before rocketing toward a satisfying pre-chorus. Seventeen give a restrained performance, replacing power with efficiency. This gives the song a sleek tautness, yet also makes it feel a little slight. I can’t argue with the punchy chorus or sentimental melodies, but they’re often more pleasantly toe-tapping than galvanizing. For a song called “Rock With You,” the guys could’ve rocked harder. Turn up the guitars. Let that bass rip. Drop the polish and careen through the track like a rockstar. This is the kind of song that should be roughed up around the edges.

With that said, Rock With You is still incredibly solid. It may even be my favorite comeback in a lousy month. Seventeen always sell their sentiment, and S.Coups’ subdued bridge is a wonderful standout. But 2021’s absolute best comebacks have pushed beyond “solid” and delivered daring surprises. Rock With You is sanitized fun, produced and performed with utter confidence. With those expectations, it’ll have no problem finding a steady spot on my playlist.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

62 thoughts on “Song Review: Seventeen – Rock With You

  1. It a perfect except I expected the guitars to absolutely rip as seungkwan and dk do there thing, but that didn’t happen. Solid track from my favorite group, but like Nick said, I know they can do more and that’s what’s holding it back from being perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely agree that the guitars should have been turned up, but otherwise…I can’t complain! It’s upbeat, straightforward fun and the chorus is stuck in my head from one listen, and from what I remember from the highlight medley, the album sounded pretty good to me too, so I can’t wait to listen to that!

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  3. After this, Ready To Love and Hitorijanai, I think it is pretty safe to say that this has been Seventeen’s strongest year title-track wise since 2017. All the above mentioned songs are 9’s including this one. Definitely instantly catchy, and rock guitar is always a yes. But I kept waiting for New Gravity-esque guitar solo or something that save roughen up the polish.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a really good comeback! The chorus snippet had been stuck in my head since the highlight medley and the song definitely served. I agree, it could have been a little more hard hitting, but it’s very catchy and almost perfect without that too!

    The album was great as well, and is above June’s Your Choice for sure. In fact, since the HYBE/BH acquisition, Attacca is only second to last year’s delightful Semicolon.
    I’m torn between “I can’t run away” and “2 minus 1” for buried treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I enjoyed 2 Minus 1 much more than I expected from the teaser medley! On one hand, it’s a mashup of all of HYBE’s current trends (a pop-rock song in English with a mathematical title). On the other hand, it’s VERY fun and catchy.

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  5. hi, this is the first time im leaving comment here and sorry english isnt my native language
    my problem as a carat these past 2 years is that i keep wishing that they would someday release songs with some sharp/hard hitting choruses but they always come up with flat ones, im just so frustated, at this point i think they really enjoy releasing those type of stuff so i’ve given up.
    as for rock with you, though it didnt meet my long-awaited expectation bc the transition from prechorus to chorus(?) sounded super flat (i just thought they prob wanted something smoooth but still) at least for me this is better than their previous releases, this song is easily their strongest title track for the past few years
    and idk prob i was just super caught up with them finally releasing a song with rock genre, i was kinda expecting the song to be more rock-ish but it still sounds too pop/to mellow(?) for my liking, was expecting some screaming or rough voices too🙃 guess i’ve been listening to too many rock songs from other groups (still cant move on from attention, please!) so i had some expectations and was hoping they would at least come up with something more for a rock genre title track:(

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  6. I’m glad I’m not the only one who wished it leaned more in a rock direction (I’ve also been listening to a lot of Kbands lately). At first I thought there was something wrong in the mixing! I’ve seen others compare this to Stay by The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber, which I think is true but not a bad thing. It’s certainly catchy and miles better than RTL. I love how consistent SVT is in delivering well-crafted pop songs.

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    • When I first read about this being compared to “Stay” I thought it was such an odd comparison, but I think I can hear it in the melody.

      It also makes me realize why I LOVE Stay and only “really like” Rock With You. it comes down to a relatively small twist in the melody. In the case of Rock With You, I can predict exactly where it’s going at every turn. When I expected it to zig, it zigged. Stay does a lot of zigging too, but then the melody in the chorus tilts upward for an unexpected zag that I didn’t see coming. This switch-up in expectations makes my brain keep wanting to revisit it. There’s something so satisfying about a little twist, and I think that’s an aspect many of my favorite songs share.

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  7. There are sometimes when my head and heart don’t match. This is one of those times. I want to say that I small ell love it. However after the second listen, I clicked off this page and instead went to listen Kingdom “Black Something” again to see how it sounds to me on the second day, and the ELast one again too. While humming Eunhyuk’s song.

    So I think that means its really a big eLL Like this song here. I think it plays it too safe and middle of the road, though does that very well as expected from Seventeen.

    Also, the title, the hook. This Rock With You isn’t strong enough to knock “I wanna rock with you, all night, dance until the sunlight” out of my brain.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I had a somewhat similar reaction – I clicked off my second listen to give “Black Cat Nero” and “Wonderland” re-listens, since I just read your comment about the latter and had the good headphones handy. Love love love both of those.

      I think I big L like “Rock With You”, but I wasn’t really expecting anything more than that – their music only grabs me occasionally. I ran across “Hit” recently in a dance cover video and it definitely did some grabbing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Aghhh I wrote a long comment about vocal flattening in production that got deleted before posting so let me just say: song is pretty good. Wish I could hear the singing more clearly. Song should be a bit longer.

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    • I actually had the same thought about the mixing of their vocals – I felt like their vocals were kinda muffled this album, especially in Rock with You, Imperfect Love and To You’s choruses. I was wondering if you know whether it’s because of vocal editing/filtering, or is it just that the instrumental overpowers their vocals?

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      • Unfortunately I don’t know anything about music production, so I don’t know “technically” what happened. It just sounds kind of off, like the flaws and vocal color were sanded off leaving us with something “smooth” but kind of distant or drained of character. I’m not sure if it’s a HYBE thing or a Seventeen thing or a general trend thing. It doesn’t seem to be the whole song – Seungkwan’s parts, for example, sound pretty normal – but in the verses and the later parts of the chorus it’s noticeable. I think other Seventeen songs have had this too (I think this is part of why I didn’t like Anyone as much as everyone else seemed to) but I’m not sure how far back it goes as I’m not the most well-versed in their discography.

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      • yeah I agree! I had chalked the flatness of the song down to the melodic bits, but I wonder if it’s due to the production instead 🤔 it’s a shame though, since Rock With You would be so much better if it’s allowed to be dynamic in the ways that seventeen excels at.

        Now that I think about it, ready to love was also pretty subdued, despite how much I liked the chorus? Hopefully this isn’t indicative of Seventeen’s new musical direction (especially under Hybe 😭😣)

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    • I didn’t hear it until you mentioned it, but yeah, listening again they sound compressed or flattened. I don’t know the technical terms other then from “doing my own research”, but from my extensive youtube expert watching, it sounds like the high and low pass filters were set too tightly, sure, yeah, yes. (If you know better, more technically, please share.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, K-pop doesn’t really believe in “blend” anymore. So much of the vocal layering just sounds like one voice multi-tracked, rather than a rich tapestry of various tones that come together to create a new sound.

        I think of ABBA and their famous “fifth voice.” The group has four vocalists, but has five distinct voices because when Agnetha and Frida come together their tones create something totally different.

        Johnny’s j-pop groups are like this, too. Many groups have members whose vocals aren’t all that impressive on their own, but when they come together the producers are able to create this blend that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

        And of course, I think of second gen groups like Infinite and SHINee. When their vocals merge together, they BLEND into something magical.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Also back in the day, it was common practice to have a singer double or quadruple themselves, basically sing the chorus several times to thicken up the sound with the same sound.

          For kpop, there is also the chorus as a chorus, where many people sing the chorus melody. Super Junior have done this a lot, almost all their lead songs, which has benefited them during the decade of one or more people rotated out in military service. Multiples of them all singing, with one person mixed slightly to the front.
          “No Other” is one good example of their layered vocals with all their different timbres, in part in unison and in part in harmony.
          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnMoDDbEccE

          Liked by 1 person

          • I’d just like to say that exchanges like this are a big part of why I like this blog so much – regardless of my own listening habits, I love learning more about why music sounds the way it does.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Here is a fine old classic example of singer singing along with himself. If you can’t hear it in the early verses, it is clearer right after the break starting at about 3:04. Actually even the guitarist guitars along with himself in several places, and in others the guitarist doubles the singer and the singer doubles the guitar.

              Boston “More than a Feeling”
              ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufQUxoidxkM

              Also, if you have half an hour to spend, this breakdown commentary is very worthwhile. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynFNt4tgBJ0

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              • Haha, so my mother has told me that I was conceived to that Boston album. She was an acoustic guitarist before my sister and I came along and ruined her career so we listened to a lot of that kind of thing growing up. My parents were delighted when I “discovered” Fleetwood Mac when they did their big reunion in the 90s. “Guitarist guitaring along” made me think of another couple of artists I’ve been following for years who use live looping pedals with stringed instruments: Gaelynn Lea (fiddle) and Zoe Keating (cello). I’ve had tickets to see Keating for a couple of years now – fingers crossed the tour should finally be happening early next year. Gaelynn and I played in orchestra together in college and then she won NPR’s tiny desk contest a few years ago and the entire concert is beautiful – my favorite is “Bird Song” starting at 11:20 ish.

                Liked by 1 person

        • Oh is the “multi-tracking of one voice” what’s happening in the chorus of To You? The harmonies above the main melody line sound kind of synthetic, like its just the same vocal track but pitched higher and lower. It definitely doesn’t seem like multiple members doing the harmonies.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q9Ubv3othc (0.48 seconds onwards)

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  9. I couldn’t agree with you more – the song should’ve rocked harder, but besides that it’s their best singles in years in my books. It captivated me from the very beginning and kept me interested till the end. Overall, a good song that could’ve been great with some small alterations here and there.

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  10. Clap by Seventeen remains my fav song from them. Very disappointed by this title track, they used to have more interesting TT. Idk what happened ? Sorry to all carats , I like the bsides.

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  11. I was really anticipating this. Listed among the cowriters is Jordan Witzigreuter, who’s band The Ready Set, I somewhat followed in the mid 2000s (a lot of people from those pop punk/emo/indie bands are writers now, like Daniel Nigro from As Tall as Lions who’s working with Olivia Rodrigo)

    But it certainly feels dull in a uniquely HYBE way. That said I felt like TXT’s recent pop punk excursions, which this song is comparable too, are much more effective because they push TXT vocally to show us some new colors. However we’ve seen much more impressive vocal colors and performances from Seventeen.

    Seventeen is hard to beat on almost every level, they are only ever let down by their material. This song is a huge missed opportunity and I definitely prefer their last comeback to this. Both “Ready to Love” and especially “Anyone” rocked way harder than “Rock with You”

    I hope Seventeen comes back with an elegant emotional concept a la “Dont wanna cry” or “Home” with rock edge.

    Anyway this song has very little edge. I’d go so far as to say I love Seventeen but I’m not that interested in this comeback!

    Liked by 3 people

      • right? i don’t know what people here are on. rock with you is much more dynamic of a song than ready to love and while the vocals are still kinda muffled (and i definitely blame hybe for this), at least the overall sound mixing isn’t as awful as ready to love’s was. i do prefer the your choice b-sides (for now) but the title track is much better this time.

        also claiming that txt, whose voices are completely indistinguishable from one another, are delivering better vocal performances than seventeen? in what universe? sometimes people here are just straight up lying.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nice! I’m not really a member of any fandoms, I just enjoy listening to different kinds of music and sharing my thoughts alongside on this blog!
          I’m relieved I escaped some toxic group think and enjoyed “Ready for Love” to myself ;P

          I stand by what I said. I think this style of the song is better fitting for TXT and I disagree that you can’t tell TXT vocals apart. I think if Seventeen is restrained from their potential then it’s a lesser version of Seventeen. Any amazing group also has the potential to be underwhelming.
          There are better vocalists in Seventeen than TXT, but for me, TXT is better at approaching this style.

          Happy listening!

          Liked by 3 people

          • Lol. If criticism towards a group’s song is ‘toxic’, then I don’t know what the other stuff would be? Probably poisonous.

            Anyways, I for one think this was a very good approach by Seventeen. If two other hybe groups are starting to release the same kind of music, Seventeen shouldn’t become the third.

            Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a pretty uncharitable interpretation of the original comment. And I tend to agree with the sentiment that TXT’s last two titles are better examples of rock-influenced k-pop than “Rock With You”, because it’s not all about technical vocal quality. I like my rock influenced tracks to have a bit of an edge to it, and while this is a perfectly good song performed well by a talented group, I agree with the comment earlier that it feels like the edges have been sanded off.

          Liked by 2 people

          • acting like txt have any edge to them is the funniest thing i’ve read yet. their past couple title tracks were just bigbang rejects.

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            • TXT and Seventeen are each great in their own way. It sounds like you both disagree on this particular song. It happens! Disagreeing is okay and doesn’t automatically mean either party is wrong. As long as you can disagree respectfully!

              Liked by 2 people

              • I just checked and you gave “IKILY” the same 8.75 score, just with the 8 on production instead of hooks, which seems about right in both cases. I’ve got a much less sophisticated ear for production than you, so I think I tend to put more weight on hooks.

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            • I’m glad you got a laugh, but seriously, if someone is looking for edge in their music, they’re not listening to k-pop idol music. It’s like arguing over whether a spoon is sharper than a butter knife, which is why I qualified my initial statement with “a bit”.

              Liked by 2 people

          • THIS IS ME. The recent surge in pop-rock sounding kpop songs has been a bit of a conflicting time for me since while I do enjoy rock overall and it has worked wonders in the past even in kpop (Big Bang, Winner, Dreamcatcher, etc) but these most recent songs from TXT (0X1 was pretty good but I didn’t like Loser) and SVT feel a bit…sterile. I remember Myma referecing the boy band songs from the early-2010s and that’s what these remind me of mainly. Feels like stuff 5 Seconds of Summer would put. No disrespect to them they have a few good tracks, but I wish that these pop-rock songs would inject some more edge and feeling into the songs.

            Liked by 1 person

  12. I suspect HYBE CEO might be making all of their acts to do the popular pop stuff… like NU’EST last comeback had their general popular song type that they’re known for. Not really rocking the boat. I know Seventeen can do better, but they’ve got a lot more constraints w HYBE.

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  13. this is one of those songs where i’m like yes i could think about this a little harder and find the problems with it but i am choosing to instead to not really think about it and just vibe and so i am absolutely loving it, very catchy very fun very danceable

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  14. It’s catchy and pleasant but doesn’t do a lot for me. With the title alone, I expect the guitars would go hard as Woodz’s song Chaser. Rock with you should feel a bit more rock yet this one feels watered down. Agree that this song feels too smooth and polished and needs a little more roughness around its edges. I think if i were to score it would be a quarter lower

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The song is tight but too polished for the “rock” in the title. Some pop offs here and there would have totally elevated the song. But it sounds seventeen nonetheless.Also, it sounds so familiar, I think it’s Stay by Kid Laroi but don’t mind me, I am one of those who listens to a song and feels like I’ve already heard it all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Yes! Definitely agree!! One of the best cb of the month and this is also my fave Seventeen song of this year so far! ❤️ Th instrumental is EVERYTHING and their performance is really fire too!! 🔥🔥

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  17. The title raised my expectations just a little bit, and apparently that was just a little bit too high. I was expecting to rock out here, but the song left me bored – I don’t even enjoy it very much.

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