Recently, Seventeen have established an unsteady alliance with vocal processing. It’s hard to determine whether this is HYBE’s influence or simply a progression in the members’ musical taste, but it has markedly changed the group’s sound. Judging by their past few efforts, it’s almost hard to believe this is the same group that gave us Adore U, Mansae and Very Nice.
Preceding the release of their newest repackaged album, Seventeen’s unit leaders have joined forces on Cheers. We’ve got the vocal, rap and performance teams represented in equal measure, but this might as well have been a hip-hop unit release. Those hoping for dynamic choreography or clear vocals will have to look elsewhere. Cheers is Seventeen in full swag-mode, posing and posturing even more than they did during May’s divisive Hot.
There’s a great hype track buried in here somewhere. The beat goes hard during the chorus, and I love the use of keys to give it an extra dimension. Unfortunately, this comes on top of a strangled flute loop that feels dated and deeply unimaginative. Seventeen have groomed us to expect more creativity, but songs like Cheers and Hot are more trend-following than expected. And, if you’re not a fan of heavy vocal effects, you should just avoid this song altogether. Seventeen’s performance is smothered in processing, to the point they barely sound human. It’s clearly an aesthetic choice, but it buries the guys’ natural personality and makes Cheers feel more like a parody than the hard-hitting club track it wants to be. I can respect the song for what it’s trying to do, but this is not the direction I’d hope to see Seventeen’s music take.
*For reference, here’s another idol hip-hop transformation that is much more successful, in my opinion.