Since they debuted in 2015, SEVENTEEN has made each year more impactful than the last. The 13-member group — consisting of S.COUPS, JEONGHAN, JOSHUA, JUN, HOSHI, WONWOO, WOOZI, DK, MINGYU, THE8, SEUNGKWAN, VERNON, and DINO — made history in December 2021 by becoming the first-ever K-pop act to be named MTV’s Push Artist. Following the success of their Your Choice and Attacca EPs in 2021, they were also the first group overall that year to earn two No. 1s on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart. So, what sets SEVENTEEN apart? Not only do they help write, produce, and choreograph their own music, but they have three amazing sub-units that specialize in different areas (hip-hop, vocals, and performance) in order to provide something unique to fans. As the group teases, CARATs should brace themselves for 2022 because there are plenty of surprises in store.
Last year, they relied on their real-life experiences amid the pandemic to produce a special project called “Power of Love,” the overarching theme used across their 2021 releases. “We started the project after over a year of not being able to breathe the same air with those who love our music or [being able] to gather and spend an extended amount of time with our loved ones,” S.COUPS tells Elite Daily. “There was a greater need for a sense of connection than ever, and the universal topic of love felt like a powerful choice for pulling people together.”
Through 2021’s “Power of Love,” the group frequently explored the various stages of falling in love. The initiative kicked off in May with WONWOO and MINGYU’s first sub-unit track together, “Bittersweet.” Having performed as part of SEVENTEEN’s hip-hop sub-unit, the ballad showcased an entirely new side to the duo.
WONWOO says because every SEVENTEEN member has their own “individual strengths” and “areas of music they would like to explore,” sub-units allow for greater experimentation. “Sometimes by breaking up into units, we delve deeper into the emotions and stories we want to address,” he says, revealing there are more surprises on the way. “No matter how you combine us, we’re confident that we're always able to bring something new to the stage. You’ll surely see even more unique unit combinations as well as solo endeavors from SEVENTEEN in the future.”
“Power of Love” left a big impact on fans, however, SEVENTEEN is especially pumped for what’s coming next. JUN expects 2022 to be a major year: “We will work even harder for better music and performances.” The guys frequently experiment with new sounds, solo projects, and unexpected unit combinations, so JUN's promise certainly aligns with the way SEVENTEEN has historically challenged themselves as a group and as individual artists.
SEVENTEEN is especially skilled at storytelling, and fans loved the blooming romance explored through “Power of Love.” Together, the songs “Bittersweet,” “Ready to Love,” and “Rock With You” were all about the rollercoaster of emotions that come with love — from the first few stages of connecting to wanting to be more than friends. WONWOO says the themes specifically explored in their eighth EP, Your Choice, and its follow-up, Attacca, dove into “more mature, passionate forms of love.”
Impressively, SEVENTEEN carefully considers how to name their projects, and Attacca was no exception. “Attacca is a musical term that denotes an uninterrupted movement from the end of one musical piece to the next. It was a term chosen to represent a passionate form of love, the central theme of the album,” HOSHI says, explaining it also represents the group’s ambition. “It was also a reminder for ourselves to persistently move forward to our next chapter and of the many reasons there are to do so.”
Attacca debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, making it SEVENTEEN’s highest-ranking album on the chart yet. The reason for its success? SEUNGKWAN credits just how much thought went into the smallest of details. “We do our best to infuse our whole heart into our albums, and I think such wholeheartedness is what spoke to both our fans and the larger audience alike,” he says. WOOZI adds that seeing these achievements makes SEVENTEEN work even harder: “A lot of what we achieve should really be credited to CARATs. We will strive to get even better with each album, with a greater sense of responsibility in what we do.”
What’s more, Attacca introduced the group’s first all-English song, “2 MINUS 1,” in an effort to connect with a global audience. “We wanted to share something special for all the CARATs around the world that would bring us closer together,” JOSHUA says. VERNON adds, “We took inspiration from early 2000s pop-punk songs from global artists like Avril Lavigne and All Time Low, so we hope that will be another aspect of the song our fans around the world can connect with.”
While the guys have had a close relationship with CARATs since their debut, the inability to tour amid the pandemic has motivated them to connect with fans more than ever. MINGYU says he misses performing in front of a live audience so much that he watched replays of SEVENTEEN’s concerts during the holidays. He says, “For Christmas, I got myself on-demand videos of our offline concert on Weverse and watched them again. That’s how much I miss the loud chants and cheers from our fans.”
DINO also longs to tour again: “There is a song of ours called ‘Smile Flower.’ I miss being able to sing the song together with our CARATs. Those were the moments I truly felt like we were united by music.”
Thankfully, SEVENTEEN got the opportunity to perform for fans IRL at HYBE’s 2022 Weverse Con, which was held on New Year’s Eve. “An opportunity to spend the last few moments of the passing year with both our members and our fans, it truly meant a lot to me,” JEONGHAN says. SEVENTEEN wasn’t able to attend HYBE’s 2020 New Year’s Eve concert, so they made sure to make a big 2021 comeback by incorporating backup dancers as well as impressive stage effects. DK says, “We wanted to make sure everyone watching was able to close 2021 on a high note.”
Ultimately, making fans proud is a top priority for SEVENTEEN. “I wish 2022 to be a year we shine together from doing the things we want to do and achieving the things we want to achieve,” THE8 says. WONWOO agrees: “I am also excited to see what stories will follow ‘Power of Love.’ I hope it will be the year SEVENTEEN and CARATs come together once again through music.”
SEVENTEEN’s latest EP, Attacca, is now available to stream on all platforms.