Music Review: SEVENTEEN's '17 Is Right Here' is a study of their impressive evolution

This cover image released by PLEDIS Entertainment shows “17 Is Right Here” by Seventeen. (PLEDIS Entertainment via AP)

K-pop boy band SEVENTEEN ventures into confident adulthood with their latest compilation album, “17 Is Right Here.”

After a fantastic 2023, where they finished as one of the biggest selling artists of the year with their EP “FML,” the 13-members did not rest on their laurels. Instead, they decided to throw a Christmas in April for their fans, as the new record is a full-on 32-track musical gift, comprising all of their Korean language singles from debut until 2024 (on CD 2), alongside Korean versions of all their Japanese language singles, in addition to four new songs (on CD 1). It’s a study in their evolution from a slightly noisy, callow sound to a well-thought-out chiller vibe.

Even by K-pop’s prolific standards — where bands release EPs and singles on a conveyor belt in order to stay relevant and keep their very loyal fans happy — this is an admirable feat. Six months after their latest EP “Seventeen Heaven,” the boys hit the recording studio with gusto, creating a charming offering with less agitative notes and more catchy hooks.

The single “MAESTRO” unites all their talents under a single banner — a playful R&B tune intertwined with an engaging EDM hook — a perfect encapsulation of the band’s past sound with present inclinations. “LALALI,” performed by SEVENTEEN's hip-hop team, is drummy modern electro punctuated by a Slavic turbo-folk motif. “Spell" welcomes an enchanting smooth R&B beat paired with a sexy 808. The fourth new single, “Cheers to Youth,” showcases the groups' vocal team, an easy listening anthem underscored by a celebratory bass and trumpets.

Do the reworks of the Japanese songs work? Yes, they do. “CALL CALL CALL!” is all dynamic electric guitar with indulgent bass, “Fallin’ Flower” features a good electro track with a Korean string instrument piping up in the background and “Power of Love” is chirpy ’80s synth made to work like a soundtrack for a modern rom com.

As for CD 2, those twenty songs — plus an instrumental version of “Adore U" — is mostly for hardcore fans, who live, breathe and love those singles scattered across nearly a decade. As the track list is organized, one can hear their evolution, from some generic singles of the yesteryear to the recent self-assured “HOT,” “_World” and “Super.”

“17 Is Right Here” but it’s not a screechy 17 anymore.