SEVENTEEN on New Album ; [Semicolon]’s Message and Quarantine

Like many other musicians, COVID-19 drastically changed the year of 13-member K-pop group SEVENTEEN – but the boys used the brief break from the tour and so on. to create music that truly reflects that era. Their new album ; [Semicolon] released earlier this week, with six titles exploring the relationships and feelings that endure even when the world is on hiatus.

SEVENTEEN has been around for five years, topping the Billboard World Albums charts on several occasions during their performance. (The group is divided into three subunits, for context, and on some tracks different subunits occur while on others the whole group does. The units are: the vocal unit, made up of DK, Woozi, Joshua, Jeonghan, and Seungkwan; the performance unit consisting of The 8, Jun, Dino, and Hoshi; and the hip-hop unit consisting of S.Coups, Vernon, Mingyu, and Wonwoo.)

In their first year as a band, they reached # 1 on the charts with their October 2015 EP Boys Be—their first of several times accomplishing this feat; they have since been at least in the top 15 if not higher on the Billboard World Albums chart with subsequent releases (three albums and seven EPs). Their latest EP Heng: garæ sold over a million copies in the week of release, making them the only K-pop group other than BTS to accomplish this feat.

; [Semicolon] is the boys’ new special album, meant to continue this illustrious story while spreading some joy and solace to their millions of fans (called CARATs) everywhere. The album has a poignant message for all young people enduring the coronavirus pandemic, as Dino explains to ELLE.com:

“Guys, there is no need to rush. It’s never too late to take a break and keep moving forward. ; [Semicolon] is an album that spreads a message of support for young people who run endlessly.

Like punctuation itself, ; [Semicolon] represents a brief pause and a moment to breathe, exchanging laughter with each other even in the midst of the trials of the generation. We hope to give our peers who live today warmth, comfort and support.

Here the boys talk about the songs they are most proud of ; [Semicolon], how they have spent this year and what is the next step for them.

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You are experimenting with a variety of musical genres in; [Semicolon]. What was your favorite performance and why?

      MINGYU: “HEY MY POTE.” It’s a song that I enjoyed doing with members born in 1997. It’s really fun and every time I listen to it I feel like the song looks great on me.

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      Many members participated in the production of this album. For those of you who have done it, which track are you most proud of and why? How has your songwriting or songwriting evolved over the years?

          WOOZI: “All My Love” is the song I’m most proud of. We felt a kind of emptiness after creating “HOME; RUN” and even after being selected as the first single. We all created another band-wide song knowing instinctively it will have a vibe like no other. This is how we created “All My Love”. I feel proud and more attached to this song because it wouldn’t have been created if we hadn’t tried it. As to the writing ability of the members, I don’t think I can say anything about it. All of the great ideas shared by each member provided great tips for creating basic group songs.

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          VERNON: “HOME RUN.” I try to keep my senses sharp and firmly entrust the writing process to her.

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          You are part of this great moment where K-pop groups are really taking off in the United States and abroad. How does it feel to represent the genre on a global scale?

              S. COUPS: I think the greatest strength of SEVENTEEN is the combined energy of the thirteen members. I firmly believe that we are constantly telling our personal stories through music and performance, further strengthening the identity of SEVENTEEN. Frank, authentic storytelling is one of the essentials of K-pop, I think, and we’re no different from that.

              According to SEVENTEEN, they say we are doing a great job using the benefits of having many members on our team. We believe that we are amplifying the synergy created by thirteen members with unlimited capacities.

              What is your dream goal to accomplish on the American music scene?

                  S. COUPS: We would like to become a team with which many artists would like to collaborate. We hope to achieve everything that lies ahead, if possible.

                  ; It’s about taking a break, which this year has forced many people, young and old, to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. What did this year and your 40s teach you about yourself?

                      HOSHI: We had time to “recharge our batteries” and improve ourselves.

                      You’ve all been together in a group for five years after you left your teens and really entered your twenties. How have your friendships with each other changed you? What lessons have you learned from friendship in your twenties because of the close bonds you have forged with each other?

                          SEUNGKWAN: We got more professional when preparing the album and the performance because the members know how important SEVENTEEN is to each other and I’m proud of it. I would say it shows the evolution of our friendship in our twenties.

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                          How has being a part of Seventeen and getting to know and interact with your fan base has CARAT changed the way you see yourself over the years?

                              JEONGHAN: I see myself as just “JEONGHAN from SEVENTEEN”, rather than just Jeonghan.

                              Over the past five years, you have grown and matured in the public eye. How do you think your personal style has changed since you left your teenage years? And what can fans expect from SEVENTEEN fashion around this time?

                                  DK: We tried to bring out some retro vibes through our outfits this time in line with the retro swing genre. The variety of visuals, performances and maturity is something the CARATs can examine in this album.

                                  THE 8TH: I’m trying to find my own style of fashion and find out who I am and what I’m doing right now. The CARATs will find funky and old-school fashion in this album.

                                  COVID has drastically changed the lives of everyone, especially musicians who have largely suspended their touring plans. What does a quarantine day in the life look like for you? What did you do to take care of yourself when the days got tough?

                                      JOSHUA: We met CARAT online and we are preparing for our return, to take care of ourselves. Other than that, I work from home.

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                                      And finally: what can you tease about the sequel for Seventeen? Are there any musical themes you would like to explore in your future music?

                                          WONWOO: Rather than deciding in advance what to do for the next album, we tend to focus on the “moment” we’re facing and the feelings that go with it. We try to explore as many genres as possible.

                                          ; [Semicolon] is available to stream now on Youtube and Spotify.

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