Kpop is Korean pop music, and it usually combines a mixture of singing and rapping.
Seventeen is an all male Kpop group consisting of thirteen members. They have three units inside of the group which are The Performance unit, the Vocal unit, and the Hip-Hop unit. The songs I will be comparing are from the Vocal unit and the Hip-Hop unit. The songs are Don’t Listen from the Vocal unit and Lean On Me from the Hip-Hop unit. Even though they are different songs from different genres, they both have a unique sound and are one despite there being many members. The first song I will be focusing on is Lean On Me from the Hip-Hop unit. The parts will be organized by the person who has the most lines to the person who has the least.
The person with the most lines is Vernon, one of the two Korean American members of Seventeen. His biggest contribution to the song is his careful but confident rapping that brings a nice vibe to the song. His voice comes across as pretty and sounds smooth and soulful, which complements the trumpets to give off sound you would normally only hear in Jazz music. In his parts specifically, you hear a lot more of the English lyrics and the switch between the English and Korean is flawless. He has a very distinctive American accent that when rapping stays across most of his lines. A few prominent parts of his singing and rapping are at the chorus with the lyrics “Naege gidae gidae gidae,” which translates to “Lean on me lean lean lean”(Taeins). A portion of his part is,”Since were enduring it well let’s just be a bit more strong even if you wake up from your dreams if I’m really in your heart then wherever you are, I’ll be there” (Taeins). These lines capture the essence of Lean On Me’s message.
Vernon isn’t the only rapper in the song, the person with the next biggest part is S.Coups, the leader of the Hip Hop unit and all of Seventeen. When his part comes on, his line is immediately following Vernon’s, and S.Coups’s ton matches well with Vernon’s. The tone changes with the last two words “giadedo dwae”(Taeins). And sets the tone for the rest of his part.
When rapping his part there are specific sounds that he rhymes with like ‘ge’ and ‘a’. The most prominent part of his lines are “Who made you cry again? Who was mean to you? Tell me every person. Don’t leave a single one out, even if the story becomes too long. I’ll be on your side for the whole night long. Lean on my arm” (Taeins).
He has this tone in his voice that makes him sound like a grovey, caring dad and you can hear it in the lyrics too.Next up is Mingyu, the tallest in Seventeen. In his part he is solely singing. His part also follows after Wonwoo’s with his sweet singing making a nice contrast to the more rough tones of Wonwoo’s voice. When singing his part for the first time in the song, there is a slight monotone that is sweet yet hypnotic, but when singing it the second time around the tone switches between a high and a low tone. His part goes, “I’ll be there. I’m always in your heart when we’re both having a hard time. Let’s be together even more my girl”(Taeins).
It may be a smaller part, but it is very emotional which makes the song complete.The last person is Wonwoo. He has both a singing and a rapping part in the song. His singing is has a higher pitch than his rapping, which is usually very low pitched. His part goes, “Oh girl, you’re my answer. Holding each other’s hands when we’re having a hard time, and each other’s drooping shoulders sometimes when you’re tired” (Taeins).
His singing is also quite conversational and maintains a rapping rhythm. His rapping has a deeper sound then his singing, and the back and forth motion between the two in the song adds interest, contrast, and beauty.The song Don’t Listen from the Vocal unit is different from Lean On Me because the parts are so woven together the best way to talk about the song is to talk about it as a whole and add in the separate parts along the way. Don’t listen is a very emotional song which has a slow beautiful sound alluding to a feeling of loss in the words, the tone, and style of the singers voices and the music.
Here is an example from the lyrics, “I know, I know it, but it is not as easy to do as it is to say, I know but as time passes, will I be able to slowly forget it all if I were to look back by chance, I’ll listen to this song” (Taeins). In the the song there is a piano, acoustic guitar, and drums. An interesting thing is that when the song starts off on Joshua’s part, the second Korean American in Seventeen, it is only the piano in the background. Then when Jeonghan’s part comes on, the second oldest and subvocal in Seventeen, there is a small bit of acoustic guitar added in.
When the song switches off to the composer Woozi’s part, the guitar kicks fully in. Lastly, when it’s Seungkwan’s part, the drums kick in. Seungkwan is a main vocal for Seventeen. In the song, their vocals all play off each other and flow into each other. Even on the separate vocals the other four are doing background vocals and bringing everything together. The best example for this is a line in the song that switches from DK in the beginning to Seungkwan for the last two words it goes.
“Mujakjeoung uri hamkkegeotdeon yeogi seo naui geudae” (Taeins). The english translation being, “Without thinking, I’m standing here where we were together my love” (Taeins). The combination of the two main vocalists brings out this amazing sound. With Dk’s strong clear voice playing off the high note from Seungkwan. Woozi has this warm and sweet voice that compliments the others, Joshua he has a deeper voice then the rest but uses it to his advantage, and Jeonghan has a high pitch voice with a unique tone.
Both the members of the Hip-Hop unit and the Vocal unit sing in all of their songs, but the singing parts are short and usually cut off by the rapping for the Hip-Hop unit. They both have this feeling of heart and sincerity to them and you can understand that despite the language barrier. Despite the fact that they both have a large amount of members it feels like the songs are one song with one message instead of choppy. Both songs have very deep lyrics that evoke strong emotions. Though very differ in the way the songs are carried out, both have a similar sound with singing in them. From there things start to differ. The Hip-Hop Unit’s song is comprised mostly of rapping in comparison to the Vocal units song that is completely singing.
The music is different as well, with Lean On Me the music has a classy jazzy like sound with its horns, drums, and electric synthesizer. Don’t listen has a more classic sound with the piano, acoustic guitar, and drums. In the Vocal unit their parts play off each other and flow into each other while still maintaining their personal style. There are also parts that meld their voices together in a harmony. In the Hip-Hop unit their parts are more individualized and seperate. You can hear their individual style more than you can in the vocal team. The Hip-Hop unit still maintains a certain level of unity because the song does not feel rapped by four different people, but by one team.
Though both groups are very different in style and way of doing things, they both have a unique sound that can be appreciated whether you like the genre or not.Works CitedTaeins. “SEVENTEEN (???) – DON’T LISTEN (?? ?? ??) Lyrics (Color Coded/ENG/ROM/HAN).” YouTube, YouTube, 4 Dec. 2016,www.youtube.
com/watch?v=HvPTEQsNxRg.Taeins. “SEVENTEEN (???) – EXPECTATION/LEAN ON ME (??) Lyrics (Color Coded/ENG/ROM/HAN).” YouTube, YouTube, 4 Dec. 2016,www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbjSLSiBKHs.