The sonic shift of “Don’t Wanna Cry” signifies a maturing for Seventeen as they move from more vibrant, youthful releases, arriving a few months after their youngest member, Dino, turned 18 in February.
Following a similar vein, the rest of the tracks on Al1 also tone back Seventeen’s prior pep, emphasizing more complex musical elements than their earlier, more boyish efforts. Like they’ve done on past albums, Al1 contains tracks that provide ample opportunities for individual members to shine, which is no easy feat in a boy band with 13 members, broken into three individual subsets. But Seventeen, whose members also take a heavy role in crafting their songs, make it look easy.
"Habit," sung by the group's vocalists -- Woozi, Jeonghan, Joshua, DK and Seungkwan -- is a rhythmic synth-rock ballad, while the hip-hop team -- S.Coups, Mingyu, Wonwoo and Vernon -- crafted a melodic EDM track on "If I." “Swimming Fool” is a playful, club-ready house track by Seventeen's performance-dance group, comprised of Hoshi, Jun, The8 and Dino. Two of the dancers, Seventeen’s Chinese members Jun & The8, even got their own track, “My I,” an ambient percussive-driven bop. The digital version of Al1 is completed with “Crazy in Love,” a classy electro-funk track that serves as a bridge between Seventeen’s old music and the new album.
Two additional songs -- the sensual “Who” and “Check-In,” a trap-hip-hop hybrid previously released as mixtape last year -- also make it into the final cut of the physical version of Al1.
To match the album’s coming-of-age vibe, Seventeen released a music video for “Don’t Wanna Cry” that shows the group melancholically expressing their regrets at the end of a relationship. They forgo the matching stage outfits that they’ve favored lately, swapping the track suits of “Boom Boom” and the suspenders of “Very Nice” for stylish, everyday clothing, individually tailored to match each member’s identity within the group. As for the choreography, it's all at once desperate, frantic and elegant -- a visual representation of "Don't Wanna Cry."
Seventeen has continually impressed as one of K-pop’s most innovative groups, guiding multiple LPs to the World Albums chart, and “Don’t Wanna Cry” is no different. The single, and the rest of Al1’s tracks, show musical depth by adding diversity to the group’s sound. Two years into their career, it’s a surprising, but very welcome, move, and hopefully Seventeen will continue to impress with future releases.
The boy band will be heading to North America later this summer, bringing their first world tour to Chicago, Dallas, Toronto and New York in August.
Watch the music video for “Don’t Wanna Cry” here: