From a musical and commercial perspective, SEVENTEEN’s best-ever chart rankings and sales numbers all feel wholly deserved for their 10th mini album FML.
With 135,000 equivalent album units earned in the United States in the week ending May 4, according to Luminate, the set marks the K-pop group’s biggest sales week, plus a new chart peak of No. 2 on the Billboard 200. (With just 3,000 units separating them from ending Morgan Wallen’s two-month run atop the chart). As the top-selling album of the week, as well as the fourth-largest sales week for all of 2023, SEVENTEEN also notch their fifth No. 1 on Top Album Sales as well as seventh No. 1 on World Albums.
After FML racked up over a reported 4.64 million in pre-orders globally to be the most-ordered album in K-pop history, SEVENTEEN tell Billboard that their latest accomplishments are hardly comprehensible.
“I think [our debut album] 17 CARAT sold 1,400 copies and we were really grateful,” Mingyu reflects. “So, 4.64 million is a number that’s really difficult to grasp. [Laughs] It’s close to 3,000 times how many were sold for our debut album—it’s all very surreal. It makes me think a lot about what we need to do to return this enormous amount of love.”
Throughout FML, the 13-member boy band share with fans—known affectionately as CARATs—how they remain honest about life’s hardships but also offer hope.
“Within our album, we offer two ways of defining the expression ‘FML,’” Joshua explains. “There’s ‘F*ck My Life,’ which is what the acronym usually means, and we also offer ‘Fight for My Life,’ which is what we want the acronym to mean. There are multiple other ways to turn the expression ‘FML’ around to mean something else other than ‘F*ck My Life,’ and that’s what we hope our fans, CARATs, and listeners will also take a stab at after listening to the album.”
Adds Woozi, who wrote on every track on FML and co-produced five songs, “From a macroscopic view, we often only see the good parts, the picturesque parts of everyone’s lives, but there are so many battles that are not visible to the naked eye. Everyone goes through rough times, fiercely fighting to live their lives. We wanted FML to be a reflection of these different layers.”
The guys recognize an uncharacteristically boldness in the group’s two new K-pop singles, “F*ck My Life” and the anthemic, energizing “Super,” the latter of which marked SEVENTEEN’s first Top 40 hits on the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. US, but say it’s necessary in order to express themselves genuinely.
“These are our honest thoughts without an attempt to dress them up,” Wonwoo shares. “By letting everyone know the things we feel and asking ourselves to fight for our lives, we hope those listening will also gain a bit more energy to do the same together with us. I think it’s a mindset that we all relate to even if the trailer and our song might not look like they offer the most pleasing or comforting set of words.”
Through SEVENTEEN’s hard battle as K-pop underdogs—with twice as many members as most groups—members S.Coups, Mingyu Joshua, Woozi, Woowoo, Jeonghan, Hoshi, Jun, DK, The 8, Seungkwan, Vernon and Dino rose to the top ranks of the global charts motivated not just by their inherent talent to express themselves creatively as a “self-producing” group but find peace from delighting their supportive fans around the world.
“We always work to make our CARATs proud,” SEVENTEEN’s leader S.Coups says. “And I think they would be the most proud of us now.”
Read on for the exclusive track-by-track breakdown with SEVENTEEN below.
"F*ck My Life"
Composed by: WOOZI, BUMZU
Lyrics by: WOOZI, BUMZU
Arranged by: BUMZU, BuildingOwner
WOOZI: It’s the first time ever that SEVENTEEN is singing a lead single of this tempo, I think. But I don’t
think that it’s any less “SEVENTEEN” than our previous lead singles. We might make different choices each time when it comes to how we express what we think and feel, but at every song’s core, it remains the same that we just present and perform what feels true to us at that point in time.
THE 8: At first, the track might be surprising both sonically and because of its title, but “F*ck My Life,” as
well as “Super,” were just the songs we wanted to share with everyone at this time. We really liked them both so couldn’t single one out to be the lead single either. I think the contrast between the two lead singles makes the album more fun, and actually works to better articulate the overall message of the album.
Composed by: WOOZI, BUMZU, August Rigo
Lyrics by: WOOZI, BUMZU, S.COUPS, VERNON
Arranged by: BUMZU
WOOZI: Initially, we just had the vague idea of highlighting a strong image of SEVENTEEN through the lead single for this album. Thinking about superheroes for that reason, we started pulling together ideas from the many versions of heroic figures we know of and that eventually turned into “Super.”
MINGYU: I also really like the lines “I love my team, I love my crew!” I think it accurately expresses where our heads are right now.
HOSHI: It’s also the perfect song for a performance—it’s exhilarating when over 200 dancers’ footwork begins to sync up and without even thinking, you just know that your entire crew is acting in unison. It’s a different type of energy, which I hope will be passed onto our audience too!
WOOZI: “Super” is also our answer to the question that follows the first track of the album, “F*ck My Life.” If you ask “So, how is SEVENTEEN fighting for ‘your’ life?” “Super” provides our answer by talking about how SEVENTEEN has fought our way through, for whom and with whose support, all of which also continue to propel us forward.
Composed by: BUMZU, WONWOO, VERNON
Lyrics by: WOOZI, BUMZU, S.COUPS, WONWOO, MINGYU, VERNON
Arranged by: BUMZU
VERNON: “Fire” was a fun song to work on. I threw in the idea of adding in the bells, went on the keyboard and asked [producer] BUMZU if he could make it sound this way. Hopefully it will be a song that gets everyone dancing.
S.COUPS: I’m sure all of the Hip-Hop Unit members have already imagined what it’ll be like to put “Fire” on stage. It’s an addicting sound, one that sort of just hooks you on. It’ll be so much fun to enjoy it with our CARATs at a show, I really can’t wait.
WONWOO: In the midst of the addicting sound, I think the Hip-Hop Unit members’ distinct characters also stand out in each of our verses. It adds a great extent of diversity within the track, and it’s fun because we all sound very different and each have a very different [verse].
"I Don't Understand But I Luv U"
Composed by: WOOZI, BUMZU, Nmore
Lyrics by: WOOZI, BUMZU, HOSHI, DINO
Arranged by: BUMZU, Nmore
HOSHI: “I Don’t Understand But I Luv U” is our letter back to the heartwarming and beautiful message from our CARATs. When you’re performing in front of thousands of people that have gathered at that precise moment in time and location just to see you perform, and you feel that pure feeling of joy and love in the air; it’s not a feeling and a sight you can ever forget. That air of affection is not something that can be described in words, as is the connection we have with our fans across the world regardless of the language any of us speak. I hope knowing that brings comfort to everyone listening.
JUN: We recorded this song over multiple sessions, starting with a session before the tour and continuing on after as well. I didn’t realize it at the time, but after touring around all over the world, the music must have hit me differently. BUMZU said I sounded different, that there was a change in how I sing the song.
DINO: We have had the privilege of getting to experience these powerful connections firsthand touring around countries and, because of that privilege, I think we need to try harder to make it known how beautiful these emotional connections are.
JUN: Adding on, we are the Performance Unit after all! We’ve never really set a limit to the type of music we perform. The future of our team lies in performances that sound great, look great and something everyone watching can also become a part of.
Composed by: WOOZI, BUMZU, Park Kitae
Lyrics by: WOOZI, BUMZU
Arranged by: BUMZU, Park Kitae
WOOZI: The melody came together first, and I thought that there was a sense of loneliness and longing that came with the sound. Outside the bounds of this song too, I think it’s often the case that we feel a mixture of these sentiments all at once—putting the two together didn’t feel difficult or like a struggle.
JEONGHAN: From our point of view, this track is very classically WOOZI, and has SEVENTEEN written all over it. We’ve been seeing a lot of fan responses that say the song sounds like it could be a soundtrack to a cartoon series, which I agree with! I’m happy to see our fans also enjoying and digging into the song.
Composed by: WOOZI, BUMZU, SOFTSERVEBOY, Kareem James
Lyrics by: WOOZI, BUMZU, SOFTSERVEBOY, Kareem James
DK: Looking back, we also made our debut in May, so the saying “April showers bring May flowers” is something we really resonate with! We wanted our 10th mini album FML to console those listening, even if it’s just a little bit. Everyone has troubles of their own, so whatever it is that you’re going through, we hope you will be able to feel a little better and come to have a little bit of hope that brighter days will come after listening to our album.
DINO: We weren’t originally supposed to say it but since it’s been spoiled already by some of our members… We are planning on another comeback later this year. We hope you’ll join us then too!