Watching the first minute or so of the music video for ‘Darl+ing’ — the newest single from thirteen-member group SEVENTEEN — is nothing short of a reminder that spring has truly arrived: bright colours, plenty of sun and flower imagery and many a shot of the members being completely carefree light up the screen. The group certainly don’t shy away from connecting the light synth-pop sounds of their newest single to the happy optimism this time of year brings.
Indeed, SEVENTEEN’s first single written completely in English is a love song where the members reflect on the emotions and yearning they feel for the person who holds their affections. The song’s gentle production is on trend with the group’s huge discography by being well-balanced even in its most glorious rock guitar moments and it never overshadows the vocals of the members. There’s no rap verse in the song, with all of the hip-hop unit instead flexing their vocal abilities: despite the well-known strengths of SEVENTEEN’s rappers, the group’s decision to not simply put a rap verse into the song for the sake of it serves the song well.
The song’s music video is not simply a three-minute snapshot of the aforementioned sunshine and bright playfulness, for as the video progresses we see the members start to uncover flaws in the idyllic world they inhabit, and we see how this summery paradise may not be all it seems. The group have before utilised imagery and symbolism alongside their lyrics to reflect on personal growth, the passing of time and the place one inhabits in the world, and here they return to such explorations, making the music video worth multiple watches.
Even though the lyrics of ‘Darl+ing’ deal with their emotions from a romantic perspective, the unexpected twists seen within the music video add another dimension to the song when it comes to considering how the transition from youth to adulthood also impacts the love we yearn for as well as the reasons why we yearn for it.
All of this makes ‘Darl+ing’ an exciting prelude to the group’s upcoming fourth full-length studio album coming out next month. Their previous LP, 2019’s An Ode, was a critically acclaimed exploration of themselves as artists and people, as well their connection with fans and listeners. The preview content for ‘Darl+ing’ initially made one wonder if this time they were going to ensure their new album would gift us a SEVENTEEN summer: instead we’re reminded to keep unexpecting the unexpected when it comes to the group’s musical direction and concepts.
Yet, while fans and casual listeners wait for whatever stories the group decide to share with us in May, ‘Darl+ing’ is an uplifting and welcome reminder that SEVENTEEN continually put out carefully considered, great work no matter what language they choose to sing in.