As the umpteenth group to embrace a western push with an English single since BTS’ hit it big with Dynamite, SEVENTEEN have gifted fans with the pleasant Darl+ing. As a pre-release for their upcoming comeback, it’s a satisfying if rather underwhelming single that fortunately maintains Seventeen’s trademark sound but fails to reach its potential.

Produced partly by Hwang Hyun, the architect behind ONF’s outstanding 2021 output and usual collaborator Bumzu, Darl+ing‘s individual segments are surprisingly great. The melody that lines the hook is gorgeous and carries the kind of melancholia that SEVENTEEN do so well. It opens the track very strongly, instantly setting the mood and promising a melodically rich mid-tempo along the lines of last years Heaven Cloud. The rousing pre-chorus is similar, harnessing an ascending melody line and equally cathartic production that shoots for the heavens, conjuring a near psychedelic atmosphere. The same could be said for the excellent shot of guitar during the climax.

Sounds all good right?

Well, not exactly. Here is where the importance of arrangement comes along. Darl+ing sounds great individually but doesn’t come together very well at all. The anti drop chorus might have a gorgeous melody but it feels like an incredible let down after that dynamic pre-chorus. The climactic guitar also only appears for around a second before the track once again retreats to the same inert instrumental and hook for the climactic chorus. The track clearly wants to break free from its chains but every time it tries to, it resorts back to that downbeat hook, draining all the life and momentum out of the track And that’s a shame because we all know that SEVENTEEN can do so much better. English single or not. .

Verses: 7

Chorus: 8

Production: 7

Performance: 8

Final Rating: 7.5 / 10


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