Not even six months after the release of their ninth mini-album Attacca, SEVENTEEN (made up of members S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, The8, Mingyu, DK, Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dino) are back with a new digital single and concept. “Darl+ing,” released on April 15, is the start of something new for the K-pop group — in more ways than one.
“Darl+ing” is SEVENTEEN’s first-ever group all-English single and a long time coming for the band. “We’ve been wanting to release [a song in English] sooner, but we were trying to match the time,” Joshua told the press during a meet and greet event ahead of the single’s release. “We always want to thank our global CARATs for all the love that they send to us and [for] loving our songs, even though they don’t understand Korean.”
They teased the song with a slew of pastel photos, which hinted at a more mellow song akin to the soft pop route of 2021’s Your Choice rather than the rock vein the group introduced during Attacca. “Darl+ing” delivered — though SEVENTEEN do have a few aces up their sleeves.
The summery track opens up with Vernon’s airy vocals, later backed by a line of mesmerizing synths and subdued guitar strums. Slightly distorted vocals by main producer Woozi introduce the somewhat muted yet instantly catchy chorus line. Though used sparingly, this slight distortion continues throughout the track. “Darling is the keyword for the song, so I wanted to make a song that is very easy to listen to and a song that is very comforting,” Woozi says. “[For that], I focused a lot on voicing work. If you listen to the song, you will notice that our voice pops a lot, it’s like an instrument in a lot of parts. We’ve tried this technique before, but never to this extent,” he further explains, namechecking You Made My Dawn’s “Home” as a previous example.
Aside from the vocal work, one of the indisputable highlights of the song is the guitar line introduced in DK’s verse during the very last chorus, after a slight beat change ushered in by Chinese members The8 and Jun in the bridge.