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K-pop group Seventeen find nirvana 

LOS ANGELES (AP) – How does a group follow up their biggest release to date? In the case of K-pop act Seventeen, they continue to grow their successes — and release another mini-album in the same year.

In April, the 13-member group (Woozi, DK, Joshua, Jeonghan, Seungkwan, Vernon, S Coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu, Dino, Hoshi, Jun, The 8), released FML, their highest charting release. It spent nine weeks on the Billboard 200, peaking at No 2 and sold millions of copies.

On the group’s 11th mini album six months later — titled Seventeenth Heaven, a play on the English maxim “seventh heaven,” referring to a state of extreme elation — the group build off that exciting foundation across seven tracks.

And there’s a lot to love, particularly in the first two tracks. Seventeenth Heaven opens with an all-English language track, the Jersey club-meets-pop rock SOS, co-produced by American DJ Marshmello. 

Contrast that with God of Music, the sunshine-y pop single with bright brassy touches — a life-affirming sing-along so nice they put it on the album twice. Seventeenth Heaven concludes with an additional instrumental version of God of Music.

With an act of this size, Seventeen manage to highlight its sub-units (smaller groups within a larger group defined by a particular talent) without allowing one to outshine another — a critical balance that has made them one of the best-selling K-pop groups, ever.

Like on the retro electro-pop-meets-video game EDM of Back 2 Back, spotlighting the dance sub-unit (Dino, Hoshi, Jun, The 8), or the Tim Burton-esque gothic rap Monster, courtesy hip-hop sub-unit (Vernon, S Coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu) and Yawn, a gorgeous piano ballad from the vocal sub-unit (Woozi, DK, Joshua, Jeonghan, Seungkwan).

As he has become known for, Woozi contributed to writing the lyrics of all the tracks and the composition of most, save for Monster and Headliner. (The former was co-composed by Vernon, with lyrical contributions from him, S Coups, Wonwoo and Mingyu). 

Across the release, other Seventeen members stepped both in front of the mic and behind it, emphasising this group’s ability to be involved with each step of the creative process. 

The result is a release that feels remarkably true to them: a celebration of their success, and the motivation to push harder in the future. – Maria Sherman

This cover image released by Hybe/Pledis Entertainment shows Seventeenth Heaven by Seventeen. PHOTO: HYBE/PLEDIS ENTERTAINMENT