Darl+ing” is K-pop boy group SEVENTEEN‘s latest music release, marking a new era for the group after their last mini-album Attacca. As the group’s first-ever English single, the sweet summer tune was delivered to fans ahead of their comeback in May. 

A Love Letter to Fans

At first listen, “Darl+ing” is immediately a song by SEVENTEEN. Even if written and sung in English, it has the indistinguishable touch of SEVENTEEN that is easily recognizable by any long-time listener of the group. Each member’s voice is distinct, completely his own, and of course, Woozi’s participation in the writing and lyrics of the song solidified the SEVENTEEN-touch fans of the group have come to love.

“Darl+ing” is a slow, strummy track guided by soft instrumentals. It begins with sounds from nature– a strong breeze gusting through the air and toes dipped in rippling water before the members take over. The song opens with rapper Vernon delivering smooth, soft vocals. As the song gets passed from member to member, listeners are lulled with the feeling of love and content laid in the lyrics’ promises.

In tempo and intent, the song appears as an affectionate lullaby. “Darl+ing” is speckled with affectionate nicknames for one’s love. With the endrearments “Darling” and “Kiss me, baby,” the song is a gentle caress of affection. Vocalist Seungkwan revealed in a behind-the-scenes video the title of “Darl+ing” is representative of SEVENTEEN’s love being “continuous and… happening right now.” The emphasis on the gerund is fitting for the honey-dipped love song. 

Into SEVENTEEN’s World 

The song is supported by the cinematic visuals of the music video. Encased in soft natural light, the aesthetics of the video resemble an intricate painting, consciously created with light fabrics and little knick-knacks to put together a home for the members. 

A second of silence ensues before listeners are wrapped in the song’s sweet chorus, bolstered by a fitting dance of small hand movements and a gesture to cradle oneself. However, the peace of “Darl+ing” is disrupted soon enough. The song’s bridge signals distress as the imagery of the seemingly perfect world is stripped back. The colors become dreary in a foreshadowing of something darker before the chorus brings listeners back to the brightness of the song. The unexpected guitar riff in the final chorus revs listeners’ hearts before we’re taken back to calmer waters for a quiet ending. 

The song truly feels fit for CARATs, SEVENTEEN’s fans, and other listeners to give a taste of SEVENTEEN’s nearing comeback. From the guitar riff in the final bridge that is just enough to promise something exciting in the new album to the ominous entrance into the SEVENTEEN universe that left fans theorizing, the group’s return with a full album in May is as anticipated as ever. Aside from the song’s release, SEVENTEEN performed “Darl+ing” on MTV Fresh Out where the full dance can be seen. There is also an accompanying dance challenge for fans to participate in on SEVENTEEN’s TikTok

Received by Carats, With Love

Fans were quick to show their love for “Darl+ing” onTwitter.


SEVENTEEN’S Next Letter 

“Darl+ing” comes ahead of SEVENTEEN’s upcoming fourth studio album in May. Just as the gerund contained in the song title of this release emphasizes continuation, listeners can likewise expect SEVENTEEN to come back even brighter. If the new album has the SEVENTEEN touch, it’ll be an album worth a listen and much more. 

Want more SEVENTEEN? Check out our review of THE 8’s single “Hai Cheng” here!