Skip to main content

Home Music Music Album Reviews

ATEEZ, ‘THE WORLD EP.FIN : WILL’ review: K-pop giants show off a simmering sound

On their second album, these K-Pop heroes show why they're capturing the ears and hearts of fans across the globe.

5.0 rating

By Joseph Kocharian

ATEEZ: Image provided

It’s very apt that ATEEZ’ second studio album The WORLD EP.FIN : WILL has a reference to the globe in its title. The third and final instalment of The K-Pop’s The World series is a benchmark moment for the band, as they crack the global world stage, having reached the number 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart, joining the pantheon of K-pop big-hitters, BTS, BlackPink, New Jeans, SuperM, Stray Kids and TXT as the only K-Pop bands to achieve this. They’ve also scored success across the Atlantic, getting the number 2 spot on the official UK album chart, notoriously tricky terrain for K-Pop acts to navigate and conquer (they’re the only the 3rd K-Pop Act to achieve the number two spot in the Official UK charts, following BTS and BlackPink.)  

With the majority of the aforementioned bands hailing from the infamous ‘Big Four’ Korean management labels (SM, YG, JYP and HYBE) it makes ATEEZ’s triumph even more impressive and putting their management company KQ Entertainment up there with the Big Four in terms of producing success stories. 

ATEEZ’ discography spans an impressive range of sounds and influences and has a mature, considered sound to it, full of creative experimentation and freedom that they’ve built up over the past five years. Perhaps it’s this freedom that KQ give them that has bonded the group so well and created such a confident sound. Their slogan, after all is “8 makes 1 team.”

The journey to topping three of the most influential music markets (Korean, US and UK) has been carefully curated by the band, hooking in new fans with incredibly strong title tracks, such as ‘Bouncy’ and ‘Crazy Form”, with music videos with production values that hark back to 90s MTV heyday. When you’re hooked by that first firework of a track, The WORLD EP.FIN : WILL fully wins you over with a 12-track record, with sexy synths, heavenly high notes that take you by the hand, and leads you through a story with a knowing, suggestive glance, confident sex appeal with plenty of levels, changes of pace and energy from the band. 

Their earworm of a song ‘Crazy Form’ has a hypnotic chorus and catchy hooks, with lots of plosive energetic adlibs and chanting that will convert perfectly to their live arena tour performances. It’s the type of song that you play on repeat for days. 

It’s clear from the music video, as well as their recent performances at MAMA (Mnet Asian Music Wards) that the eight-piece are really feeling this track. You know when San gets the opening lines (as well as getting topless) of an ATEEZ song and we get a Yunho-led dance-break in a track that it’s going to be a winner.

Jongho, San, Mingi and Hongjoong (Image provided)

 ATEEZ’ ringleader Hongjoong hypes everyone up at the beginning of the track, commanding everyone to “Get Up” before rushing around the music video with a delightful mischief. Mother Seonghwa is mothering throughout, in a billowing Pride and Prejudice Mr. Darcy white shirt and his favourite item of clothing, the corset.  Jongho has his quiet but confident twinkle in his eye as he smiles knowingly after hitting all his powerful high notes. ATINY (the name of ATEEZ’s fandom) want a word with Mr Choi San, who told them there would be absolute no twerking from the ‘Crazy Form’ choreography, only for everyone to immediately see Wooyoung is shaking his ass, along with aggressive hip thrusting from San and Princess Mingi. But then again, would it be an ATEEZ song without a Mingi and San hip thrust and the sprinkling in “Chumeul Chwo”- which means “dance” – lyrics into one of their tracks? 

The album has a heated sexiness to it that simmers through the sound with tracks such as ‘ARRIBA,’ ‘IT’s You’ and ‘Silver Light.’ that will no doubt sultry and silk dane moves that the band executes so well in their performances. ‘ARIBBA’ has a smooth, Latin-inspired sound, with seductive lyrics, encouraging you to get your ‘engines roaring’ and enjoy a ‘dirty night.’ The track has a rich festival of sensual sounds, that feel like you’re in the middle of an electrically-charged street party. Yunho, Wooyoung, Seonghwa take the high notes with aplomb, along with the usual San and Jongho, showing the full levels and power that the band possess in their vocal engine. The eight-piece are definitely at their best when they manage to show off all the member’s singing voices, and when they do, it produces a dreamy, euphoric sound that sets the ATEEZ apart from their peers. 

There are no weak links in ATEEZ, which can make things tricky when working out who sings what with so many members, but with their sophomore studio album, they’re really find their balance. Yeosang deep voice has been utilised more throughout the album, that works particularly well either complimenting Mingi’s low tones and San’s ethereal high notes. There is a great symbiosis with San and Jongho’s vocal tones too, adding richness to the sound of the album. Depth gets added from Wooyoung, Seonghwa and Yunho on the singing, whilst Hongjoong’s punchy powerful raps, Jongho’s unparalleled high-notes and San’s silky melodic voice serve as the bedrock to ATEEZ’s core sound.

It’s evident that the eight members all share a very strong bond. ATINY’s have become very invested and attached to the emotional threads to connect their members together. They have their loveably loud, Aegyo king Wooyoung, who is a menace to the other members, with his witches cackle and sassy teasing. He’s watched over by his adoring San, the gentle mountain with the impeccable manners, muscles, and silky voice. The pair (known as Woosan) even have matching tattoos on their thighs that say “Amicus ad aras”, which translates to ‘friend until death’ or ‘a life long partner.’ Yunho and Mingi share and even longer connection. The pair are childhood friends, and Yunho would even travel quite a distance to another school just to sit with Mingi on his lunch break. The pair do an adorable bit on stage where they put their heads together and twirl, on request by ATINY. Wooyoung followed his friend Yeosang from one of the Big 4 companies, to try out at KQ to speed up their progression from a trainee to debuting. It was a move that clearly worked for them both, but more importantly it shows the trust between the two, to make a big leap like that. The band’s parents, ATEEZ leader Hongjoong and Lego-loving animal crossing-obsessed Seongwha keep the band in check, reigning in the chaos, often caving in and joining in, along with the maknae (the youngest member) Jongho, who is doted on by all his seniors. 

The album explores these bonds, pairing off the ATEEZ members for several songs, writing their own lyrics and performing in pairings. Usually, the songwriting for the group is headed up by the band’s leader, Hongjoong along with Mingi, but the eight-piece, are once again getting creative and trying out new ways of making music. Mother and father Hongjoong and Seonghwa take the lightning-fast ‘MATZ,’ with industrial sound cranking up the energy. Woosang (comprising of Wooyoung, San and Yeosang) have the super-sensual, 90’s sounding ‘IT’s You.’ The trio’s vocals combine to make a breathy 90’s track that’s infused with an R&B sound. Friends from high school Yunho and Mingi fittingly take ‘Youth.’ The besties have produced a chilled and dreamy track that works well with other songs on the album, such as ‘Dreamy Day.’ The Maknae, Jongho has the chance to shine on his own with the ballad ‘Everything.’ The slower paced song allows him to really build up to the crescendo, showing that he is one of the strongest voices in the K-Pop landscape at the moment. 

Yunho, Seonghwa, Wooyoung and Yeosang (Image provided)

A lot of the beauty of this album is the ability for the band change things up, slow things down, before revving the pace up again, creating a fluid journey through the twelve-track album. Moments of idyllic calm come from tracks like ‘Dreamy Day’ and ‘Silver Light.’ that have a more nuanced, considered flow to them. ‘Silver Light’ is a cascading, dreamy synth song that has so many layers to its production. Everything has been softened in the song, including Mingi and Hongjoong’s usually more aggressive rapping style. The track pairs toned-down rapping with Yeosang’s rich deep voice with the winning combo of San, Wooyoung, Seongwha and Yunho’s vocals as Jongho’s high notes soar around above the song create an eighties and nineties synth sound that rushes you along like you’re listening to the soundtrack of Ryan Gosling’s Drive. The upbeat ‘Dreamy Day’ bonds the band’s discography, with a sound that’s akin to previous tracks from the brand like ‘Wave.’ 

THE WORLD EP.FIN : WILL (Image provided)

The WORLD EP.FIN : WILL is a comprehensive album that has cohesion, production depth, allowing each member to show off their technical strengths. The sound is a continuation and evolution of the other parts of The World series that came before it, which has enabled ATEEZ to really carve out a sound that’s transcended outside of Korea and captivated both the UK and the US music scape. Here’s to more heavenly high notes, hip-thrusting from Hongjoong, Jongho, Mingi, San, Seonghwa, Wooyoung, Yeosang and Yunho.