You've probably heard about the beautifully-designed album packaging that make K-pop albums feel more like collectible pieces of art than relics of the recent past. But the physical copy of Seventeen's newest special album, ;[Semicolon], contains not only a CD, but also an additional surprise: a weaving kit. Using the tools provided, fans can put together a little woven mat, adorned with a white semicolon as a tribute to the album's name.
The idea is that while putting together the craft project, fans (called Carats) can use the time to ditch their screens and the other distractions that bombard them every day, and take a moment for themselves — a moment of quiet meditation, and most importantly, creation. In these turbulent times, feeling disconnected can easily lead to overcorrecting. We glue ourselves to social media, phone calls, and Zoom meetings, thinking that is the only way to feel close to the ones we love. But Seventeen offer a different point of view — gifting someone time to themselves, as well as the tools to create something meaningful, fosters an even more intimate connection.
This is the message at the heart of ; [Semicolon]: relishing in those moments of pause. "There's a part in the lyrics of [lead single "Home;Run"] that says, 'so let's take a break for today,'" vocalist DK tells Refinery29. "I hope to encourage people by reminding them that it's ok to take a break during our busy lives. Doing so will definitely give you the strength to move forward."
The weaving kit is not only emblematic of the spirit of this release, but also of Seventeen's own ethos. Since their 2015 debut, the 13-member group — S.Coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu, Vernon, Woozi, Jeonghan, Joshua, DK, Seungkwan, Hoshi, Jun, The8, and Dino — have proven to be more than just talented singers, rappers, and dancers. They're creatives who constantly push the boundaries of their art in order to foster a deeper connection with those who enjoy it. From coming up with carefully crafted and fun interactive "fan chants" that essentially give Carats a voice in their songs, to turning their lightsticks and albums into craft projects (their last album, Henggarae, let fans bind and decorate the pages themselves), Seventeen are always looking for ways to make loving their music a living and breathing shared experience.
As some of the rare self-producing idols in the industry, their work is a direct reflection of how they — and other young people, including many fans — feel in that moment. And in their performances, they don't just do the steps, but bring their messages to life, and imbue every movement with emotion and intention. "It often isn’t systematic learning that makes you passionate, it’s about immersing yourself," maknae (youngest) and emotive dancer Dino says. "Digging through and diving in is what allows you to freely feel and express yourself."
The way Seventeen tell stories with their music on stage is what they do best, and yet another way they foster an intimacy with their fans. Fresh off the release of ;[Semicolon] and the cinematic visual for "Home;Run," the ebullient group shared with Refinery29 more about the album's themes and secrets behind their most iconic performances.
Watch Seventeen answer 29 Questions with Refinery29, below.