After Got7 announced their departure from longtime management company JYP Entertainment in January, rumors began to swirl that the seven-piece K-pop act were disbanding. But the septet officially put those rumors to rest this week with the release of the surprise single “Encore.”
Written and co-produced by Got7 member Jinyoung, the tender, R&B-tinged ballad reads like a love letter to their fans (affectionately referred to as “Ahgase”). “When everything was new to us/Everything about you was a gift to us,” Jinyoung croons in his falsetto, as the lo-fi verses give way to a sweeping chorus and rollicking beat.
The earnest melody climaxes in a pleading final chorus that’s as much about asking Ahgase to stand by the group, as it is about the group reassuring fans that Got7 are here to stay: “What we’ve had for a long time/No need a reason, it’s because of you/After time passes by, please be right here/Be right here with me.”
Got7 has always been known for their versatility, from the pop stylings of 2016’s “Just Right,” to the mid-tempo banger “Not by the Moon” (featured on Rolling Stone‘s summer 2020 playlist of the best new K-pop tracks), to last November’s beat-driven “Last Piece.” On “Encore,” the guys showcase their emotional range, letting each member shine with impassioned vocals, while Mark and BamBam trade rap-sung cadences on the second verse.
“We pictured the moment when our fans chant ‘Encore’ at the end of the performance at our shows, and us coming back to the stage to perform,” the group says in a statement. “As we are taking a new path in our careers, this image was something that we wanted to share with our fans.”
The accompanying music video features black-and-white clips of the guys hanging out at the studio while recording the song in Seoul just last month. The group decided to use behind the scenes footage for their video, they say, since group member Mark had a flight booked to return to his native Los Angeles temporarily, and Warner Korea wanted to release the song as quickly as possible.
As for what’s next, the group says that while no plans have been made beyond this new single, Got7 are definitely still together and won’t be going away anytime soon.
“There was a lot of speculation, as we didn’t provide a clear answer to the fans’ question on what’s next for us [when we left JYP],” the group says. “It’s a path that we never took before, so we understand the reasoning behind this speculation. What we can say is, when the fans are waiting for us, Got7 will come together and be back as we did this time. The most important thing is that all the members are very close, so the fans shouldn’t worry too much.”
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From Rolling Stone US