From a musical and commercial perspective, SEVENTEEN’s best-ever chart rankings and sales numbers all feel wholly deserved for their 10th mini album FML.
With 135,000 equivalent album units earned in the United States in the week ending May 4, according to Luminate, the set marks the K-pop group’s biggest sales week, plus a new chart peak of No. 2 on the Billboard 200. (With just 3,000 units separating them from ending Morgan Wallen’s two-month run atop the chart). As the top-selling album of the week, as well as the fourth-largest sales week for all of 2023, SEVENTEEN also notch their fifth No. 1 on Top Album Sales as well as seventh No. 1 on World Albums.
After FML racked up over a reported 4.64 million in pre-orders globally to be the most-ordered album in K-pop history, SEVENTEEN tell Billboard that their latest accomplishments are hardly comprehensible.
“I think [our debut album] 17 CARAT sold 1,400 copies and we were really grateful,” Mingyu reflects. “So, 4.64 million is a number that’s really difficult to grasp. [Laughs] It’s close to 3,000 times how many were sold for our debut album—it’s all very surreal. It makes me think a lot about what we need to do to return this enormous amount of love.”
Throughout FML, the 13-member boy band share with fans—known affectionately as CARATs—how they remain honest about life’s hardships but also offer hope.
“Within our album, we offer two ways of defining the expression ‘FML,’” Joshua explains. “There’s ‘F*ck My Life,’ which is what the acronym usually means, and we also offer ‘Fight for My Life,’ which is what we want the acronym to mean. There are multiple other ways to turn the expression ‘FML’ around to mean something else other than ‘F*ck My Life,’ and that’s what we hope our fans, CARATs, and listeners will also take a stab at after listening to the album.”
Adds Woozi, who wrote on every track on FML and co-produced five songs, “From a macroscopic view, we often only see the good parts, the picturesque parts of everyone’s lives, but there are so many battles that are not visible to the naked eye. Everyone goes through rough times, fiercely fighting to live their lives. We wanted FML to be a reflection of these different layers.”
The guys recognize an uncharacteristically boldness in the group’s two new K-pop singles, “F*ck My Life” and the anthemic, energizing “Super,” the latter of which marked SEVENTEEN’s first Top 40 hits on the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. US, but say it’s necessary in order to express themselves genuinely.
“These are our honest thoughts without an attempt to dress them up,” Wonwoo shares. “By letting everyone know the things we feel and asking ourselves to fight for our lives, we hope those listening will also gain a bit more energy to do the same together with us. I think it’s a mindset that we all relate to even if the trailer and our song might not look like they offer the most pleasing or comforting set of words.”
Through SEVENTEEN’s hard battle as K-pop underdogs—with twice as many members as most groups—members S.Coups, Mingyu Joshua, Woozi, Woowoo, Jeonghan, Hoshi, Jun, DK, The 8, Seungkwan, Vernon and Dino rose to the top ranks of the global charts motivated not just by their inherent talent to express themselves creatively as a “self-producing” group but find peace from delighting their supportive fans around the world.
“We always work to make our CARATs proud,” SEVENTEEN’s leader S.Coups says. “And I think they would be the most proud of us now.”
Read on for the exclusive track-by-track breakdown with SEVENTEEN below.