INFINITE at the showcase for third studio album ‘TOP SEED’ at Blue Square in Hannam-dong, Seoul / Photograph = Reporter Lee Seung-hyun @Ish87

It is said that the ground hardens after it rains. INFINITE has come together and solidified as a group with six members after going through the pain and hardship of having one of their original members leave the group. The group has taken its first step to take over 2018 with their improved ability to work as a team, matured attitudes, and their grown-up music.

INFINITE released their third studio album, TOP SEED,  on the 8th. The group opened a media showcase to promote the album prior to its release at Blue Square in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

TOP SEED holds great significance for INFINITE as it is the group’s first album in 16 months and the first album that has been released after the departure of member Hoya (Lee Ho-won) in 2017.

When speaking about Hoya’s departure from the group, Jang Dong-woo said, “Life is about continuously making choices. When you select something, you must give up something else. We respect Hoya’s decision.” He went on to explain, “Although it hurts, it’s up to us to figure out how to sublimate the pain. We all came to the agreement that we wanted to release good music and relate to all of you through our music. Even though we’ve become a six-member group, we’ve experienced growing pains over our 16-month break that made us mature and develop. We’ve fused that growth into this album.”

INFINITE has focused their efforts on creating solid, airtight music and performances, so that Hoya’s absence wouldn’t be felt. They’ve also sought out change by working with songwriters they’d never worked with previously in order to show their maturation. The result? An album with 12 tracks of various genres including R&B/urban, metal rock, and a pop ballad flavored with a bit of waltz music.

INFINITE performing “Tell Me” at showcase for third studio album ‘TOP SEED’ / Photograph = Reporter Lee Seung-hyun @Ish87

When speaking about the new album, Kim Sung-kyu commented,“TOP SEED refers to the best team in a sports competition. That’s how we decided on the name for this album. We hope this becomes our best album.” Nam Woo-hyun described the process that went into making their “best album” by saying,”The six of us went back and forth between several tracks in order to find the songs that suited each other harmoniously.” Woo-hyun smiled as he went on to say, “We thought about our fans more than anything else while we were working on this album. I’m excited because I think we can give them an amazing album that lives up to their expectations.”

Each member was able to show off their abilities to their heart’s content for TOP SEED. Jang Dong-woo’s personal musical style can be found in his solo track “TGIF,” a song that he helped compose and write the lyrics and rap lyrics for; L took part in writing the lyrics for his solo track “Reminisce”; and Lee Sung-jong’s soft and sweet voice makes his solo track “Love Song” stand out on the album. “It feels good to have a solo track on an album for the first time,” said L. Lee Sung-jong added, Each one of the members gave it their all and worked extremely hard.”

“Tell Me,” the title song for the new album, features INFINITE’s characteristic intensity and sensibility, but is different from their previously released music in its understated vocals and dreamlike vibes. “We practiced our choreography until 4:00 a.m. every morning,” said L. Perhaps that’s the secret behind how INFINITE had the audience watching in complete awe as the six-member group filled the stage with their presence.

When discussing his feelings about being back on stage after a long absence, Kim Sung-kyu said, “I really missed it. I’m excited about our upcoming promotions.” Lee Sung-yeol added, “We’ll quench the thrist and regrets that we felt during our hiatus with our promotions for this album. We’re going to use up every last bit of energy within us.” Jang Dong-woo expressed the group’s ambitions for the new album with the following statement: “If you take the 8 from 2018 and lay it on its side, it makes the mathematical symbol for infinity (∞). That’s why we’re hoping this year becomes the year of INFINITE.”

Translated by Jennifer Earwood