EXO’s new album is supposed to drop sometime in March, but fangirl-anticipation continues to grow minutely. After hearing previews from the new album during EXO’s EXO’luXion Concert, and while I’m not the biggest EXO fan, even I have to admit the music sounds good based on first impressions. If the previews are any indication, EXO-Ls are in for a treat!
The new album will have a good mix of R&B, dance-pop, and ballad tracks, so there will be something for everyone. The first sample, “Playboy,” for example, is an R&B song with light instrumentals and guitars. It’s equal amounts sexy and sensual, especially during the chorus. EXO’s voices during the “play, play, play” portion just blend together beautifully.
“Exodus” is my favorite. “Exodus” is a dance track with a good beat and some early 90s sound. It does sound repetitive during the chorus, but that’s how the song sneaks into your brain to become a good listen. While it is a dance track, it has a more mature sound showing some growth since the “Overdose” era.
On the opposite end of the scale, “El Dorado” may be the weakest, albeit still listenable, song. “El Dorado” is a throwback to EXO’s debut days as it has a similar beat and structure to debut-era songs. The song is memorable, but it doesn’t have much substance due to its repetitive content. There’s a great song in there, but it’s too much like old tracks. “El Dorado” doesn’t exactly scream artistic growth, but fans will love it anyway. However, it feels like EXO is being pigeonholed into doing one type of genre to appease fans.
Another favorite is D.O, Suho, and Baekhyun’s “My Answer.” The high notes make the song. “My Answer” has emotion, softness, and delicacy: A triple-threat of awesome wrapped up with a nice little bow. If the song is arranged like it was for EXO’luXion, the piano and instrumentals help to make it lovely. Part of the reason I love EXO ballads is because they unveil the talent underneath EXO’s lip-synched performances many in the K-Pop world negatively point out. EXO ballads are underrated. “My Answer” is a must-listen!
Another winner is “Hurt.” The song is deceiving because it starts with a waltz making you think it’s going to be a ballad before erupting into an angry-sounding dance track. “Hurt” has power, darkness, and a surprisingly strong rap portion. Normally, I am critical of EXO’s rapping abilities because they’re not as strong-sounding as other groups. The flow usually isn’t the best, but this time around, EXO improved. The rap does not feel out of place; in fact, it’s right at home here and actually helps make the song. It has a low growl and deep senses of ire, and when layered with some of the higher notes other EXO members have, it’s a standout!
Besides these songs, the 8-track album will also include the title song “Call Me Baby” along with “Drop That” and “Full Moon.” As soon as the rest of the album comes out, we’ll be sure to share our final verdict! The album will be out soon!
—- Joelle Halon