After a lengthy delay due to the Sewol ferry tragedy, SM has finally released EXO’s heavily leaked second mini album. As much as I love OT12, I prefer EXO-K’s releases more than EXO-M, just because I’m putting more effort into my Korean language learning than I am with my Mandarin Chinese.
First listen impressions: This album’s theme is 90s Boybands. I hear notes of NSync, Boyz II Men, Backstreet Boys and the like all through this mini album. I do not hate it at all! It makes me feel very nostalgic, and listening to this all I can think of are my summers spent recording songs I liked from the radio and making mix tapes. It does make me giggle a little that they’ve made an album that they probably aren’t old enough to feel nostalgic about the style. I forgot how young they are.
1. 중독 (Overdose)
I don’t think words exist to adequately explain how much I enjoy this song! There’s no weird drum and bass breakdown (I’m looking at you Super Junior M – Swing), it all flows. As much as I realise they’re embrasing the 90s, there’s no need for the bucket hats SM. The styling for EXO K is pretty questionable, EXO M looks much better in my opinion! I hope they chose to promote in suits..
2. 월광 (Moonlight)
The 90s is strong with this song. This ballad takes me back to my early teens when I’d listen to Boyz II Men and similar vocal groups and just be serenaded. It’s a big step down in energy from Overdose, but it’s a welcome come down. Very relaxing.
Shut the front door, who let NSync in here? This hit me in the nostalgia feels. Everything from the Castanets to the vocal harmonies and rolls just made me feel like I was listening to a mid-90s boyband. This song is so cool, man. I can’t get over how smooth this song sounds. Can’t say I’m a fan of the weird glass shattering sound effect, but I really liked the drum breakdown followed by the guitar. Man, this song is really cool.
This actually sounds like a .. current boyband. I want to say, The Wanted? I say that because I feel like The Wanted do chanty songs, by chanty I mean songs that you could easily sing along to, and that everyone knows the words to after only one listen. They’re usually quite pumpy upy. Wow, where are my words?
5. Love, Love, Love
Another R&B slow jam style song, it’s more sultry than Moonlight. It has all the key elements, harmonising, water drop sounds, vocal drills, someone hitting a high note and a thumping drumline.
I’m really impressed with how committed they are to their theme. They haven’t strayed from the boybandy feel, no random drops, no mashups, just very pure 90s feel songs to it. It’s rare that happens, usually there’s a twist, but there’s no twist with these songs which makes me feel like that’s a twist in itself! For people in my age group (90s kids), this album is like a wave of nostalgia, it takes us back to when this was all that was around for us growing up. It also exposes a whole new age group to this style of music. I love it.