By: Claudia Siregar |
K-pop sensation EXO dropped their fifth album Don’t Mess Up My Tempo (DMUMT) last month, gaining lots of love from fans and non-fans. As expected from the Korean-Chinese vocal supergroup, a repackage was released the following month – which got us all Love Shot! The repackage brings in an addition of 5 songs – 3 new tracks: “Love Shot”, “Trauma”, and “Wait”, and a Chinese version of “Love Shot” and “Trauma”.
Let us start with the title track – “Love Shot”, a dance pop number with elements of R&B. Strong bass lines, a catchy chorus (can never get enough of the “na na na”s), vibrant vocals, mature lyrics telling the story of yearning for someone in the middle of dark times with alcohol-related references (hence the title “Love Shot” and the trippy hook) – a good mix. The lyrics are arguably slightly darker than the usual EXO lyrics save for their older hit single “Monster”, with D.O’s iconic line “people come and people go”. The fact that the song goes straight into its hook (“na na na”) at the beginning is very reminiscent of DMUMT’s title track “Tempo”, which goes straight into chorus at the beginning of the song as well. However, unlike EXO’s usual title tracks, “Love Shot” doesn’t require the vocal giants to hit very high notes (yes, we’re looking at you Chen) or do any vocal acrobats – and they still sound like the professional vocalists they are. This proves that despite of being a vocal supergroup, EXO does not have to hit incredibly high notes and do vocal runs all the time to sound awesome.
“Trauma” is a dance pop track heavily inspired by funk. Slightly noisier than “Love Shot”, yet somehow even more danceable with lyrics that tell the story of a damaging heartbreak, sticking to DMUMT’s groovy-yet-dark theme. Here we witness groovy guitar riffs and finally, some high notes – Chen’s powerful high notes and Baekhyun and D.O’s smooth ones complementing each other – and the vocal runs – something the main vocalists of EXO are known for, thanks to SM Entertainment’s focus on developing their technique. The song presents us with some classic EXO vibes, although not quite “Love Me Right”-ish. Then again, EXO is known for making change the only constant in their music.
Next, we have “Wait” – a simple, acoustic guitar-driven ballad reminiscent of EXO’s older winter releases (check out “Sing For You”), with a particular arrangement that reminds us of classic Western boybands from the 90’s (I’d say the track must be somehow Boyz II Men-influenced). Feels like this track is a special gift for the fans, judging from the simple yet sweet rhythm and classic winter EXO song elements. As usual, the track presents us with silvery vocals from the boys, with the members’ separately recognisable vocal colours crooning line after line, harmonising, and blending in together.
It’s safe to say that this repackage, like other EXO repackages and albums, is a vocal explosion. But what makes it special is that it explores another side of EXO’s musicality despite of keeping EXO’s usual funky, romantic dance pop formula.
Favourite track: Wait