By: Zessa F Ghaisani |

South Korean-Chinese boy group EXO is back with their 6th full length album titled “OBSESSION” recently, much to the anticipation of their fans and the public. Dubbed as the current “K-Pop King”, EXO clearly knows the responsibility of delivering good music & performance in any occasion. With 2 members currently enlisting in the military (Xiumin & D.O.) and one member not participating due to conflicting schedules (Lay), EXO is coming back as a group of 6 members (Suho, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, Kai, and Sehun). This time, with “OBSESSION”, EXO is set to step on their own mark as one of K-Pop’s best boy groups in this generation.

Starting the album with an R&B track, “Obsession”, which also serves as the album title track, EXO talks about an unhealthy obsession and how they try to get it off themselves. Repetitive voice samples of “I want you, I want you, want you” in the intro will stay in your head after your first listen. Written by EXO’s longtime collaborator Kenzie—who also produced their 2016 hit track, “Monster”—”Obsession” boast a heavy bass beat with great rap lines and vocal harmonies.

Obsession MV :

Continuing to the second track, we have “Trouble”. With reggae elements & trap influenced beats, the song talks about how falling in love with a person is troublesome since it has no exit—once you get in, you can’t get out. The third track of the album, “Jekyll” is a dance pop track, with heavy drums & 808-bass. EXO is known for their vocal harmony abilities, and they did it nicely in this track. With its infectious beat, the song expresses their battle with their ‘alter ego’.

Next we’ll hear “Groove”, filled by retro beats, strings, and flutes, something we’ve never heard from EXO before if we were to compare this track to the songs they’ve done before in their discography. “Ya Ya Ya”, the fifth track on the album, sampled the lines from SVW’s “You’re The One” in the intro, adding thick 90s vibes to the song, sort of reminding me of the tracks used in the background of “Step Up” movies for their dance battle scene—I can even imagine how the performance of “Ya Ya Ya” would look like. The light guitar strums starting the song “Baby You Are” are the next thing you will hear after “Ya Ya Ya” is finished. Once again, the song sounds as if it came from the past. “Non Stop” is our next stop. Starting out slow with a soft piano intro, the song continues with upbeat drum beats and groovy guitar playing in the background along with some trumpets, adding the light to the song. If you watched “High School Musical” movies in your younger days, this song will probably bring back the memory.

Next, we have “Day After Day”, probably the chillest tracks out of all 9 tracks (I won’t count the Chinese version of “Obsession”, since it’s basically the same song in a different language). One thing to highlight from this song is Baekhyun & Kai’s harmonization in the second verse of the song. It sounds very good & very soothing. “Butterfly Effect” will end our journey in this album. It tells a story of how a person is saving them from their irregular condition in their lives. Produced by LDN Noise, the song is the album’s poppiest and catchiest song.

Overall, the album feels like an upgraded version of their 2016 album, “Ex’Act”, with heavy R&B & hip hop tracks and few other genres mixed to the influence. EXO tried various styles for this album but somehow still managed to sound like themselves. EXO has been known for their great vocal harmonization and well-synchronized performance, this album once again proves that they still have both factors and they’re ready to face the industry once again.

EXO really brought back the early 90s – 00s vibes into this whole album without sounding old-school. The visual concept for the album is also stunning, and surprisingly, they’re still sticking to their initial aliens with superpower concept—and this time with the addition of their evil clones! A tip to enjoy the whole “Obsession” album: do not listen to the album on shuffle, please just listen to it continuously and you will feel the EXO & X-EXO vibes running through the songs.

Overall rating: 9.2 out of 10 (can’t help it, this is EXO’s best album in my opinion)
Favorite track(s): Trouble, Obsession, Ya Ya Ya, Jekyll

Listen to EXO’s “OBSESSION” the full album here:

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