Thanks to my long summers in Texas and Tennessee, when I think of summer I think of the sticky humidity causing mosquitos to be drawn to you and the loud cicadas that never shut up. But I also think of walking into Target after being in the 100 degree weather and having the ice cold wall of air conditioner hit you in the face — like an oasis of sorts. EXO’s new album, “The War,” is their 4th full length album and it is every bit like a refreshing drink of ice water after doing an hour of crossfit in the summer heat (trust me).
If you don’t know, EXO is a Korean pop band with nine members. Unfortunately, only eight worked on this album because the ninth, Lay, remained in his home country, China, in order to keep up with his acting schedule and solo work. I would dare to say every EXO fan is disappointed Lay wasn’t involved, but it’s obvious EXO tried to make up for it by dropping their best album to date.
At this moment, “The War” has had over 800,000+ preorders; the highest number ever in K-Pop history, and the music video has over 3 million views despite SM Entertainment having only dropped it five hours ago.
Each song, minus “Walk On Memories,” has an upbeat rhythm with a chill edge; those songs that makes you want to body roll…but in the club. The slow kick gives you the relaxing sensation of the iced drink and the quick beat, which would tire out almost any conductor, gives you the carefree impression of summer. It sounds like a contradiction, and it practically is, but if anyone can nail it on the head and make it work it’s EXO.
What I really love about this album, on top of the million other things, is the use of multiple different instruments in each song. The marimba intro in “Going Crazy,” the heavy low brass in “Diamond,” the continuous synth in “Forever” and “Chill,” and the electric guitar in “What U Do?” makes each song unique in style — keeping the listeners entertained and not feeling like, “If you heard one you heard them all.”
The music video paired with the album follows the song “Kokobop,” and features bright pastel colors, a Hawaiian luau clothing style and an island setting — the epitome of a dream vacation and summer for most. It gives the viewer and listener and overall summary of the album and that oasis feel EXO wishes to portray — opposite of the what the title of the album makes you think.
I love all of them. Each and every song blew me away, and I’m not just saying that as an EXO fan but also as a musician and a journalist. EXO and K-Pop overall are going to have new followers with this album and as an EXO fan I’m looking forward to it.
(All photo credit to SM Entertainment. Editing credit to zelofour.tumblr.com)