[Album Review] EXO - XOXO

* This has been in my draft bin for sometime now. I figured it was time to complete it.*

I have come to the conclusion that I am going through a EXO phase where most days if I'm not listening to Nell or some other Indie group/soloist, I'm itching to listen to EXO songs. Crazy right!? Just started listening to "Heart Attack" and MY GOD is it not addicting. So far I keep playing it on repeat because that beat is sick. Why aren't all their songs so epic like this and "Black Pearl." I then succumbed and actually listened to the entire XOXO album and decided why not do an album review?!

I'm going to be honest and admit that I really wanted to be able to say how much I disliked this album and don't see why EXO receive all the attention but I was pleasantly surprised that my reaction was the exact opposite. The album is quite fantastic as a whole package. Sure there are some songs that do not gel well with me, but overall it's a pretty solid album. If there is a lesson to be learned in this, is that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, or in this case album. I'd say even made me a believer in the group. What surprised me the most is how some of the songs seemed too juvenile for my taste but once you listen to the lyrics you realize there's a much deeper meaning beneath the surface. This is not a complete album review but just to highlight the songs that stood out to me the most.

Album Song List:
  1.  "Wolf"
  2. "Baby, Don't Cry"
  3. "Black Pearl"
  4. "Don't Go"
  5. "Let Out The Beast"
  6. "3.6.5"
  7. "Heart Attack"
  8. "Peter Pan"
  9. "Baby"
  10. "My Lady"
  11. "Wolf' (Subgroup version)
  12. "Wolf' (Alternative language version)

1. Wolf

At first listen "Wolf" seems set up to be an epic song but once the song progresses from the versus to the chorus it starts to lose its potential. My favorite part would be the bridge, from the musical build up to the members voices in various forms. I probably repeated that part multiple times and is the only reason I don't completely hate the song. Though the lyrics are really strange and quite silly like "I’ll take you in one mouthful like cheese" and my personal favorite "Hey bite tight and then shake shake ‘til you lose your mind." I highlighted this song only because as ridiculous as it sounds, it forever stays in your head after just one listen.

2. Baby Don't Cry
This is my favorite ballad from the album. Everything from the music, vocals, and even the rap part were spot on. Quite surprisingly, since I wasn't a fan of their rappers but it was nicely done in the song. The song is supposed to be based on The Little Mermaid but EXO's version is slightly different, as the Prince isn't sleeping but awake and asks the Mermaid to kill him. It's a beautiful song with equally beautiful lyrics.

"You’re not the one to disappear into foam, something you never should’ve known"
 "So Baby don’t cry cry my love will protect you"

I don't know the members very well but whoever was doing the runs towards the end of the song was wonderful, his voice is just beautiful and you could hear the longing in it. EXO has some great vocalists, wish I had realized that earlier.

3. Black Pearl
I already reviews this song for SOTM post but let me just say that it is my favorite song ever by them. It's got this delicious dark vibe to it and is the type of sound I would love them to continue to use. When EXO's music ventures towards a darker sound it really does fit them. I hope in future albums they will explore that further.

4. Don't Go
I like how the songs flow effortlessly from one song to the next. This one has this lovely melody running throughout the entire song bringing a "happy" sound to the song. In the song it portrays a boy mesmerized talking about the woman he loves. Exploring all the emotions he feels whenever he's around her. A very beautiful song that speaks from the heart.

5. Let Out The Beast

This is my dance jam. They are telling us to "Let out the beast" inside of ourselves, whether its parts of ourselves we've kept hidden in fear of judgement or because we're too self-conscious. At first glance of the lyrics it seems superficial but upon closer inspection their talking about letting out the parts of yourself you've kept hidden away from the world. Don't be afraid to "let out the beast" that resides in us all.

6. 3.6.5

Another cutesy song at first glance but in fact is talking about the daily life we lead. Life might crush you a few times but its what you do in the recovery process that defines who you want to be. As they say don't rush it because "you will only miss important things."

Album rating: 4.5 out of 5

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