[Album Review] Exodus / Love Me Right (2nd Studio & Repackaged Albums) – EXO

As this is a studio/repackaged album review, this post will be lengthy. 

I have probably repeated myself so many times but EXO has recently focused on unit and solo promotions since they are at the stage of impending military enlistments. However, in the midst of all these solo debuts, special singles and unit formations, I have been craving an EXO group comeback. But I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon given the circumstances. So I decided to revisit one of their old albums. EXODUS was released in March 2015, with the lead single Call Me Baby (link below). Love Me Right was the repackaged version of EXODUS, was released on June 2015 and it featured Love Me Right as the title track. With these two singles in mind, let’s have a look at the other songs on the album as well.

EXODUS Album Cover

1..Love Me Right (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Love Me Right (10/10)

2. Tender LoveTender Love dabbles into the retro-funk genre. It is a nice piece overall that had a few good moments, such as electronic 8-bit tune-like. There were some moments that I wasn’t that fond of, such as the crowd clapping sample they used for the bridge. It showed off some nice vocal and rapping work, which I enjoyed. The song did feel like it went for a longer length than its 3.5-minute run, thanks to the ‘Tender Love’ repetitive chorus. Not exactly sure how I feel about this prolongment feeling but I guess no negative feeling towards it is a good thing. (7.5/10)

3. Call Me Baby (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Call Me Baby. (7/10)

4. Transformer – To me, Transformer was a passable track. It does have an interesting melody, something I wished should have shined more brightly with a more dynamic set of vocals. The lyrics were begging for something more interesting yet what we ended up getting felt monotone to an extent. The instrumental delved into the hip-hop genre, which I thought was nice considering that EXO doesn’t often go that route (i.e. they are not necessarily known for their hip-hop tracks). What I thought was nailed was the rapping, which stood out over everything. Good job to Chanyeol, Sehun and Kai for that. (6/10)

5. What If (시선 둘, 시선 하나)What If is a ballad. It was quite slow, and this is probably the only thing that works against the song. Apart from that, the song features amazing vocals and the harmonies are to die for. The song had a fragile touch thanks to the lyrics. It is a song heavy on emotions without being emotional. While the vocals were amazing, the vocals didn’t overpower the track, giving it a well-balanced aspect. The chorus featured whispering vocals, allowing all the members to come together in a way that gave a delicate touch to the song. (8/10)

6. My Answer – Following What if, My Answer is an even slower ballad that features the vocals of Baekhyun, D.O and Suho only. And if I was, to be honest, you only need these three vocalists from EXO-K to make a standout ballad. The melody was nice and flowy, as you would hope for any good ballad. What sets this track apart further from What If that it only features a piano as its instrumental. No need for violins or classical instrumentation, the piano does all the tone set here. (8/10)

Love Me Right Album Cover

7. Exodus – Returning the album to its upbeat form is Exodus. It is a good track, only suffering from the ‘standard’ issue that I feel like EXO does suffer from time to time. There were a few aspects that made this track stand out, including the slight hip-hop tinge to the instrumental, the catchy chorus and the showcase of vocals. It might sound like I am praising the song, but when I compare this track to the rest on this album, it felt ordinary at best. (7/10)

8. El Dorado – Listening to El Dorado, I think the track has the potential to be part of an action-packed fantasy show, thanks to the epic vibes. I liked the vocals in the song and how they opted for the inclusion of all the members for the chorus. The rapping was very cool, especially the trio’s part at the end of the bridge. The only part that I still don’t like to this day is the ‘Find the El dorado’. It just feels like an awkward opener to the chorus. (8/10)

9. Playboy – To me, one of the most skippable songs on the album is Playboy. There really isn’t anything too interesting about the track. The rapping and vocals would be my pick for the highlight. But that is something I would mention quite often. The jazzy, almost elevator-music like instrumental felt like it was repeating itself as the song went by in a fashion that felt boring. I did like the direction, but the track felt underwhelming overall. (6/10)

10. First LoveFirst Love was included in the repackaged version of Exodus (Love Me Right). It is a cheerful track that takes the form of a pop track. I acknowledge that the instrumentation brings forth the happy vibes, but it felt plain. And I think the plainness rubbed off on the vocals and rapping (which felt like it was an unnecessary part in general). Sure, the song wasn’t set up to show high notes and fast rapping. But I felt these elements were not shown off as well as they could have been. (6/10)

11. Hurt – I find EXO is better with either straight up ballads or upbeat dance tracks. Hurt goes for the latter and showcases a track that could have easily been a contender for the title track position (if it was slightly more aggressive). The member that shone the most was Chanyeol, whose deep voice was well presented and utilised, such as the ‘So Bad So Bad’ detail in the chorus. One thing I did notice was that the song lacked intensity during the vocal sections of the song. But they compensated by providing the intensity during the dance break in one dynamic go. (8/10)

12. Lady Luck (유성우)Lady Luck is probably the surprising standout track on the album besides the title track. This too could have been a title track (and there isn’t a need to polish it in any way!). I really like the guitar that featured in the instrumental. It kept the song from going overload with synths and provided an acoustic touch to the dance track. The glitchy breakdown came out of nowhere but it managed to show how the song was building as it went along. It was also catchy and memorable. (9/10)

13. Beautiful – I think Beautiful was another great track. It is one of the few tracks that don’t fall within that preferred ‘ballad or dance track’ scenario. Instead, there it is a nice soothing track. It is slow but not enough to be considered a ballad. Its instrumental feels like it is flowing over you as you are listening, like water flowing over you while you are swimming in the ocean. I like the overlapping of the vocals for the chorus, which gave off an interesting texture and gave it some memorability. (9/10)

14. EXO, 2014 (약속) – This song, otherwise known as Promise, was sung by all the members of EXO (including what was left of EXO-M). I found the ballad to be extremely touching and you can feel the emotions behind the members’ voices. Chanyeol’s rapping was probably my favourite part. His delivery was so intense, bringing the emotions of the song to another level. However, every member sounded amazing nonetheless in this ballad, which reaffirms their commitment to their fans who stuck by them during the hard times. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10

Love Me Right Teaser Image

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