[Review] Hello – Chen (EXO)

Chen made it onto the headlines of the KPOP industry and related media for his surprise announcement of marriage and (at the time) upcoming entrance into fatherhood. A little later into the year, Chen got married in a private ceremony and also became a father to a young girl. Congratulations to Chen and his wife! Since the shock announcement until now, Chen has been absent from the industry (though I do remember him popping up in the congratulatory video for BoA’s 20 year anniversary). However, a week ago, SM Entertainment announced the (another!) surprise comeback for Chen with Hello, which dropped today. This is his first solo comeback since the release of Shall We? and his first music release since EXO’s Obsession.

Within a matter of seconds (yep, not even a full listen to the song), I was admiring Chen’s voice and the song (in general). Hello is such a beautiful sounding song. It falls into the realm of britpop, taking on more of a ballad profile, which is expected for Chen. I really love the combination of the piano, drums and electric and acoustic guitars throughout the song. Very traditional instruments, but they all blend together spectacularly for Hello and in a very wholesome type of way. I also love how the britpop aspect of the song gives the chorus a kick, which makes the song so much more appealing. Chen’s vocals effortlessly delivers the song’s melodies and you can definitely hear the emotions in his voice. Hopefully, I am selling the idea that I enjoyed Hello. This reaction was pretty much guaranteed, given how Chen had previously impressed me with Shall We? and even more so with Beautiful Goodbye. Before I proceed with the rest of the reviews, I think I need to address the lyrics of Hello here (and not in the music video portion of the video). The emotions we hear in his voice during stems from the lyrics, which is pretty much his fears and concerns that experienced whilst wanting to say hello to fans since (what I would assume) the announcement. It actually made me emotional and Hello just felt so much more impactful, as a result.

For a ballad like this, the music video needs to be slow to compliment the song. And that is exactly what the pace of the music video was. For the first half of the video, we simply find Chen pacing around his apartment. Other than a lighting change, there wasn’t much to it the first half. My guess this was some time after leaving a lover. The world went on (i.e. the lighting changed signifying that time went by) and for whatever reason, he didn’t take action (though clearly, he still remembers this lover). In the end, he decides to write a letter to express interest. However, when he starts to write the word ‘Hello‘ to say hello to his lover, time starts to slow down due to his hesitation that he expresses throughout the lyrics of the song. The second part of the video see his possessions in his apartment start floating around. I am not exactly sure what this means exactly, but my guess is that time is coming to a definite as we shortly see those items break apart. This tells us time has stopped completely. However, Chen makes to the end of the pier at the very end, where life is quite sunny. This might signify that he moved on to continue writing the letter. However, the very end shows him in a greyscale world, similar to the greyscale we got when time came to a stop earlier on in the video, and the final few lines indicate that he did not move on from the word ‘Hello‘ that was the start of his letter. This is just my take on the video though, so I may be wrong.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10

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