[Album Review] Empathy (1st Mini Album) – D.O (EXO)

Half a year after he had left the military after fulfilling his civic duty, D.O unveiled his first solo mini-album since debut as part of EXO back in 2012. The album is titled Empathy, and features the title track Rose. It was released back at the end of July of this year, and features a heavy presence of acoustics throughout all of his songs. On top of that, D.O also featured an English version of the title track and a Spanish version of It’s Love, which is a side track off this album, as well. In terms of other work, D.O has launched back into acting with a confirmed role in an upcoming drama and also participated in EXO’s most recent, Don’t Fight The Feeling (both album and title track).

Empathy Album Cover

1. Rose (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Rose. (8/10)

2. I’m Gonna Love You (ft. Wonstein) – The next song on the album takes the acoustic but goes in a R&B direction. I’m Gonna Love You is brought to life via D.O’s perfectly suited R&B vocals and Wonstein’s rapping and vocals. There are also some harmonies within I’m Gonna Love You that makes the song even better. The melodies help bring some energy into the song, while the ‘I’m Gonna Gonna Love You’ hook is quite catchy. Altogether, it is a warm and easy to listen to track. (8/10)

3. My Love My Love delves further into the R&B genre. Instrumentally, it is quite good but it definitely on the simpler side. So, a lot needs to be done elsewhere, and hence this burden falls on his vocals. But D.O rises to the occasions by putting a bit of oomph to his vocals as the song progresses along. It isn’t to the point of powerhouse vocals. But rather, he keeps the song balanced to the extent in which it does go, making this another easy to listen to track. I also like the intimate side of the song, which I am sure EXO-L’s and other listeners are appreciating as well. (8/10)

4. It’s Love (다시, 사랑이야) – Right off the bat, D.O brings impact with his vocals and steals the show with them in this song. The other two songs preceding It’s Love have been a bit light on, though appropriate for the styles that they were going for. But here, over an acoustic ballad instrumentation, D.O really flourishes. His ad-libs are amazing and the melodies that he brings to the song are so dreamy. (9/10)

5. Dad (나의 아버지) Dad is another ballad, a song dedicated to fathers. This time the acoustic guitar is accompanied with a bit more in the instrumental department, including piano, percussion and orchestral elements. The vocals are superb. In Dad, D.O is significantly more emotive and captivating. And this just makes the message of the song so much more meaningful. I also like how his vocals build in this song, making it a powerful number, as well. (10/10)

6. I’m Fine – The ‘final’ song on the album is I’m Fine. Compared to the rest of the mini-album (aside the title track), I’m Fine is slightly more upbeat and brighter. It adds a bit of a different colour to the album, which I am appreciative of. Like the sound, the vocals also go in a different direction and I like the development of his vocals in I’m Fine. The reassuring tone in subtly jazzy instrumental, the hefty vocals from D.O and the fulfilling vibes of I’m Fine makes it a strong ender. (8.5/10)

7. Rose (English Version) Click here to listen to the English version of Rose.

8. Si Fueras MíaClick here to listen to the Spanish version of It’s Love, Si Fueras Mia.

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

Empathy Teaser Image

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