[Album Review] 1 Billion Views (1st Studio Album) – EXO-SC

Today’s album review focuses on EXO-SC’s latest album release, 1 Billion Views. It has been a while since I promised this album review for a reader of this blog. The long delay was mainly because I wanted to write reviews for each of their duo’s solo tracks that are featured on this album (as they had music videos). I just kept on running out of time to write them and ended up delaying them until earlier today. Please accept my apologies for the long wait! And before I delay it any further, here is my review for the 1 Billion Views album, which features the title track of the same name.

1 Billion Views Album Cover

1. 1 Billion Views (10억뷰) (ft. Moon) (Title Track)Click here for the full review of 1 Billion Views. (7/10)

2. Say It (ft. Penomeco) – There are two main appealing elements in Say It. Unfortunately, neither of those two elements are actually EXO-SC. They are good in this melodic hip-hop track, but I just don’t have much to say about them. The first element that I enjoyed was the instrumental. It is quite laid back and has a lazy vibe to it (a compliment). Interestingly, it is also quite upbeat. Say It manages to find a well-balanced middle ground between having an active consistent beat and that lazy carefree vibe. The second element is actually Penomeco’s featuring. He comes into the track during the song’s chorus and helps smooth out the song quite nicely. I also like his voice and how it compliments that lazy vibe that I mentioned (also another compliment). But as this is an EXO-SC track, I am left wanting more from the main pair. (6/10)

3. Rodeo Station (로데오역)Rodeo Station jumps right out at me with its guitar melody that kicks off the song. The rest of the instrumental builds on this, bringing in some brass and bass to give the song that oomph that I am always looking for in upbeat tracks. The song is more vocal centric, with both Chanyeol and Sehun focusing more on vocals for the most part in Rodeo Station. Both members sound pretty nice in this song. It also helps when the melodies is actually quite catchy and fun to listen to. There is a bit of rapping towards the end of the song and they do give the song a bit of a punch. Overall, I found the track to be quite likeable and each element in the song was appealing. (9/10)

4. Telephone (척) (ft. 10cm) (Pre-Release Track) Click here to read the full review for Telephone. (4/10)

5. Jet Lag (시차적응) Jet Lag is a sentimental R&B track, which is all about wanting to return to their lover in their home country whilst they are overseas. The song is brought to life with pleasant acoustic guitar melodies, which I quite like. My only major complaint with this is that both Chanyeol and Sehun’s vocals seem to overpower the instrumentation at times and I would have preferred a finer balance between vocals and instrumental. However, the duo’s execution of vocals in this song is nice and enjoyable. Their harmonies throughout and the melodies are quite appealing in this song. It is a bit slow paced for my liking, but there is enough in this song to put it on the superior end of tracks. (9/10)

6. Fly Away (날개) (ft. Gaeko) – We get into even moodier territory with Fly Away. I really liked the instrumental for this song. It seems to delve into the R&B realm, featuring classical instrumental in addition to drums and R&B centric percussion. It is a stunning backing piece. Chanyeol and Sehun return to their status as EXO’s rappers by rapping throughout the song. It is a nice change up to their vocal-focus approach with their songs on the album thus far. Gaeko (one half of Dynamic Duo) actually does most of the singing in this song and his voice helps smooth out the intensity that the main pair add to the song. I quite like this contrast and this makes it a powerful track. Given its position, I would put this down as EXO-SC’s hidden gem. (10/10)

7. Nothin’ (Chanyeol Solo)Click here to read the full review for Nothin’. (8/10)

8. On Me (Sehun Solo)Click here to read the full review for On Me. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.6/10

1 Billion Views Teaser Image

[Review] On Me – Sehun (EXO)

In preparation for the album review later today, I will be reviewing both Chanyeol and Sehyun’s indvidual tracks that appeared alongside their 1 Billion Views and Telephone releases last month. I had promised these two reviews for some time now, but I just kept on running out of time to post them. But as I always repeat on this blog, it is always better late than never. As you can tell by the title, this particular review post will be focusing on Sehun’s On Me.

Unlike Chanyeol, Sehun has yet to release a solo track in the 9 years since his debut. So On Me is a great gift to all the Sehun fans out there. The song finds itself in hip-hop domain, settling with a trap-based instrumental. Not really a ground-breaking combination or instrumental by today’s standard. But it had good ryhthm and energy that makes the song very appealing. A great thing about solo tracks that I am sure that all of you are aware of is that we get to hear the artist in all their glory. For Sehun, in On Me, we get to hear a lot of his husky rapping voice. It was harsh (a compliment) and added amazing texture to the already rough texture we got from the instrumental. We also got to hear Sehun sing briefly during the chorus. It adds a layer of smoothness to the song. Intererstingly, I liked how his rapping and vocals remained low throughout the song. It is his best sound and he really captialised on this. I also liked how the hooks of Sehun’s solo track (the ‘Forever Love Sad Happy‘ and ‘Work Work Work‘) were all emphasised versions of the huskiness and low tone. This added some depth to the song that I wasn’t sure we would be getting from Sehun. Overall, On Me really puts Sehun’s best foot forward.

On Me‘s music video only goes for a certain length and doesn’t capture the entire song. But as it is still considered a music video, it enables the release to earn a review on this blog. The music video is choreography based and focuses on Sehun’s performance skills. Can’t argue with that, given that we haven’t see Sehun have an opportunity to officially show off his dancing skills in a solo release. His performance really intensifies the song, which is fantastic. I also like the various camera angles and transitions employed, which adds to that intensity. Best part of his music video is when he is moving forward to the front of the dancers with one hand holding a hat on his head. That parts needs to be made iconic and should be appreciated more!

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Review] We Young – Chanyeol X Sehun (EXO)

Before I get stuck back into the catching up phase of the week., I must interrupt this plan with a new release. Chanyeol and Sehun, the rappers from the widely known KPOP boy group EXO, have come together as solo artists to collaborate under the Station X 0 project that has been ongoing for a number of weeks so far. We have seen Taeyeon & Melomance’s Page 0 and Baekhyun & Loco’s Young releases already, so check out the reviews if you haven’t yet.

I personally thought the two EXO members would have out with a song that is more rap heavy, given their positions within the group. However, that does not seem to be the case as they went with a more cheerful sounding pop tune, which I thought was still quite good. As many of you guys know, I have a mega soft spot for any rappers singing. And we are all familiar with Chanyeol’s voice. Sehun, on the other hand, usually gets the least amount of lines in EXO songs and isn’t well known for his singing. Hopefully, this song changes that as he has a pretty good singing voice. There is rapping infused into the verses but it isn’t in the limelight compared to the vocals. We Young is also quite catchy, going with an addictive repetitive hook. There is also a sense of inclusiveness, which I thought was pretty good. Not too keen on the ending, though as it felt quite sudden. But other than that, it is a good collaboration.

The music video puts Chanyeol’s biceps and Sehun’s abs to work. Hahaha… I did find it a little odd for the presence of abs in the music video but I guess it gives some appeal to some of the fans. Other than that, I thought the spinning platform they were on was a good idea as transitions throughout the video. It looked cool. And when they revealed the wider shot consisting of the fake grass, it looked like they were in the clouds, which I thought was quite cool. The dancing seemed to fit the tune of the song, going with a chilled route and the lyrics.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10