[Album Review] Self-Portrait (1st Mini Album) – Suho (EXO)

I guess you didn’t see this one coming. Another album review! And it isn’t a Sunday or Friday, which is when I usually publish my album reviews. Given that I had a day off work today and I didn’t want to fall behind in the schedule as I find a lot of albums recently released to be worthy of an album review. Today’s focus will be on Suho’s recent solo debut mini-album, Self-Portrait, which was released at the end of March. It features the title track, Let’s Love, which I reviewed on the same date of its release. Let’s see how the rest of the mini-album is.

Self Portrait Album Cover

1. O2 O2 opens the album in what I would describe as a spectacular manner. The start of the song really feels like an atmospheric piece that is very aesthetic, while the subsequent energy that comes from this song really wanted me to continue listening onto the album and is extremely thrilling. The combination of the rock band instrumentation, the heavy bass and the classical orchestra gives off a grand and epic vibe that makes it so appealing. Suho’s voice is very light in this song and just manages to be heard over the instrumental at the end. A fine track to begin the album off with. (10/10)

2. Let’s Love (사랑, 하자)Click here to read the full review for Let’s Love. (8.5/10)

3. Made In YouMade In You is a song for Suho’s fans. I thought his vocal style in this song was very nice and you can feel his intent to really want to connect with the audience through his voice. The melody that he sings was very pleasant and beautiful. The instrumental is more of a typical pop style, so there was nothing that special in that regards. But the drumbeats were very prominent and this made song captivating to me for a while. I don’t really have much else to say other than it is nice sound song. (8/10)

4. Starry Night (암막 커튼)Starry Night is a rock ballad takes time to build up to its final form. But it is a ride that I am willing to take again and again as one of the charms of Starry Night is essentially that music journey that Suho takes us in this song. At the start, the song keeps to that ballad side and driven by just piano. A band influence kicks in when he enters the chorus region. More of that rock influence comes in as the song progresses. Once we reach the final chorus, the epic vibes return as the song reaches the climax during this part. I also like how the song returns to how it started at the end, which gave it a nice ended. Suho also sounded very dreamy in the song. (10/10)

5. Self-Portrait (자화상) – The album’s title is Self-Portrait and is also the same name of the fifth track on the album. The song has a rock ballad-like instrumental and it had a very pleasant melody which I enjoyed. The instrumental was also very complementary to Suho’s vocals, which were quite blissful. The harmonies in the bridge with the backing vocals really helped bolden this rock ballad and I really liked the autotuned echo during the chorus. There is a sentimental feel to the song, which you also get from the lyrics as well. Altogether, the song came together quite nicely. (8.5/10)

6. For You Now (ft. Younha) (너의 차례)For You Now finishes the album with an piano dominant track. There is a bit more to the instrumental, but everything else sounded very minor to the piano. The song also features Younha, a well-known vocalist in the Korean music industry (I will get around to reviewing her comeback earlier in the year sometime in the future). I also find this track to be breathtaking. The two singers go extremely well with one another. Their harmonies blend nicely with one another. During their individual segments, there is a good sense of stillness that comes over me as I listen to the song. Altogether, it is a captivating ending to the album. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

Self Portrait Teaser Image

[Review] Let’s Love – Suho (EXO)

We kick off the new week with a solo debut that I am sure many fans will be overjoyed to hear about. I am talking about Suho’s return to the music scene with Let’s Love. For those who may not know Suho, he is the leader of EXO. Recently, the group was announced to be focusing on solo promotions this year and Suho’s solo debut would be the first of the many solo activities we can expect from the EXO members. We last saw EXO and Suho through their Obsession comeback in late November/December.

Let’s Love takes on the modern rock genre and it sounds amazing. There is a level of aesthetics in the sound profile to this song that amazes and floors me at the same time. And it is genre that I need to get back into as Let’s Love just shows me how blissful the genre can be. But enough about the genre. Let’s Love capitalise on Suho’s vocals, as you want to in a solo release. I have never really been a fan of Suho’s voice, as I do find it plain in most EXO’s songs. But here, there is a sense of balance that just makes his voice feels right. He doesn’t push himself too hard, which definitely compliments the softer rock style. His ad-libs are definitely within his range and adds that ‘main vocal’ touch to the song. My favorite part has to be the ending, where he sings in a very huskily manner, ‘You’re My Dream, You’re My Dream‘. The main concern I have with the song is its lack of a strong hook to really make listeners want to return to the song. There is a decent melody that makes me sway along to the music, but I don’t think it will serve in that purpose. But other than that, this is another great solo debut.

The song itself is about the desire to go back to a previous relationship. It talks about how his former partner completed him and how he followed them to get their attention at first. We essentially see the aftermath of the relationship, that period of desire in the video. Now that his partner had left, his world is barely nothing. We see his world is full of infinite darkness and the long concrete corridor extends further and further as he looks into the distance. But as they always say, there is light at the other end of the tunnel. And that is what Suho experiences at the end of the video, that there is that chance to go back. But that chance is reliant on that former partner. That is is my interpretation and understanding of the song’s lyrics and music video. Please note: I may be completely wrong (I have been told many times previously) and would like to hear what you thought the video. I thought the imagery was quite nice and the monotone colour palette to be very suiting.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

[Double Review] Do You Have A Moment & Dinner – Suho (EXO) & Jang Jane

At the start of the week, it was announced that Suho (leader of EXO) and Jang Jane (vocalist from MYSTIC89) were going to collaborate for two new singles. The first is Do You Have A Moment, which was released on Friday by MYSTIC89. The second is Dinner, which was released just a few hours ago (on Saturday) as part of the SM Station Season 2 lineup. Both songs are said to be in regards to a relationship, where each song was written at various points of a relationship.

Do You Have A Moment can be described as a pop ballad. It has a soft piano based instrumental which does seem a little ordinary for my taste. It could have used other instruments to keep the song a little more interesting towards the end and given the song some freshness. The start felt like it could have developed into that typical ballad song but once we reach the first chorus, the song features a cheerful sound, setting the tone for the rest of the track. The vocals here are really nice, with both singing complimenting each other.

Dinner has a more serious and seductive tone to it, which I actually like. Like in the previous song, their vocals are the strong point of this song.  Their solo sections were on point. When they sing together (such as the chorus), they change up the dominance between two depending on who’s part of the song it is. The instrumental is the complete opposite of the previous track, going for synth-based and pairing with the slight autotune which I think I can hear. The main part of the song which has me second-guessing is the bridge. I think they were singing ‘Love Love Love’ but it came out to be more like ‘LOL LOL LOL’. But besides that, it was a really good song to listen to.

Do You Have A Moment’s music video reflect the lyrics in a very literal sense. Essentially, the lyrics of the song are about making the first move towards the person that catches your eye. The video is done is a cafe like setting, where both singers don’t really face each other, clearly acting out the lyrics. It literally ends with both singers finally facing each other, already clearing the first (and the most daunting) step of all.

The music video for Dinner also goes well with the lyrics of the song. Judging from the video, the two are experiencing a breakdown in their relationship, illustrated by the lack of chemistry they share when at the table together or when one of them is completely absent. I like how they started off with the final scene (the clock) from the previous video and used the same set to show the difference between the two stories. I also liked the lighting and the extra sets that were used.

Do You Have A Moment 
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

Dinner
Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10