EXO - 'Lotto' (repackage album)
2. Lucky One
4. Artificial Love
5. Can't Bring Me Down
6. Cloud 9
8. She's Dreaming
9. White Noise
10. One and Only
11. They Never Know
13. Monster (LDN Noise Creeper Bass Remix)
If EXO had experimented a bit with the groovy "Lucky One" and given a nod to their signature sound with "Monster," then "Lotto" would be considered a far, far deviation from either track.
'EX'ACT's repackage album 'Lotto' features four new tracks, including an auto-tune laden title track of the same name, a bombastic, declarative track titled "Can't Bring Me Down," a softer R&B number titled "She's Dreaming," and a remix of "Monster."
"Lotto" may be a deviation from the group's previous releases, but that doesn't automatically render the track original. Like I did for "Lucky One" (and 'EX'ACT' as a whole), I applaud EXO for experimenting with different genres, inching slowly but surely away from the tween heartthrob image of their earlier days. I mean, it is an appropriate new direction as the members are either well into their adulthood/young adulthood. A concept like "Growl" wouldn't be too fitting anymore. However, "Lotto," for all its maturity, was not the best that EXO could have given its fans who were dearly anticipating this repackage album.
Now, before me you curse me and all my future posterities, hear me out. "Lotto" isn't a terrible track; in fact, I could bump to this track all day thanks to its sick, slick synthesized melody, the "WHOAA OHH OHH OH" in the chorus that immediately gets stuck in your membrane, the oscillating electronic drum sequences, and the crafty usage of auto-tune to lend the track a modern hip-hop/trap vibe. The song immediately reminded of Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, Jeremih, Fetty Wap, YG...basically lots of artists that dabble in trap music. "Lotto" is pretty much SM's response to Chris Brown's "Loyal," Chris Brown and Tyga's "Ayo," YG's "My Nigga/"Don't Tell 'Em," and Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen." It's like those songs had a baby and birthed "Lotto." It isn't necessarily a bad thing to emulate a popular sound...but it isn't exactly original either. When Chanyeol started rapping I was like, "Since when did T-Pain speak Korean??!"
I won't dismiss the song just for its lack of originality, however, because EXO pull off the concept quite flawlessly (more of which will be discussed in my MV review). Plus "Can't Bring Me Down" is just an awesome song. It's got hints of the familiar EXO sound: heavy, imposing, nearly overwhelming synths. Except, this time around, the song accentuates the bass more, resounding and reverberating in not only in your ears but also deep in the pit of your gut. It's not an entirely displeasing sensation, and your body ends up entrusting itself to the addictive tune. On the other hand, "She's Dreaming" was a bit disappointing and this is coming from someone who loved EXO's R&B tracks like "What If..." "My Answer," and "Love Love Love," which contained The Isley Brothers and Earth Wind & Fire influences. I actually didn't understand why "She's Dreaming" failed to strike a chord with me for all its smooth R&B croonings and harmonies. Perhaps it just struck me as too plain as compared to EXO's better R&B numbers in their previous albums. I actually preferred the repackage album's more in-your-face tracks like "Lotto," "Bring Me Down," and even the remake of "Monster" over "She's Dreaming." It can't be helped, I guess. This style of R&B coming from EXO, I'm just not used to. In good time, the track might well grow on me.
Before I begin my review, can I just sneak in how goooood EXO look in this MV? Like damn, they be rocking the hell out of them formal wear! *ahem* Okay, not let me get back to the MV. The set and colors for "Lotto" were reminiscent of "Monster," featuring a vintage color gradient with mostly dark hues. The choreography is unlike anything that I've ever seen from EXO: incredibly fluid and dare I say more sensual than their previous choreographies. The teen angst is gone, replaced by a lustful craze that can only come from their induction into young adulthood.
After watching the MV the first time around, I was confused as to why the boys were going up against law enforcement. Then I realized that EXO seem to be involved in some sort of illegal underground gambling syndicate, burning that cash to save "Lady Luck," who, for unknown reasons, was trussed up to the ceiling like a plucked turkey. It made for a cool visual image, but it left me scratching my head in confusion. Was this lady luck in cahoots with the law the entire time or did she get captured in the end like the rest of EXO? The panning of the camera from scene to scene made it a bit difficult to follow the plot.
The concept for "Lotto" deviates far, far from EXO's past concepts, and as I've mentioned before, the boys are ready to embrace a new image and sound. That was clear enough with the release of "Lucky One," which, in a way, served as a prequel to "Lotto." Both are just so...different from the EXO we know, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. EXO embrace this new side of them with welcome arms, and they even pull it off to an impeccable tee. The song may not have been all that original, but at least EXO rocked the concept with a confidence and sure style, much like they do with any other concept that is handed to them.