EXO is already a dynamic group, but SM took the time to shower us more in the talent of three members. EXO-CBX consists of Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin and they slayed the game with their 1st mini album 'Hey Mama' and hit track of the same name.
As expected 'Hey Mama!' is a flirtatious track sugar coated with masculine charms and lyrics to match. Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin were excellent choices to take on this project because their flexible voices are playful and complement the song's demeanor. See the boys get wild in the MV below!
The MV isn't necessarily eye-catching but it does make for some good eye candy. The boys look well-dressed in their various business attire as they are quickly finishing up their work so they can enjoy a night of debauchery. Similar to Dal Shabet's "Fri, Sat, Sun.,"
"Hey Mama!" is all about escape the routine and using all that restless energy to get wild with the person you can't stop thinking about! Lyrics like "I don't have any plans yet, But my feelings are high" and "That moon calls us so badly, What you think about that?" showcase their desire to party til sundown - er, sunrise.
"Hey Mama!" has a sweet electric guitar and jack-swing influence. The song's low-toned instrumental paired with an upbeat tempo take over your senses and easily suck you in. The refrain becomes louder and the instrumental comes alive with fun clapping and "whoo-ing" alongside other ad-libs. The English lyrics are cleanly pronounced and they still offer that oh-so-familiar K-Pop English we adore with the lines "Every day it's a party day." Pure gold!
While the MV displays it here and there, the live performances really show off their sweet dance moves. Smooth like butter but sharp like a knife, their dances moves are on point, creative (aside from the chorus) and the boys really finish things nicely with their swag. Fans can agree, we always enjoy and look to EXO for having some on-point choreography, and they didn't disappoint.
The rest of the album isn't a letdown either as it opens up with a real fun, zany club song titled "The One." Filled with mixed beats and synthesized vocals, this dance track is a real banger!
"The One" is boisterous without being obnoxious and really highlights each member's vocals in a lively way. I love when tracks have conversations thrown into the mix because it seems more real as if coming to life before your eyes. It enhances the whimsical side this album is strongly utilizing.
The futuristic jack-swing sounds continue through their third track, "Rhythm After Summer." The song has a strong rhythm but isn't really summery, just more energized and exciting. The song has a unique choice of additional sounds because the listener can pick out a few traces of disco influences. SM is doing a great job of recycling musical genres with today's sounds as this album has uniformity and power similar to SHINee's "1 of 1."
After all the fun vibes, EXO-CBX takes a chill pill and sets the mood with "Juliet." Like the rest of the album, the funky jack-swing influence is being used in abundance as it bounces back and forth between mid range to lower tempos. The electric guitar, snares of the drum and shimmering effects make "Juliet" a lovely piece. The best part is the noticeable music break into a trap-like beat alongside the repetition of shouting "Juliet, Juliet."
Last but not least, the album takes a gentle bow as it comes to a close with "Cherish." More charming and less noisy, this song is simplistic but enjoyable. The song is every girl's weakness as they boys become sweet gentlemen with their lyrical sweet nothings. Even the bridge is kryptonite with lines like, "You shine like a miracle, you're just so beautiful.I guess I must've wandered so long just so I could meet you in the end."
If you need a sweet pick me up, this song will have you feeling bright and cheery in a snap with the uplifting instrumental and beautiful falsettos from Baekhyun.
In the end, EXO CBX was no failed subunit! The boys crafted one heck of an album and really stole the show with "Hey Mama!" Although boy group songs, like girl group songs, might come off a bit generic at times, the 'Hey Mama' album mixed together the right ingredients to keep listeners interested and addicted. I look forward to hearing more wonderful tracks from this subunit soon!