Album Reviews

  

[Review] EXO 'XOXO'

June 3, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

XOXO

RELEASED

June 3rd, 2013

LABEL

SM Entertainment

SINGLES

Wolf

overall score8.7

Community score
366 votes

8.7
About allkpop ratings

Production 10

Concept 8

Tracklisting 8

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by contagion
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Calling "Wolf" controversial would be an understatement. When the demo leaked back in February, netizens' responses ranged from outright hatred to claims that the demo must be the work of an ambitious anti. Even hardcore EXO fans, rather than trying to defend it, claimed that it couldn't really be their comeback single. Few months later, the full, official version of "Wolf" was finally released - is it the disaster some feared it would be?

 

In short, no. Much of the song is completely brilliant, pulling together the strong vocals from "MAMA", the dark, urban style of "Two Moons", and bringing in the dubstep influences that were teased pre-debut but never fully realized in EXO's first album. It's a lot of stuff to try to cram together into one song, but, the composition and production come together beautifully. At its best, "Wolf" feels like something out of an epic, modern rock opera, much like Girls' Generation's "I Got A Boy". Is it conventional pop? No. Is it radio-friendly? No. But that's not what EXO's about. 

 

 

K-Pop is now so heavily performance based that it only makes sense that acts would chose to promote songs that are made to be seen and not just heard, but with a crowded, competitive market, it's incredibly risky to take on something as dramatic and theatrical as "Wolf". Before their official debut, when EXO released "History" and "What Is Love?", they proved that they could do K-Pop the way we all know it and then their official debut with "MAMA" showed us that they didn't have to. They're good enough that they can throw out the rule book of conventional pop wisdom and be on top the game.


"Wolf"'s tight, complex production may turn into a problem for the group when it comes to live performances. "Wolf" would be a stretch for even the most stable vocal group to reproduce live- add in the crazy intense choreography on top of that vocal challenge .This is K-Pop, however, where lip-synching is often overlooked as long as the performance is good. This song's other problem is the fact that the drawn out shout-chanting and nasal cries of "saranghaeyo!" in the pre-chorus and chorus are, at best, out of place and distracting. When these lines are layered under other vocal lines, they work just fine. On their own, however, they take away from what is otherwise an amazing song. 

  


The rest of the songs on the album are all good in their own right- the long, long awaited "Baby Don't Cry", "Let Out the Beast" and "My Lady" don't disappoint. Fans will recognize these from their many debut teasers last year, but their inclusion here proves appropriate as a segue from their debut mini-album to 'XOXO'.

  

 

 New songs "Black Pearl" (also showcased in their many debut teasers) and "Heart Attack" are particularly interesting. They're dark and unconventional ballads that really mesh well with and expand upon EXO's dark and mythical motif. 

 

 

The remainder of the tracks buffer the album with a lighter sound. "3.6.5." and "Peter Pan" echo western pop styling whereas are "Don't Go" and "Baby" could've been great sung by SHINee or Super Junior.

 

EXO may have taken a risk by waiting so long for a comeback when 2013's rookie trend was to come back soon and often. With a comeback this strong, however, I think we can all agree that 'XOXO' was worth the wait.

DON'T MISS

Comments

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justforfunsies
· Posted September 8, 2013 @ 3:20 am

XOXO<3

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airplanemandy
· Posted July 31, 2013 @ 5:02 am

IM NOT GOING TO SLEEP TONIGHT! I MUST WATCH THIS!

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SamKang
· Posted July 19, 2013 @ 3:08 am

Yess... WOlf is like a genius song for me.

I love all songs in the album, like freakin seriously.

Don't Go is the best for me. 

my lady, baby don't cry, reached my expectation.

But i have a problem with My Lady's reff part. But still a great song.

I don't have any idea, that let out the beast and black pearl will become a nice, catchy, song. Surprised.

Peterpan is really cool, i can feel something like fairytale, like in the peterpan movies.

I agree, Heart Attack really interesting, I love this song, the reff part. Thriller

Baby, is cute

365 i dont really like this one that much, because i can feel 1D here. But they can pull out this song nicely, become the brightest song in this album.


Overall 9,5 out of 10 for me


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popcrunch
· Posted June 19, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

they got moves

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hissana
· Posted June 15, 2013 @ 5:28 am

I don't have words to explain what i feel... when i heard about Exo's comback i was like crying, so much time... and then "wolf" was showed and after i watched and listened to this i thought 'waiting was worth it'. This album is totally amazing! Everything is in my heart so i don't have anything more to say, because I just can't describe this. I'm sure all Exotics feel the same! EXO fighting! Exotics fighting too!

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aiko993
· Posted June 13, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

I know some people will have a different opinion than my own, but honestly, for me, I LOVED this album. I felt like all that waiting was totally worth it. I enjoyed and love every single song on the album. Congrats boys!!

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yukotan
· Posted June 13, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

This album was fantastic! I was a bit disappointed with 3.6.5 but I think that the other songs were AMAZING! *O*

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jnlsuju2
· Posted June 13, 2013 @ 5:48 am

I'm in love with the whole album, to be honest! It's on replay whenever I use my iPod + open iTunes and akjsksjdffsd I really love all the songs.

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Roses-are-not-always
· Posted June 13, 2013 @ 3:40 am

Waiting a year for EXO's comeback album was so worth it! I love the album! XD

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chocochoissa
· Posted June 12, 2013 @ 7:54 am

EXO stans had been waiting for this album. And I'm glad that those songs they used in their teasers came out reallllllly well. Baby Don't Cry was heavenly~ My Lady is pure pleasure to the ears. 

And the best thing about Wolf, EXO is really one. Everybody was included, no EXO-K no EXO-M, just pure EXO, just two versions. EXO, fighting! 

#ialsodohopetograbtheirsignedalbum

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baeksoo
· Posted June 11, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

i'm looking forward to their drama version!!

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aegomonina-am
· Posted June 11, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

I'm totally in agreement with this review. I love the song "Wolf," but I really dislike the high-pitched "I love you" in the chorus. The song is perfect except for that minor issue--which is why I still love to listen to the demo version, for it's not as high-pitched. As for my favorite track on the album, I would have to say "Black Pearl." That song is just pure perfection--both the Chinese and Korean versions. Overall, the album is a pretty good start for a rookie group, though a few of the tracks could have been replaced with some of the songs from their teasers.

@Armani_Jjang

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jennyshi
· Posted June 10, 2013 @ 11:24 pm

The album was amazing! i was never actually into EXO until i heard this album. Now, i am completely into them! 

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kurushijiu
· Posted June 10, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

Yep! Their album was DEFINITELY worth the wait. (((And I hope I could win the signed album)))

jennyshi
· Posted June 10, 2013 @ 10:24 pm
Good Luck!!! i am hoping too!
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whatislove
· Posted June 10, 2013 @ 9:59 am

The whole album is amazing! I really love 'Baby Don't Cry' and '365'! It seemed forever for them to comeback, but this was really worth the wait! EXO hwaiting!!! <3

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mitsuki10
· Posted June 10, 2013 @ 9:26 am

All songs are amazing, really like Wolf and Don't Go xoxo <3 EXO forever

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exotichyun
· Posted June 10, 2013 @ 9:14 am

It's almost impossible to choose a favorite song from this album. It's filled with amazing tracks, and surely "worth the wait" <3

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moniii
· Posted June 10, 2013 @ 9:00 am

Amazing album. Best album of the year!

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mrchl-mndz
· Posted June 10, 2013 @ 3:19 am

THE SONGS REALLY MELTS MY HEART <333333

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exothermc
· Posted June 10, 2013 @ 3:12 am

the whole concept of the album is amazing! it's definitely worth the wait.