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[Review] EXO 'XOXO'

By contagion   Monday, June 3, 2013   57,725   77   240



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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.

  1. EXO
  2. xoxo
  3. album review
  4. wolf

justforfunsies Sunday, September 8, 2013


airplanemandy Wednesday, July 31, 2013


SamKang Friday, July 19, 2013

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

popcrunch Wednesday, June 19, 2013

they got moves

hissana Saturday, June 15, 2013

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!

aiko993 Thursday, June 13, 2013

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!!

yukotan Thursday, June 13, 2013

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

jnlsuju2 Thursday, June 13, 2013

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.

Roses_are_not_always Thursday, June 13, 2013

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

chocochoissa Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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! ;


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