CHEN – 'APRIL, AND A FLOWER'
2. Beautiful goodbye
3. Sorry not sorry
4. Love words
5. I’ll be there
6. Portrait of you
EXO's Chen just dropped his highly-anticipated debut solo album 'April, and a flower.' The title track topped seven major real-time music charts in Korea including Melon, Genie, Buggs, Soribada, Olleh Music, Momople, and Naver Music. And it doesn't stop there. The album grabbed the No. 1 spot on the iTunes Top Album chart in at least 32 countries. The album includes 6 ballads from the EXO singer, including the title track "Beautiful goodbye."
Okay, every single one of these is a ballad, and all of them sung with piano accompaniment. And every single one of these songs features Chen's soulful voice. Now that's out of the way because that is literally what I'd be writing in my analysis of each song. So, let's get down to brass tacks...
On "Flower," Chen is waiting for spring to come again, and it seems to, by the end, the sun warming his wounded heart. I like how stripped down the music is here -- and they hold back the orchestral flourishes to let his voice tell the story. "Beautiful goodbye" is literally saying he and the other lover are tired of the relationship, and they want to break up. They're asking for time so they can work through it and part nicely. It's pretty and tender. Here he pulls out his falsetto, and his voice seems almost restrained compared to the other tracks.
Singer/songwriter Paul Kim wrote the lyrics for "Sorry not sorry." The title doesn't seem to match the lyrics, though, as Chen sounds quite sorry. I'm not sure they seem to know what that phrase exactly means. It's another breakup song, though, coming on the heels of "Beautiful goodbye." "Love words" was penned by Kenzie, who has loaned her skills to many other SM artists. This song is basically Chen's confession, and he pretty much flat out says "I love you." It's as direct as it gets, and his voice is full of passion as he sings this.
"I’ll be there" features a lot of his soulful singing, up to the very end. He's able to squeeze a lot of emotion out of his pipes, and the song might squeeze a tear out of your eye. I think the song (especially if you listen to the beginning part) is about death. Not ominous death, but an "I'll be in heaven waiting for you" kind of death. On "Portrait of you," Chen talks about spending time drawing a girl, but he misses those moments. The lyrics seamlessly weave the narrative about missing the girl as well. And at the end, that's where the music rises and threatens to drown the singer, but his expressive voice seems up to the task and fights back.
According to a Billboard interview, Chen said he wanted his music to comfort people and make them understand that he got it, that he knew what they were going through. And the man definitely knows how to transition from gentle to stirring in the blink of an eye. It's music meant to heal, and at the end of the day, that's a very good thing.
Chen sings "Beautiful Goodbye" in a barren wasteland in his newest MV.
So here is a deceptively simple MV. Chen is singing, and gradually his veiled pianist and other veiled dancers are revealed, surrounding him. But there's more to that. The trees are blasted, barren of all leaves. His microphone is affixed to a wooden mike stand. And the gal playing the piano is playing in a recessed part of the tree.
The veiled dancers are quite awesome. There's a quiet uncomplicated air about them, but also an aura of mystery. There's majesty in their movements, to boot. And we don't know who they are, but Chen seems unaffected by them. And they might -- just might -- be moving him to sing.
And at the end, we get a single, solitary flower. Well, the album title references a flower, and so does the first track. So, there we get our flower. And it's a good capper to a solemn video. There's no joy here, and it throws us that bittersweet feeling that a breakup should have, a pretty-voiced singer in a bleak and lifeless place.
It's gracefully shot, and definitely, one to watch. If you're a Chen fan, you owe it to yourself to give this one a look.
MV SCORE: 8.3
ALBUM SCORE: 8.3