EXO – 'OBSESSION'
1. Obsession *Title
5. Ya Ya Ya
6. Baby You Are
7. Non Stop
8. Day After Day
9. Butterfly Effect
10. Obsession (Chinese Version)
Legendary boy group EXO has just dropped their 6th album, 'Obsession.' But not every member was on this album, as some are doing solo work and others are in the military. So we have a lineup of Chen, Suho, Chanyeol, Baekhyun, Kai, and Sehun.
The title track "Obsession" launches with an auto-tuned repetitive phrase. Then they jump right into the club-banger. It wears its EDM/trap influences on its sleeve. All of which makes it even more awesome. It's far more interesting than their last two croon-heavy hits. What is it about? They're telling you to ditch your sense of entitlement and not define yourself by being a fan. They're saying that one fandom isn't better than another. "Trouble" is an interesting beast. It starts out a stripped-down tune, the vocals echoing through the track, and gets noisier as it goes on. Squelching synths are trotted in during the chorus, increasing my fascination with this one. "Jekyll" has an ominous opening, undeniably synth-heavy. It's seductive in a different way than "Love Shot," with that ever-present undercurrent of danger here. I like the fierce chants here. "Groove" brings us back to more familiar territory. It's soft R&B, with falsetto and tenderer vocals than what we've heard so far. It's an okay song, but a bit too predictable. It's almost a buzzkill after the first two tracks.
"Ya Ya Ya" begins with the same kind of vocal sampling we heard in "Obsession." It develops into a very different tune, a more playful track than the others. I like it. It's not groundbreaking, but it injects a little livelier mood into the LP. Beginning with a guitar as a backing track, "Baby You Are" quickly turns into a more disco-inspired song. I like this one a lot. It reminds me of classic EXO, with more modern elements thrown in. A piano introduces "Non Stop," and then it transforms into an R&B tune. I like it better than "Groove" as it is more upbeat. It's a respectable club-banger with some brass. Not bad at all.
They revert back to soft pop in "Day After Day." More laid-back than some of the other tunes in here, this one is a great showcase for their vocals. It's a nice change-up and a breath of fresh air. The opening of "Butterfly Effect" sounds like it was sampled backward. After that, it turns into a bog-standard pop song. No surprises here, but a decent way to close out the album. "Obsession" (Chinese Version) is just the same song but in Chinese. The same backing track, same beats, vocals re-recorded in a different language, blah blah blah. You know the drill. If you liked "Obsession," you might like this one.
Thematically, the album is nothing to write home about. Mostly it's about love and its many colors, whether about longing, falling deeply in love, love at first sight, etc. Notable exceptions include "Jekyll," about inner demons and "Obsession," talking about entitled fans. But sonically it's awesome, with techno influences, autotuned voices as part of the music, and slick beats. The production values on this are unarguably high. Good on them.
The "Obsession" MV works on a couple of levels. One, there are all sorts of cool things going on, and secondly, the boys are grappling with their doppelgangers.
For the doppelganger storyline, it starts from the very beginning, as evil versions of EXO emerge from a summoning circle. Sehun fires arrows at his clone, Baekhyun puts on a mask and attempts to vanquish his clone with a sword, and Chanyeol's doppelganger glares at him with menacing glowing eyes. And there's an absolutely red hot sequence where two of them face-off, and lightning dances around their hands as they make contact.
And there's the dancing. During those sequences, they move purposefully, with confidence born of 7 years in the biz. They totally kill it here.
Everything else that's going on has to do with making them look cool, whether it's laying on a motorcycle, standing in colored lights, or dancing around in a crop top showing off their chocolate abs. Regardless of the fan service, I can say this MV grabbed my attention and kept me watching.
MV SCORE: 8.6
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0