[This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of allkpop.]
1. DUMB DUMB*
3. Don't Let Me Go
7. What You Waiting For*
8. Outta My Head*
*denotes previously released singles
JEON SOMI has officially released her first album, XOXO. With a series of flamboyant and visually gorgeous teasers to garner hype for her comeback, SOMI returns with a whopping 8 songs, 4 of which are brand new songs. The other 4 songs are previously released singles by SOMI prior to this album's release.SOMI opted for "XOXO" to be the obvious title track of XOXO. The song is reminiscent of BLACKPINK's signature chant style, and that may be due to the production credits pointing towards none other than producer, Teddy Park. The song is definitely a Top 40 pop song through and through, though I wouldn't say that's a bad thing for SOMI. I think the song solidifies her ability in an appealing way. "XOXO" may not be the most compelling or even the song with the most depth, but it does its job as an addicting earworm.
SOMI surprises with a track entitled, "Don't Let Me Go." Featuring none other than GIRIBOY, the two artists offer a simple midtempo beat and somewhat predictable lyric progression. The bounce of the song is undoubtedly its strongest point as SOMI's vocals just don't quite cut the track as much as she intends to. Moreover, GIRIBOY's rap doesn't really mesh well with SOMI's singing style- the biggest issue for me. It seems that regardless of the song not having an overall cohesive sound, the chorus still sticks.
"Anymore" begins with an acoustic guitar melody that feels a little reminiscent of Taylor Swift. This stripped-down vocal with a lack of filtering and synthesizers gives us a better idea of SOMI's abilities as a singer, but the overall concept feels a bit Disney Channel in nature. I think that SOMI is aiming to solidify herself as a pop princess with this release, but it's falling short due to the flatness of the song as a whole. Each of her songs has redeeming qualities, but all of them seem to just miss the mark.
"Watermelon" is the last new song on XOXO. Arguably, this is the most impactful song aside from "XOXO" in terms of first impressions. "Watermelon" has an ultra-poppy electronic trap beat and a vocal progression that excites. There's an R&B melody as its chorus, and this mix of genres is the sound that suits SOMI best. She's not straining. She's just performing- a perfect balance. That being said, I'm not sold on SOMI's place as a pop princess with influence and hope that she continues to develop her signature style as she explores her solo career.
Somewhat continuing the concept of her previous single, "DUMB DUMB," SOMI this time has been informed that her boyfriend is cheating on her with another girl. The idol's MV for "XOXO" features a series of acts of revenge against this said boyfriend, including breaking into his house, destroying his stuff, and exploding his house in a fiery show. SOMI's concept is youthful and somewhat juvenile in nature. "XOXO" is vengeful in attitude and risky in fashion choices, featuring SOMI in a number of flamboyant outfits.
MV Score: 7.33
Album Score: 8