[REVIEW] EXO The War - 4th Album

Discussion in 'K-POP' started by shantafanta, Jul 21, 2017.

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Which was your favorite song in the album?

  1. The Eve

    31.0%
  2. Kokobop

    10.3%
  3. What U do?

    3.4%
  4. Forever

    17.2%
  5. Diamond

    10.3%
  6. Touch it

    6.9%
  7. Chill

    3.4%
  8. Walk on Memories

    6.9%
  9. Going Crazy

    10.3%
  1. shantafanta

    shantafanta Rookie

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    Hey guys, I'm going to be doing a review today. I know reviews have already been done on the album so I mean you can read this if you want or don't that's cool too. Ratings for each song are given by averaging the scores of 4 categories out of 10 and the final score is then adjusted to a score out of 100. Keep in mind the vocal rating is not a measure of their prowess but rather how well they match/perform for that particular song. This is just my opinion as a casual listener of EXO. You might also find my reviews are a bit more technical.

    Song 1: The Eve


    I think the song is beautifully composed, and it was my favorite on the album (maybe even one of my favorite EXO songs). Rather than the voices though, the instrumental is what really makes this song. The instrumental is actually rather light with minimalistic piano, drum and guitar elements during the introduction and first verse and a couple more variations are made with the piano and guitar to add character to the pre chorus before the chorus hits. The chorus has a distinctive theme made with some woodwind instrument that is sharp to the ears. I guess you could call it a 'point' theme. Kudos to the composer for being in his/her right mind and having a minimalistic instrumental for the beginning of the song and steadily making it heavier to complement and prepare us for the heavy chorus. It was a great idea to build up emotion and character to the song, and it made the song sound much richer than it would have been without it. I actually found it quite interesting that they used the 'point theme' concept because it's actually something I find more prevalent in JYP songs (like 'Yes No Maybe' and 'Never Ever', to name a few). The voices were all beautifully melded and had great harmony with the song, but I felt like the voices had to be sharper to match with the 'point theme'. They were kind of wimpy actually. The voices needed to be more forceful and deeper to match with the sexy vibe almost the point theme exudes. There was also not much of a build up, no great explosion of emotions that I would expect with such a beautifully crafted instrumental like this one, but it still suited the song well. Perhaps it was the dearth of high notes. Either way, I suggest you listen to this song. I think you need to listen to it a couple times before you start seeing its appeal, and its beautiful. Despite its drawbacks, it's I think an amazing song and I'm giving it extra credit.

    Creativity: 8/10
    Composition/Melody: 8/10
    Instrumental: 10/10
    Vocals: 7/10

    Rating: 8.25/10


    Song 2: Kokobop


    Shimmie shimmie kokobop! The song is a great example of how an instrumental can really make or break a song. The melody is quite nice actually, and sets a kind of laid back, relaxed mood. The lyrics are also softer words that are easier to slur, further adding to that kind of lazy mood that offers a nice contrast to the precise drum beats and strong tropical theme. It made me feel like I was relaxing at a beach. However, the ringing descending and ascending theme at the chorus was shocking to say the least. It wasn't bad by no means, but the instrumental is so strong that it almost drowns out the voices it's supposed to enhance. But the ringing theme actually matched up quite well to the tropical theme when it was mixed at the end. The song has a good mix of sexy, dancy, smooth, and strong. The strong ringing dance theme added an interesting contrast to the lazy tropical theme and livened up an otherwise low-down melody that could have easily gotten boring. The awkward 'hey's' and external sounds didn't help or worsen the track, but I personally thought it would have been better to do away with them. The instrumental is already so heavy that it didn't need the extra accessorizing that is for some reason so popular in KPOP these days. The rap sounded really weird in the song, though. It sounded kind of forced, and for a lack of a better word, tacky. It's very monotone with little flow and only served to make the ringing theme even sharper than it already was. There was definitely more potential for the rap, but I think Sehun's couple lines filled that gap well. Regardless its negatives, the song itself was very creative. I think blending the soft tropical theme with the forceful ringing theme was a brilliant idea. The melodic singing (although I think some more vocal prowess could have been shown) coupled with the dance break was a great way to show off talent as well as show a completely different new side of EXO. The song was flexible and versatile.

    Creativity: 10/10
    Composition/Melody: 6.5/10
    Instrumental: 6/10
    Vocals: 8/10

    Rating: 7.625/10


    Song 3: What U do?


    What U do was a pleasant surprise. It sounded kind of like those cliched songs where the man sings his heart out painfully after his love leaves him. The melody itself was fine, but I think the level of force and drama they put in the chorus didn't seem to match the instrumental very much. Since the instrumental is so light and airy with the guitar I thought they would go for some lighter vocals. However, I think they rescued the chorus well with the orchestral(?) point theme incorporated throughout the song. I think it was smart that they used a light instrumental in the rest of the song to complement the extremely heavy chorus. Other than that, the instrumental was nothing special. It was the cliche build up and climax. The instrumental was simple, and I think it complements the song well. The vocals were fantastic though. It was the right amount of technique, force, and emotion. The voices blended well and the variety of vocals livened up the song. The 'oh' staccato point actually reminded me of a more Western style, as well as the guitar background. Melody was nice but I think the pitch could have been maybe a half key higher. Other than the general lack of creativity (other than the point theme), it was a nice listen. The melody was smooth and pleasing to the ears, but I would say it takes a couple of listens to get used to.

    Creativity: 6/10
    Composition/Melody: 7/10
    Instrumental: 6/10
    Vocals: 10/10

    Rating: 7.25/10



    Song 4: Forever


    Forever is a great song, but it had its set of issues. I loved the variety of the melodic intro and the trumpet instrumental with it, and I thought the quick change was unexpected and caught my attention. The ascending synthesizer sound gave it a futuristic feel that I thought was very interesting. The vocals in this song are very heavy and rich, so a light but creative instrumental to add some quirkiness was essential. The point synthesizer theme was not too heavy on the ears and matched well with the members voices. That said, the rap in this song was amazing. It was a nice contrast to the soulful vocals of Chen, D.O., and Baekhyun and was written very well to the synthesizer beat. I enjoyed both entrances of the rap in the song and felt that they were well-placed. I actually wouldn't have minded if the entire song was just Chanyeol's and Sehun's rap. Even though there were so many elements in this song, I thought they all melded beautifully and did not muddle the song. However, one huge turn off in this song was the random double voice that they liked to put in weird places. It made the song sound extremely tacky, old, and something straight from 2010. I liked the harmony though. The melody was a bit confusing, and some parts were not my cup of tea. Again, it tended to be the parts with the horrid double voice. Despite all that, it was a great song, and if double voices in the wrong places, is not your pet peeve, it's a great listen. The song had a great build up and the vocals themselves were extraordinary. I enjoyed the impressive high notes that displayed without showing off.

    Creativity: 7/10
    Composition/Melody: 4/10
    Instrumental: 8/10
    Vocals: 7/10

    Rating: 6.5/10


    Song 5: Diamond



    The song begins with a beautiful intro of Baekhyun's voice. I like the grand piano background in the beginning but as the song progressed, I felt it did not match well with the Arabian theme that is present throughout the song. It was a stylistic mistake but did not completely ruin the instrumental. The drum beat going from Baekhyun's soulful intro was abrupt and I personally would have put it in a little bit later into the intro, but it was fine as well. The song was actually pretty nicely done. The Arabian theme is not overdone and the guitar that comes later in the song mimicking the Arabian style sounds great and also adds a bit of an oriental feel. The complex melody would have been fine with a simpler instrumental, but the voices and instrumental were so heavy that the complex melody ended up muddling the song a bit. The rap itself was really good. It followed the mainstream rap trend but its staccato contrasted well with the flowy Arabian theme. However, Chanyeol's adlibs were really extra and I honestly couldn't take them seriously with him saying 'shine on' every two seconds. I just burst out laughing. The whispering at the end was a nice touch and I also thoroughly enjoyed the deep chorus, even if it took a couple of listens. Honestly, I liked the song but the only thing preventing me from giving it a higher score was Chanyeol's weird ad libs.

    Creativity: 7.5/10
    Composition/Melody: 6.5/10
    Instrumental: 7.5/10
    Vocals: 6/10

    Rating: 6.875/10


    Song 6: Touch It


    First of all, Touch It was a fantastic song. The composer had a beautiful and light retro instrumental that made it sound really 90's with a modern twist. The beginning harmonious voices in the background matched extremely well with the voices and I thought it was a nice touch. Since the entire song was so light, including the fantastic na-na-na chorus, I wish the vocals were also light to match them. I feel like all of EXO's voices are really rich and heavy, so they didn't completely ruin the song but they didn't completely match it either. I could tell they tried to make them airier though. The instrumental itself was very creative. It was extremely light and the distinct ascension-decension theme added a modern touch to the retro theme. The rap was also fantastic and carried a KPOP 90's vibe. It wasn't overbearing and it complemented the vocals really well, and it didn't annoy me like the last song. The high notes and ad libs were good, but I thought they had a tad too may at the end. It kind of muddled the song for me and I wish they would have just kept the melody nice and light the entire song. I also really liked the bridge and I think that it was very experimental, and it worked out well for them. They definitely rocked the whole modernized retro concept very well.

    Creativity: 6/10
    Composition/Melody: 8/10
    Instrumental: 9/10
    Vocals: 7.5/10


    Rating: 7.625/10

    Song 7: Chill


    The instrumental in this song was extremely experimental. Its point sounds are a high-pitched synthesizer theme and electric sound crackle. At least in this song, the double voices match well and make sense. The instrumental during Xiumin's part, however, had too many elements and really confused me. There were too many things to listen to that I couldn't handle it all at once. The song is house-style vocals with a futuristic style instrumental, that didn't match with some of the older piano and guitar themes at times. DO's voice in this gave me a gigantic shock though. He had that high-pitched rapper sound that I totally wasn't expecting, I even had to recheck that they were actually his lines. I loved how versatile and amazing his voice in this song. I would recommend this song just to hear DO's voice. Even though the song becomes much lighter later after the weird, overbearing instrumental section in Xiumin's part, it still did not live up to the expectations to me. There was absolutely no build up in the song, and the second half/dance break section didn't make any sense and didn't introduce the rap at all. The rap was great, as it was in many of the songs in this album, and matched well with the beat. The song overall was okay, but it felt like it was missing something. Perhaps a drum beat in the back would have made it richer and added more character.

    Creativity: 7/10
    Composition/Melody: 6/10
    Instrumental: 5/10
    Vocals: 6/10


    Rating: 6/10

    Song 8: Walk on Memories


    Walk on Memories was a fantastic song. The instrumental gives of an ethereal feel, and the faint police siren in the beginning was very unique and piqued my interest. Chen's low voice made my entire life, but other than that the song was soft, slow, and nice. The catchy 'do it do it' chorus made an otherwise forgettable song catchy and present in the mind. Another interesting thing about this song was the xylophone theme, which gave the song a house feel, but the lack of a strong drum beat countered it and gave the song a ballad feel instead. The song had a nice build up, and the high notes were amazing and had the right amount of ad libs. The whistle ad libs also added variation without being overbearing. The dreamy, almost nightingale like feeling the song gave me was right in line with the title of reminiscence. The instrumental was nice and did not interfere (rather complemented the song quite well), but I was expecting something more from it that it fell short of delivering.

    Creativity: 6.5/10
    Composition/Melody: 8/10
    Instrumental: 7.5/10
    Vocals: 9/10


    Rating: 7.75/10

    Song 9: Going Crazy


    Going Crazy has a distinct xylophone theme common of house music with violin glissandos in random places, which was an interesting combination to say the least. The glissandos didn't really match the vibe of the song at all, and were too sharp for this particular song. Maybe it was to show the 'going crazy' part? I don't know. Anyway, the melody wasn't too complex, but it showed technical capacity. It was quite nice. However, I didn't really like the first rap with the double voice. It did not match well with the song vibe, but it didn't take away too much. The rap still was overall good. I just felt the melodic rap suited the song much better. I also liked the dance break section; it reminded me of a 2011 boy group theme. The vocals were fantastic and matched extremely well with the song. The EDM sections coupled with the light and ominous piano ending made for a novel contrast.

    Creativity: 6.5/10
    Composition/Melody: 8/10
    Instrumental: 6/10
    Vocals: 9/10


    Rating: 7.375/10

    TOTAL SCORE: 65.25/90 = 72.5/100

    WHICH IS A REALLY HIGH SCORE GUYS! WOOHOO! Overall this album was lit and I will definitely come back to many of these songs.

    Finally done! This review took really really long. Anyways, let me know your thoughts and feelings about the album and if you would like another one. Bye!
     
    #1 shantafanta, Jul 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  2. Taeri

    Taeri 'ㅅ'

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    The songs in this album are the kind of songs that you need to listen to again because there is so much going on .. the instrumentals keep changing through out the songs it's really impressive
    This album direction is something exo does for the first time yet you can feel it's exo
    I think they killed it vocally and aside from the rap in the title track chanyeol really did well in the rest of the songs
    I really love it .. what I personally appreciate about exo is that they don't have filler songs their albums always deliver .. and this album did it for me again
    Still ex'act my fav album
     
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  3. Exbbsy12

    Exbbsy12 Idol

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    Ur right weak on Memories is truly a fantastic song. My fav from the album.
    And this album is my favourite from them too.
     
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  4. shantafanta

    shantafanta Rookie

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    I agree! Memories is a fantastic song. The ratings may seem low but since they are an average of 4 categories, it is actually quite high. I think this is my favorite as well actually!
     
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  5. exhale

    exhale Newbie

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    I have to say. wow. I haven't loved a whole exo album this much since their "xoxo" era.
    the vocals, raps, tone, falsettos, loved it.
    though I don't like the title track at all or all the b-sides, most of them i do, " the eve" standing as my favorite.
    each one is also very refreshing and for someone like me who's not fond of the popular usage of EDM in many songs these days,
    it was simply wonderful
     
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  6. shantafanta

    shantafanta Rookie

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    I LOVED THE EVE! I'm actually playing it on repeat right now. :))
     
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