[Album Review] What A Life (1st Mini Album) – EXO-SC

While it does seem like I was very unimpressed with some title tracks, the title track ends up being on small factor when it comes to deciding which albums to review. Instead, I do a quick listen through the album to hear what it has to offer. If I am satisfied there is enough to write about, I put it on the list. This is the case for EXO-SC’s album. The title track (What A Life) wasn’t to my standard. But a number of the tracks on the album were. And hence, we find ourselves here today to have a run through the album, which shares the same name as the title track. Let’s see if you agree with my thoughts!

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What A Life Album Cover

1..What A Life (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of What A Life. (4/10)

2. Just Us 2 (있어 희미하게) (ft. Gaeko from Dynamic Duo) – With the addition of Gaeko in this track, there is no doubt that EXO-SC would continue their hip-hop venture with Just Us 2. And I think the hip-hop genre was heard loudly and clearly in this track, which I think is fantastic. I am still not exactly sure about Chanyeol and Sehun’s approach with their rapping. It just isn’t exciting for me. Though, they do manage to mellow out the song. My favourite bit is Gaeko’s chorus. His voice just seems to extend beyond the primary duo and I really like the twisty accent that he finishes with his lines. There is a lot more colour in the chorus, which I really like. And surprisingly, this colour speaks volumes, as I think this is my favourite track (with a music video) from this album from EXO-SC. (8/10)

3. Closer To You (부르면 돼)Click here to read the full review for Closer To You. (6/10)

4. Roller Coaster (롤러코스터) – Something I suspect is coming true. I am starting to like the tracks that aren’t getting the spotlight. Roller Coaster is a ‘return-to-form’, for me (at least the hip-hop that I know of when it comes to KPOP). I find their delivery a little more captivating. The instrumental, which is does feature that common xylophone synth sound, is a little more dynamic as well. The best part has to the flute-featuring chorus. The ‘Express Yourself’ shout was very subtle yet very memorable. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few people found it plain. But I actually thought the song was very really cool. (9/10)

5. Borderline (선) – It is a short one. The delivery of the lines is a little plain, like their primary title track. Yet there is an intriguing factor to the song that manages to ‘save’ the song from plainness. The instrumental is very minimal. Yet I would consider this to be an upbeat song due to the fast tempo from the tapping in the song. There is a little more to the instrumental with the brief pauses and the periodic wail-like sounds (which was okay but fairly plain). But other than that, thanks to the instrumental, the song manages to speak volumes. (7/10)

6. Daydreamin’ (夢) – I guess to make up for the short preceding song, Daydreamin’ is extended to be a little longer. I like the guitars in the R&B styled instrumental. It gives off a nice atmosphere. There is a bit more to the instrumental as there are many sections, such as the classically styled ending. But they all come together quite nicely. I also like the member’s voices in this song. There are very different textures thanks to the use of autotune, which all assisted the song in becoming very soothing and calming. In summary, one of the better songs of the album. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7/10

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What A Life Teaser Image
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[Review] Closer To You – EXO-SC

When EXO-SC launched their debut with What A Life, I did not know that there were multiple title tracks for their debut. I did tweet about it once I found out (Follow my Twitter @kpopreviewed). But I haven’t been able to sit down and review these tracks until today. In conjunction with What A Life, EXO-SC also released Closer To You and Just Us 2 (which I will not be reviewing separately. You can read my thoughts on the song in tomorrow’s album review!).

To me, Closer To You follows What A Life with its ‘uneventful instrumental’. So, the song already starts off as pretty forgettable, which might not be the opinion you are seeking, especially how I labelled What A Life with the exact same description. But there are differences that make Closer To You stand out a little more. The rapping and vocals from both Sehun and Chanyeol do give off a good impression. To me, there is a little more expression in the way they deliver their lines throughout the song, giving a slight appeal.  There is a little more oomph to it, which makes it even more appealing. It does stay stagnant for the most part (i.e. neutral gear). But it felt better than their primary track. Once again, the hook wasn’t as strong. But I felt the melody did have a nice ring to it. I think the song could have been even more appealing if the two went an extra mile in any department within the song. If I had to prefer one track over the other, it is definite that Closer To You comes out on top.

I thought the music video for this track was a lot more interesting. Both Chanyeol and Sehun are completely separated throughout the video, minus the very small outro at the end. So the alternating concept was actually quite cool. The song is about wanting to get closer to their crush, going lengths to call a driver so that they can be together in the back seat. And naturally, the video shows both members in the car (both back and front), along with them at the dinner table outside in the dark. The darkness makes the video slightly aesthetic, which I think helps ‘bold’ the members in the video (despite them wearing black and white, which does blend them into the background).

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.8/10

[Review] What A Life – EXO-SC

I really hate to be a broken record with the way I start off these reviews. But we have seen a lot of EXO lately. Just not as a group. Instead, EXO has been promoting continuously as stand-alone members, making their solo debuts and releasing special singles before enlisting into the military. However, today we enter very exciting territory, with the debut of a brand new subunit from the group. Consisting of Chanyeol and Sehun, EXO-SC makes their debut with What A Life. The pair have previously come together for the SM Station release, We Young, back in 2018.

What A Life delves into the hip-hop genre, the genre which heavily uses rapping in its songs. It is a pretty laidback and loose track, whilst other hip-hop tracks tend to be more hard-hitting and heavy. So I guess there is some potential in the track. But that potential isn’t referenced in any other part of the track. The instrumental is probably one of the most uneventful ones I have ever heard in KPOP. They just used the same synthetic xylophone synth thing over and over again. It just got really dry quickly. The rapping and vocals felt quite monotone. I had expected there to be some sort of change-up or development. But as the instrumental kept on going, the vocals and rapping just didn’t deviate from that tone. The song also didn’t have much of a hook. The main repetition of What A Life during the chorus was lacklustre. Put all of these elements together and you get the What A Life package. Maybe the song will grow on me if I was to remain hopeful. But as I continuously replay the song to write this review, I am growing more tired of it.

I am personally going to say the exact same thing regarding the music video. It is also a very dry video. It looked like a few things were thrown together to make what seems to be a ‘potential hip-hop music video’. Just the way these things were utilised in the video looked very dreary and uneventful. The models throughout the video don’t add to the video’s content. The sets just acted like backdrops chosen randomly. I also didn’t feel the hazy camera filter they had on, which made very look gloomy.

I can’t find a proper live performance for the comeback yet (i.e. showcase). However, EXO-SC did perform the track at the recent EXO concert (over the weekend). Not much dancing from the duo, who focused on the live aspect of the performance. Fair enough. In the music video, there seemed to be a little more choreography, which I think looked good. So I guess we have to see what the music shows will look like.

Song – 4/10
Music Video – 5/10
Performance – 5/10 [Will comeback to update. I promise!!]
Overall Rating – 4.5/10