I’ve never been a fan of EXO, but I did unashamedly love their music during the “MAMA” and “Wolf” eras when they were at their weird, creative peak.
Everything since then has been fine (“Call My Baby” ended up hooking me), but it rarely sticks and I always feel like I’m the wrong target market for this group. EXO’s music is good, but it’s only great if you’re young enough to have an unhealthy crush on one of the members.
Their new album, an EXODUS repackage called Love Me Right, has about four or so new tracks, two of which I care about–“Love Me Right” and “Tender Love.”
Both songs mirror current American pop trends –the resurgence of Nile Rogers, classic disco and funk– and seamlessly weaves them all together with an extra dollop of the vintage Max Martin bubblegum they served on “Call Me Maybe.”
“Love Me Right” has all the hooks, bells, and whistles required of a big SM single, but it’s the more sophisticated “Tender Love” that delivers the real magic for me.
Those Chic guitar riffs and disco keys are just divine, but it’s the little twists that really make it stand out; the electronic beeps after the hook, or the bizarre rap breakdown with crashing hi-hats and distorted sound bites.
It also doesn’t hurt that “Tender Love” sounds exactly like something SHINee would do.
Take a listen to both tracks below.