Please note: This is an update to the previous post about EX’ACT; the audio stream has been updated as well.
This may be a first for us–an EXO album we have no problem listening to all the way through
The group has upped their profile with this album. After some line-up changes and the chance to work on solo tracks for SM Station, the members seem to have come back together more musically cohesive than ever. The harmonies on this album are strong from beginning to end and each member distinguishes himself vocally when he solos, making them feel like more than just vocal clones with different, pretty faces. The production has wavered a little in spots as some songs are more generic sounding than others, but the vocals make that a little easier to deal with.
The biggest and most welcomed surprise has been a massive improvement on the lyrical front. We never expect Korean and Chinese lyrical construction to be exactly what it would be in English, but EXO has put out a lot of incoherence in their run. This time around, though, it seems that there was a desire to not just have a hit based on production and dancing, but on some solid themes as well.
Update: Our review of the album really hasn’t changed a lot because, despite the addition of new tracks, this album is still pretty much the same. The new single Lotto is aurally infectious, but all that autotune was wholly unnecessary for a group that has increasingly shown improvement on their vocals and tone. Can’t Bring Me Down is okay, but it fits right in with Cloud 9 and Heaven and is somewhat forgettable. The Monster (Remix) seems like a bit of a cop-out as far as adding something new as it doesn’t improve on the original track and feels like it was added just to make sure there were four new tracks instead of three.
If there is anything to take away from the new tracks is She’s Dreaming, which is lovely sounding in both the production and vocals department. Both versions are a great listen, but we have to go for the Chinese version just a little bit more. The softened consonants and flowing vowels make this that much more of a smooth jam and absolutely sends us over the edge with joy.
Our favorites are Monster, White Noise, and One and Only, and She’s Dreaming. The most skippable tracks are Heaven, Can’t Bring Me Down, and Cloud 9 due to their generic they sound in comparison to everything else.