Featuring the bouncy single What U Need?, EXO’s Lay releases his first solo EP and it is a lot more R&B than we were expecting.
Full of slow jams that really show of the singer’s ability to entrance an audience with his tone, this is a bit of a babymaker. While most of the tracks aren’t pure R&B (there are a lot of pop elements) and a LOT of autotune on tracks like Relax, there is a lot here to enjoy. There is the high possibility that some of his fans will be turned off thanks to the fact that many of the songs slow down and don’t fall into the high-energy realm that we expect from EXO, but it does separate the singer for the pack and allows him to have a personality outside of his group.
The biggest issue seems to be the vocals (there are a few issues with the lyrics, but we think we have a bad translation from the original Mandarin). Lay’s natural tone is actually a win for him and, despite not having the deepest voice, he does sing with gravitas and confidence. The problem is that there is just too much autotune leveling out the character in his voice and making him sound like “everyone else.” When he does let himself shine, the songs are really enjoyable; but the autotune moments can be a little too long and sometimes make you tune out.
Our favorite tracks are Relax and Lose Control. The most skippable track is the acoustic version of MYM. While we actually like is as a standalone better than the original, in the sequence on the album and the tonal shift of the production makes listening to it a little jarring.