【review/rate】exo-cbx / blooming days

released 2018, SM entertainment.

I will preface this review by saying i’m not really into current korean pop trends and prefer to keep it out of my regular listening, but I’ve always been a big EXO fan.  The second EP from the vocal subunit comprised of members Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin (properly named EXO-CBX, though I won’t give them any points for creativity here), is so fantastic and meticulously crafted that I have to give it some attention though. 『Monday blues』 is a midtempo opening track, and usually this is a demerit from me as I prefer upbeat introductions, but the vocals and harmonies really carry this one.  All the boys are on point here and I actually really enjoyed it,  production was also on point.

Title cut『Blooming day』 is an amalgamation of classic funk, disco, and modern dance music.  The way it flawlessly mishmashes these styles into one coherent piece of music is honestly dazzling!  I can’t get enough of it, and the “Can I be your boyfriend” hook is instantly attractive to the ears.  I can see this song being a staple live song for years to come.

The 80’s synthpop ditty 『Sweet dreams!』 keeps the flow steady and has it’s production firmly set in the midst of the Video Killed the Radio Star boom.  It’s a little bit of a novelty, but again, CBX’s vocal prowess elevates the song to something memorable.

Now we have a blatant offense in tracklisting order. Slapping『Thursday』between the previous track and 『Vroom Vroom』 kills all of the flow this EP had and I honestly dislike it being apart of the EP in general.  It’s very well known that I dislike balladry,  but the nerve to throw this song between two of  the best upbeat numbers on the tracklisting is just irritating, and the song itself wasn’t very amazing.  Sorry vocal line, y’all didn’t give me the meat and potatoes that I needed to consider that ballad a good one.

Back on 『Vroom Vroom』 however,  it’s pretty cool, if not a little short.  But the engrishy pronunciation of the title as “broom broom” took me out a bit.  It’s still a bonafide bop though, so don’t let the language barrier get in the way!

『Playdate』 sounds like korean drama background music fluff with a strong chorus and twinkly production that I definitely bobbed my head to.  Chen definitely carries the vocal duties here, with some brilliant falsetto and ad libbing that really give the song depth.  I wish I heard Xiumin in more than just chorus though, but maybe I’m just not as familiar with the group’s voices as I previously was.

Ending song『Lazy』, its structure reminiscent of the r&b stylings of the early 90’s but also maintaining that 80’s production that was abundant throughout the duration of the EP,  brings things to a close on a bit of a cutesy note.  While I definitely like it, there are some really corny lines in the song that take me out of it, probably due to the delivery of them.  It feels like a retread of 『Playdate』, except slower and not as catchy as that song.

EXO-CBX’s second effort picked a sound and stuck to it, and in typical SM fashion, Blooming Days has a polish and cohesiveness that you can’t get from many other k-pop releases these days.  The boys all carried their weight in singing duties, and while i’m still not sold on Baekhyun as a lead (his pitch has never been pleasing to my ear since EXO’s debut years ago), he’s come pretty far and all members showed their ranges here. If you’re into K-Pop, this mini album should not be missed.

  1. Monday blues ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Blooming Day ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Sweet Dreams! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Thursday ⭐️⭐️
  5. Vroom Vroom ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Playdate ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Lazy ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Must Listen : Blooming Days, Sweet Dreams!
Skip : Thursday

『Blooming days』 is available on all major music outlets.


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