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Baekhyun (EXO) ‘City Lights’ Album Review

· B

Baekhyun is one of EXO’s best vocalists, dancers and all-round stars. He is EXO’s third soloist, and it’s safe to say that all EXO-Ls have been filled with anticipation for his solo debut. The concept of this album was EXACTLY what we needed. Whilst Chen’s solo debut earlier this year satisfied all our ballad cravings, City Lights gave us the sexy, Rnb and trap inspired EXO that we deserve.

UN Village has a smooth and groovy beat, with that polished Giriboy/AOMG production feel. Baekhyun’s vocals are sexy and charismatic, as per usual. In the chorus, he teases with his falsetto, and his vocalisations are next level. The most interesting thing about this song is how laidback it is – it manages to be upbeat and catchy without being too in-your-face. The songwriters got this track spot on, and Baekhyun’s delivery was perfect as well.

“In Hannam-dong UN Village hill
Looking at the moon on the hill
You & me”

When I heard the classic “I need a Cha Cha beat boy” at the beginning of Stay Up, I was both excited and surprised. Whenever you hear producer Cha Cha Malone’s signature, you know you’re about to get a mega bop, and the combination of K-Hip Hop beat and Baekhyun’s classic Kpop voice was almost too much for me to handle. I loved the marriage of the two genres, and Baekhyun’s incredible vocals pulled it all together. I liked Beenzino’s rap too, though it felt it was too short.

Betcha has to be my favourite non-title track on this album. This song has a banging beat, and super catchy chorus. I loved Baekhyun’s attempt at almost rapping (if you’ve heard EXO-CBX’s discography, then you know the man can rap). This song is one of those classic hip hop bops, but with the exciting addition of Baekhyun’s voice. A+

The next track, Ice Queen, is slower paced and more crooning than the other tracks. There are lots of trap elements in the instrumental this time, which fits perfectly with the overall theme of the album. This song will put you into a sexy trance; sit back and enjoy the ride.

Diamond is a sensual and jazzy track which showcases Baekhyun’s emotive voice perfectly. He seems unrestrained in his vocalisations and emotions this time, and the rawness is much appreciated. This song gives me strong EXO vibes, as it has a rich texture with many layers.

The final track on this album, Psycho, has a completely different feel to the other tracks. The instrumental immediately creates a sinister atmosphere, making this song feel dark, sexy and more serious. Listening to this song is a truly cinematic experience, and it feels like it could be a super villain’s theme tune. This just shows off Baekhyun’s versatility as an artist.

I had very high expectations for this album, but given SM Entertainment’s flawless track record when it comes to producing top class albums, as well as EXO’s unrivalled talent, I knew I would not be disappointed. City Lights is everything that I wanted from Baekhyun, and I can’t wait to see what he will do in the future.

Kpop Review Café’s Overall Ranking: 6/10

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Written by Jessica