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EXO – 5th Album ‘Don’t Mess Up My Tempo’ Review

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The kings are back!! EXO-L’s are treated so well with subunit comebacks, solo member’s singles, reality shows and dramas, but DMUMT marks the group’s first full studio album in over a year. DMUMT was certainly worth the wait!

If I had to choose the perfect EXO song, it would be Tempo. It is quite possibly the best song I have EVER heard, as it perfectly combines EXO’s trademark harmonies and vocalisations with a rich texture and exciting raps. It is a very serious song, but the cheeky bed squeaking allows it to maintain a fresh and playful air. In my opinion Chen and Baekhyun really carried the song through (I could listen to the bridge on repeat for hours!). There was never a dull moment in this song, from Sehun’s impressively long rap to Xiumin and Baekhyun’s edgy machine voices – and how can I not mention the shocking Destiny’s Child-esque acapella section! A special mention goes out to Suho’s “Baby girl your morning call makes me flutter” line – “morning call” officially being the song’s best English lyric. Overall, it was a title track that lives up to EXO’s names as the kings of Kpop. The music video and choreography were just as impressive also.

The change of pace as we switch to the album’s next track Sign is a welcome one. This song feels like Transformer’s older brother, smoothly combining EXO’s older space concept with a robotic one. Chen’s vocals in the pre-chorus are definitely the best part of the song, and the melody in the chorus is pleasing to hear too. There is a good effort from the rap line, but the vocalists win this one.

The next trackOoh La La La almost seems like it would be better suited for a Nintendo Wii soundtrack than an EXO album… Despite this fact, Chanyeol’s smooth rap transition into the song’s exciting bridge, coupled with D.O’s impressive vocalisations on the last chorus make this song a pleasing listen nonetheless.

Gravity is exactly the type of vocal-heavy powerful song that EXO-Ls have come to expect on an EXO album. This song doesn’t disappoint, especially with the space-theme, and Sehun’s rap is a welcome addition. A special commendation goes to Baekhyun on this track, who’s outstanding vocals made this a song worth remembering.

A sharp contrast from the heavy and exciting beat of the previous song, With You arrives as a welcome break. I wouldn’t class this song as remarkable, especially when comparing it to the rest of EXO’s impressive discography, but it is a sweet song with pleasing vocals. Also, credit should be given to Chanyeol for contributing to writing and producing it.

The next track 24/7 is EXO’s first attempt on this album to do a slightly more sexy RnB-style concept. Particular credit should be given to Baekhyun, Chanyeol and Chen, whose abilities to make their voices fit almost any concept is a huge advantage to this song. My favourite part is the smooth bridge, and I think it’s safe to say I think about this song 24/7!

Bad Dream is such a chilling song, especially with that “Woo” in the pre-chorus! The shockingly high melody of the chorus would be painful was it not for the god-like vocals of Chen, Baekhyun and D.O. The sing-rapping at the end was a perfect way to end this eerie track. I’m glad EXO are trying to push the boundaries of pop music – and with this song they certainly are succeeding!

The next track Damage reminds me of the good old days (read: Exodus era). It’s playful, with an exciting tune and an upbeat shout-singing chorus. What more could you ask for? This song is definitely a tribute to their previous discography, with even Sehun’s legendary “E.. X.. O..” making a welcome comeback. EXO really don’t let you forget that they are the kings of Kpop.

You are not an EXO-L if you don’t crave a wholesome EXO ballad from time to time. Smile On My Face really is “that” song on this album – emotive and passionate with beautiful lyrics to match.

“I did it all with a smile on my face The traces have disappeared in my memories Maybe they’ll come back to me But I’ll just smile and send them back”

I especially liked Suho and Chen’s parts at the end of the song – their voices gave this somewhat standard EXO ballad some edge.

Oasis has to be one of my favourites on this entire album. This song is so different to anything i’ve heard by EXO – their versatility has me shook! I was especially impressed by Suho’s beautiful voice singing the experimental “chasing the sun” melody. He is one of EXO’s under-appreciated vocalists, so I’m really glad got a chance to shine on this song.

"We’ll go a bit further, even further, On this road still with a long way to go, Runnin’ I’m runnin’, chasing the sun"

The Chinese version of Tempo is just as enjoyable to listen to as the Korean version, if not more! I particularly enjoyed D.O’s part in the second pre-chorus, which I thought just shone more in Chinese. One of the nicest surprises on this album was to hear the China sheep’s voice in this song… His contribution was the cherry on the top of this masterpiece of an album. EXO isn’t complete without you Lay!

A special commendation goes to Chen, who’s incredible vocals stood out the most to me throughout the entire album. DMUMT is going to be on repeat for a long time!

Kpop Review Café Overall Album Ranking: 9/10

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