Both the Korean and Chinese versions of EX’ACT have nine tracks plus two instrumental versions of “Lucky One” and “Monster”. At first I wanted more tracks for the full-length album. EXODUS had ten, its repackage Love Me Right had fourteen, but nine tracks feels right.
EXO-L’s were getting two new title songs for this comeback – and with it two teaser concepts and two music videos. Taking off from the puzzle-like “Pathcode” teasers from 2015’s “Call Me Baby” comeback/EXODUS promotions, EX’ACT was shaping up in the same cryptic vein. The official SMTOwn Global microsite for EXO featured a countdown that eventually revealed two brand new logos, the change a signature of every EXO comeback.
Days before EXO‘s scheduled comeback, a dance practice video leaked, featuring the current nine-member EXO lineup in what appeared to be a brand new practice studio inside the SM Entertainment building. The track playing over the video was a demo of the rumored comeback track titled “Monster”.
With two shows under the group’s belt – 2013’s “EXO’s Showtime”, a reality show centered around various group activities, and last year’s “EXO 90:2014”, a moderated talk show featuring individual members’ recreations of seminal K-pop music videos, it became quite clear that doing variety shows does not come naturally to EXO. Having all the members in a single frame without choreography became a directorial challenge with a group as large as theirs. Some were bound to draw more attention than the others. Baekhyun and Chanyeol, who are confident spouting adlibs and shedding inhibitions on-cam have considerable variety skills. The rest of the group seem to fall a little short when it comes to showing their charm through unscripted series.
EXO‘s second full length album, “Exodus” was released on March 30 after a mind-boggling ten days of secret passwords and obscure UFO sighting references littering my Twitter timeline. I never could figure out what those #Pathcode teasers were meant to solve so I didn’t even bother. I left the high-speed sleuthing to your average EXO-L, and by “average”, of course I meant bat-shit crazy dedicated. The answers to the teasers’ riddles were up within seconds of the videos’ posting, which meant that EXO-L were incredibly astute, or that I wasn’t the stan I claimed I was. By the fifth day of the teasers, EXO-L had figured out that the first letters of the cities featured in the videos would eventually spell out the title of EXO’s comeback track, “Call Me Baby.” It seemed reaching, but by the time the last teaser was released, all the pieces fit.
February was a month of really high high’s and terribly low low’s, but K-pop wise, this month was consistent in delivering some exciting new stuff from big names in the biz, as well as some awesome ones from the nugu side of K-pop town.
The first quarter of the year is through in thirty days, and so far so steady in terms of comebacks and debuts in K-pop – if by “steady” you really mean “break-neck speed.” New releases cannot come any quicker for our faves and raves, but that’s par for the course in K-pop where the demand is mighty and the thirst is real. As someone who previously didn’t care for newness pop culture-wise, I’ve had to adjust my mindset from getting into an artist months or years after they come in vogue (and sometimes even way past their sell-by date) to frantically keeping up with those who haven’t even been born yet. I thought it might be a good idea coming up with a semi-regular thing on this blog where I dig out from under recent faves and new faves that have been there for a while that I’ve just gotten into.