If Tell Me (What Is Love) is any indication, it seems as if SM’s new weekly Music Station platform may become an avenue to release some long-awaited fan favorite material. This song is not unknown among Exo fans, and is one of many unreleased tracks from SM’s vault that has been performed live in the past.
Here in its official studio form, the song is reconfigured as a duet between Exo’s D.O. and in-house singer/songwriter Yoo Young Jin. Before this, I wasn’t all that familiar with Young Jin’s singing, but absolutely worship at the alter of his incredible songwriting and production style. Seriously, the guy’s written so many of my absolute favorite tracks by SM artists. Tell Me follows the template of many of his slow jams, including Exo’s own (totally underrated) What Is Love from their debut year. Tell Me feels incredibly nostalgic for this reason, and reunites D.O.’s skilled, labyrinthine vocal delivery with a grinding beat stuffed with low, sleazy synths and insistent rhythmic spikes.
But, the best thing about the production is that it never gets in the way of what is, in essence, a fabulous r&b slowburn. The spare, atmospheric skeleton leaves the vocals space to impress, and both D.O. and Young Jin hold nothing back when delivering expertly placed vocal runs, peaks of falsetto and an undeniable harmony. This kind of track seems to be exactly what SM’s Music Station was created for. It’s an incredibly pleasant surprise between official comebacks.