Thank the kpop gods! We finally have an SM Station release that isn’t a lifeless ballad! This alone is something to celebrate, but the fact that Lil’ Something is a great song in its own right is icing on the cake. For those unfamiliar, Chen is one of the main vocalists in mega-group EXO, and Heize is a rapper, most well known for her appearance in variety show Unpretty Rapstar 2.
The two form a somewhat unlikely duo for the funky Lil’ Something, though it’s really more of a featuring on Heize’s part, as Chen drives the majority of the song. It’s a great showcase for his vocals, which ooze with charisma at every turn. I love his clipped delivery in the verses especially. It’s a much more rhythmic performance than we’re used to hearing from him. That quality is supported brilliantly by the track’s angular funk production. Old school keyboards and stabs of guitar flirt with blasts of sudden drum syncopation, giving the instrumental the oomph it needs for this type of song to work.
I do see why this was chosen as a Station release rather than a normal comeback. It’s not the kind of big pop moment we’re necessarily used to from SM. It feels more like a satisfying detour than a centerpiece for promotions. In this case, that’s actually a positive. Groups as big as EXO tend to be tightly managed, and it’s gratifying to hear something a little more loose and playful. If this is an indication where the Station platform is going as we gear up for summer, I’m definitely looking forward to future releases.