After last week’s EDM track, it seemed as if SM Station may have been transitioning to a more uptempo output. But, never underestimate how deeply Korea loves a big, drippy ballad. And given the enormous success of Baekhyun’s duet with Suzy earlier in the year, it only makes sense that SM would seek to capitalize on his popularity again by pairing him with another well-known duet partner.
In theory, The Day should be all kinds of amazing — two dynamic, seasoned vocalists trading jabs on a soaring piece of emotional balladry. And their voices do mesh and compliment each other brilliantly. EXO’s Baekhyun, in particular, is rarely given this kind of showcase for what he can do when his vocals aren’t battling it out with eight other group members. The Day opens, much like EXO’s own Sing For You, with an acoustic guitar accompaniment, soon to be joined by fuller instrumentation. But even when the chorus hits, the production remains pretty unobtrusive. This is smart, as it allows full focus on the vocals.
The problem is that we’ve really heard this exact song too many times before. It slavishly follows a formula, from its gradual build to the bravura, harmonized notes during the climax. Because of this, the melody needs to cut through extra strongly to counter the inevitable air of familiarity. And while it’s certainly competent and enjoyable, it offers no memorable surprises. Instead, The Day is saved by its participants, who can honestly transform even the most basic of songs into something noteworthy.