For the first time in their four-year history, mega blockbuster boy group EXO have returned with double title tracks. Designed to show us the lighter side of their music is Lucky One, which is more Love Me Right than Overdose. Though I can appreciate all sides of EXO’s sound, my taste naturally gravitates towards more uptempo fare, so this is the track I was anticipating most.
As the song’s filtered introduction settles into a strong disco stomp, Lucky One propels forward with touches of rhythm guitar and flute-like synth. The verses soon give way to a slowed, harmony-driven bridge before the hook brings back the energy with its contrasting mix of staccato call and soaring response. It’s all very Shinee-esque, especially the excellent second verse, which crackles with added vocal and instrumental quirks that keep the track from feeling repetitive. The entire production has a nice balance between the electronic and organic. Not only is it in line with last year’s (slightly) superior Love Me Right, but also sounds like Married To The Music‘s younger, glossier cousin. Its funk-influence is subtler and sleeker, but more powerful than it first seems.
Sometimes it feels like SM doesn’t know where exactly to go with EXO. Being k-pop’s biggest band creates unrealistic expectations in the minds of listeners both diehard and casual, but over the past couple of years, the group’s music has sounded the brightest when it feels loose and unencumbered by a larger-than-life concept. Lucky One may be called basic by some, but when it comes down to it, it’s just a really strong pop song. And that’s exactly what EXO should be giving us.