Song Review: Lay (EXO) – Namanana

As much as I love anything EXO-related, I’ve always found Lay’s solo music to be oddly hookless. His songs have mood and texture, and I enjoy his vocal tone and undeniable charisma. Yet even now I can’t recall a single melody from his discography. There have been highlights, for sure, and notable WTF moments (mostly in the form of Sheep, which has the dubious honor of being the lowest ranked song on this entire site). But when I think of his albums, they all kind of blend into one. In other words, Lay’s music just hasn’t been for me — and I wish it was.

With that said, Namanana is a pleasant surprise. It’s not reinventing the wheel or offering some heretofore unseen element of Lay’s persona, but it’s funky and coherent and even kind of memorable.

To be clear, I’m listening to the Chinese-language version of the track. I just can’t stomach trite lyrics like “I’m hot like wasabi,” no matter how ingratiating the undying groove may be. Minus that concern, Namanana paints a fun carnival-like atmosphere, offering layers of ever-shifting percussion coupled with a whistling synth loop that stays just clear of becoming an annoyance. The nimble melody allows Lay to indulge his hip-hop side, infusing a welcome sense of personality. The song actually sounds like something ex-SM artist Henry might have released several years ago. I could do without the energy-killing trap bridge, but Lay salvages the sluggishness with a shot of power vocals.

(And even if you’re not into the song, you’ve gotta give it up for that big-budget extravaganza of a music video.)

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.25

(Chinese version)



7 thoughts on “Song Review: Lay (EXO) – Namanana

  1. I love Lay, but had not enjoyed any of his releases (Though i admire the quirkiness of the Sheep vid and that speaks volumes about his personality). I was ready to cringe again at this one, so it was a lovely surprise that this felt more polished and had a nice flow. And great advertising to visit Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I generally have a poor impression of cpop tbh, and as much as I love Lay, he does not have the best music out there when compared to other kpop artists gone solo.

    However, I commend that Lay’s music has certain characteristic of his own in it (since he actively participates in producing it). I love his passion, but he needs to polish his music production skills.

    After the release of Sheep, which was thoroughly disappointing and amusing at the same time , Namanana is a step in the positive direction.
    Sheep felt very cringey and forced and catering to hip hop trends and very different from what we expected from him after Lose Control… and like you said “WTF.”
    Namanana is what Sheep should have been – influenced by quirky Hip Hop beats, yet still carrying the scent of Lose Control’s groovy, poppy sound.

    The instrumental sounds very fresh, and the MV is spectacular. Lay is a great performer- a better dancer than singer- and he makes full use of that.
    That being said, the english lyrics to Give me a chance were better than this. The flow is awkward and the lyrics sound childish in some parts. He should have hired better english lyricists.


  3. Eveerythin Lay write is gold, He produces, writes and is the lead dancer of EXO. If you do not like his previous work that is your problem but to EXO-Ls, BTS Army’s, Monsta X-Monbebes, IKon Ikonics and Big Bang VIPs He is the King of China, Japan and Korea along with Kai the Main Dancer also a mutitalented unit of EXO We love every single, and CD solo lay has made. We respect Lay. He is a great Unicorn. Maybe, You should listen to his previous work again.


  4. Pingback: Song Review: Chen (EXO) – Beautiful Goodbye | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  5. Pingback: Song Review: Lay (EXO) – Honey | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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