Song Review: Lay (EXO) – Honey

To say that Lay’s solo music is not for me would be an understatement. Apart from a solid track here or there, I find that most of his work represents the worst of what modern-era pop has to offer. It’s hookless, joyless and utterly devoid of originality. Fun fact: he’s the owner of the lowest-rated song on The Bias List. That’s its own kind of honor.

New single Honey (和你) is passable, but bends over backward to emulate western trends of the moment. Songs like this just feel so low-effort — almost like a first draft before producers come in to inject an interesting melody or add layers to the instrumental. Nearly the entire track is performed in the dreaded triplet flow, which means that no actual work had to go into composing this. Just follow the template, interject a few cringe-worthy pop culture references, and call it a day. For a performer as talented and charismatic as Lay, this kind of laziness feels especially insulting.

Honey’s spoken-word chorus could have been cool in a sexy, Prince-inspired way. Instead, Lay just sounds bored, too tied to the song’s repetitive flow to pull off any interesting hook. The spareness of the instrumental isn’t an immediate deal-breaker, but the cut-and-paste trap production is. Imagine how amazing this would have sounded with an actual groove! Sadly, Honey’s beat slogs along without any real modulation (the post-chorus injection of bass doesn’t count). And then there’s those maddening “brrt brrt!” vocal ad-libs. Do people actually make these sounds in real life? What do they mean? Is it some kind of bizarre mating call I’m not aware of?

I’m clearly too old for this.

 Hooks 5
 Production 4
 Longevity 5
 Bias 4



15 thoughts on “Song Review: Lay (EXO) – Honey

  1. 1. You kill more flies with honey; and apparently honey is good for killing a career in music.
    2. He should change his name to Lay Park if he’s going to try to imitate him.
    3. The first minute of the video was.. ..okay; then the actual song started.
    4. Since Lay can’t get the highest rating on this site, maybe he’s shooting for the opposite direction. ..and succeeding.
    5. When this video dropped, all 9 members of EXO simultaneously thought, “Phew, dodged a bullet with him gone”.
    6. I could’ve spent the 4 minutes I spent watching that video doing something more stimulating.. sleeping.
    7. …{derp}


  2. I am used to being embarassed by Yixing’s solo material since 2017. Its almost as if he reallly doesnt want his music to be taken seriously and doing this on purpose to be a meme.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. If the triplet obligato theme had a different timbre
    If there weren’t so many (hard breath) HUN-nie repititions
    If there weren’t all the pop culture English words dropped in
    If there wasn’t so much R&B posing

    this might have been a really cute b-side for a girl group
    especially if they played up the xylophone cuteness
    (I have no idea what the lyrics mean)

    I mean, a song like “Only You” by Yaz/Yazoo isn’t that much more complicated in structure and is equally spare in sound, but Vince Clarke knew when to stop adding. I suppose the state of synth technology at that time made songwriting that much more deliberate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He demonstrated the same restraint with “Just Can’t Get Enough” as an originating founder of Depeche Mode. While I think Alan Wilder was a decent replacement for Clarke, there’s no denying Vince’s departure changed the group. Fad Gadget (one of Mr. Clarke’s inspirations) was also good at knowing “when to stop” during the creation process.

      Interesting tidbit: “Only You” was allegedly intended for Depeche Mode (after Vince left the band), but there are conflicting accounts from everyone involved.

      Yaz – Only You:
      Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough:
      Fad Gadget – Collapsing New People:


      • …”one of the founders”, not “an originating founder”.

        Man, I wish we could edit our mistakes in posts. 😦


        • I double-checked under the wordpress settings and didn’t see any way to enable editing. Darn. I think I’m able to edit my own comments, but that’s only because I run the site.


          • Your site / Your rules, but is there a reason you prefer WordPress? Disqus allows edits and has better reply notifications; if switching is an option.


            • It’s not so much a preference. On WordPress, Disqus is a plug-in — and in order to install plug-ins I’d have to upgrade to a business plan, which is a not-so-fun $300 a year. I wish they’d just let you pay per plug-in, but of course that’s not how it works. I’d love to have Disqus.


      • Hey Nick! another example of an 80’s call and response song!

        Back when, when all the synthesizers were analog, and really took a lot of work to program it all, song writers had to write real hooks and not just beeps and boops with interesting effects.

        Someone bothered to put out a lyric video to “I just can’t get enough”. They had an easy job. Also just now I watched a live version on some music show from back when. They are singing live, and in harmony, but the backing track is obviously canned because none of the three synthesizers are plugged in.


  4. It looks like I have found my people on this site! Thanks for writing this review. All I see is praise for “Honey” on social media, and I couldn’t help but think “is everyone trolling orrr…”?

    I’m a fan of Lay. Just not a fan of at least 70% of his solo music. I think he has so much potential to release some really good, honest music. I wonder what goes on while creating these songs. How does this cringefest keep happening? 😩 Is it a time constraint problem? Is it a quantity vs quality problem? Is he just innately corny? He’s always expressing how much he loves music and how it’s so important to him, to then release singles like “Sheep” and “Honey”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lay should be capable of better. Hell, anyone is better if we’re using “Honey” as the fulcrum. His recent solo efforts could be due to:

      1. The label is doing him dirty with craptastic tracks. This is unlikely true. Lay already demonstrated a willingness to lock horns with management (SM). Plus, he has enough star power to demand a say in the creation process and musical direction.
      2. He’s focusing only on what he thinks fans want and not on what he really wants to make if there was no audience. Given your statement that a lot of fan praise is out there, this could be the reason.
      – A. If the fans are only giving the “thumbs up” because they want to support him, but don’t genuinely like the song, then they’re doing Lay an injustice. One of the worst sins a fan can do is applaud a bad stage. Everyone loses. Artists don’t grow, fans get poor material. It’s a bust.
      – B. Fans actually “like” this song. It wouldn’t be the first time I failed to understand the masses. If this is the case then who am I to shatter their blissful ignorance. It could be they’re so starstruck that if Lay told them to eat shredded cardboard, they’d chow down and ask for seconds.
      3. He’s not all that and a bag of frozen kimchi. He has a lot of oars in the water; Singer, Actor, TV personality. Maybe he really isn’t that great in the music department. Maybe his past success was serendipitous offerings from producers. Happenstance.. ..happens.

      I’m probably not the best person to measure Lay. I’m not impressed by artists that are willing to join foreign agencies and then jump ship once they make a name for themselves. I understand wanting the bigger paycheck and the wider spotlight, but it’s still a steaming pile of ingratitude. My2p.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You make some really good points! Some that I haven’t thought about. Sometimes I get the impression that the praise falls under the A category, but I could be very wrong. I couldn’t believe that people liked “Sheep” when that came out, and now here we are again. So yeahhhh…

        I also wonder if he’s actually trying to crossover to appeal to western audiences or if he’s just recording songs in English to satisfy his English-speaking fans. I’m a little confused what his goals are with that. If he’s trying to crossover, it’s not going to work with these kinds of songs. Or maybe it will? What do I know!? *giggles* I guess we’ll see.


    • My daughter loves Lay with a passion, and I love him too and all but…I just can’t get behind “Honey” or “Sheep” either. Especially “Sheep” 🐑 But my kids already know how ridiculous I think that song is.
      Much love to Lay and EXO💛💖,but I agree with u on those two songs.


    • I love Honey. I love how it sounds cute but something in the background sounds kind of dark. I love a good sexy hip-hop/r&b type of song that are like not innocent seeming LOL. Its certainly not relatable in real life but yeah.


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