I’ve spent too much energy this month complaining about songs produced by Devine Channel. Between 1Team’s Rolling Rolling, Kang Daniel’s What Are You Up To and EXO-SC’s very own What A Life, this production team has played a big part in this July being one of the worst K-pop months I can remember. So, I guess it’s time to finally throw them a bone. EXO-SC’s third title and final track, Closer To You (부르면 돼), is actually pretty good.
Rather than hop on every instrumental trend imaginable, Closer takes a more timeless approach. The song makes equal room for vocals and hip-hop, taking advantage of Chanyeol and Sehun’s versatility. Neither performer is what K-pop would call “main vocal” quality, but there’s an authenticity to their laidback, unstrained approach. And when the two come together during Closer‘s layered chorus, the song feels warm and inviting in the best way. This is the kind of performance that the EXO-SC sub-unit was made for.
While Closer’s mid-tempo rap-r&b will never be my thing, I can appreciate that the production here feels more natural than the xylophone-meets-trap nonsense that supported What A Life. The instrumental is not some earth-shattering achievement, but its down-home, unaffected percussion has a definite appeal — like something you’d want to throw on during a summer barbecue. Better yet is that stretched, atmospheric synth that filters in during the hook. It adds a slightly sinister note to an otherwise straightforward track, offering a brief change in texture just when Closer needs it.
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