K-Pop A-Z

K-Pop A-Z Review: EXO – Angel

One song. Every day. Alphabetical order.

Keep up with EXO’s A-Z reviews here!

Angel (from Mama – 2012)

As EXO’s earliest ballad, Angel provided the template for stirring work yet to come. It’s still one of their enduring melodies, underlined by a simple, piano-led arrangement that’s bolstered by the evocative vocals of the group’s then “K” and “M” teams. This review covers the Korean version, sung by Baekhyun, D.O. and Suho. Though Angel regurgitates the SM ballad sound of its era, the song is driven by a gentle rhythm that keeps it from becoming mired in its own sentimentality. This is accomplished with a strong focus on percussion, which lends the track anthemic heft in all the right spots. Angel‘s warm refrain echoes similar 2012/13 work of agency-mates SHINee (specifically Fire and 1,000 Years) — though EXO would quickly go on to forge a path all their own.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25



3 thoughts on “K-Pop A-Z Review: EXO – Angel

  1. Woo hoo! Tour of EXO begins! This is the part of the marathon when everyone is at the starting line with all the shouts and cheers.
    Thank you Nick!

    SM is introducing and testing out the Exo vocal line here. Some of the production sounds a tad under-baked – the percussion is a bit more jaunty than the rest of the instrumentation. Actually the drums sound like real drums, augmented by just a touch of synth percussion lines.

    The song itself isn’t too challenging, not too high, not too low, no fantastic belts, just a couple high ad libs. The song doesn’t require a virtuoso performance, but it is b-side so it wouldn’t. A couple nice sung harmonies throughout. Stylistically, it could been assigned to anyone under the SM umbrella, but it landed with Exo.

    Not a bad start for the vocal line. Pleasant, and soothing, in a good way.


  2. ah yesssss
    angel is certainly the template for exo’s ‘mystical’ songs like moonlight and what if
    to come in future albums. I feel like it is one of the EXO songs that have an evergreen quality about them. If 2019 EXO released it for a winter album, I honestly wouldnt complain.


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