K-Pop A-Z

K-Pop A-Z Review: EXO – Bad Dream

One song. Every day. Alphabetical order.

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Bad Dream (from Don’t Mess Up My Tempo / Love Shot – 2018)

Led by a fluid instrumental that seems to exist in a constant state of flux, Bad Dream draws upon harmony as its greatest calling card. There are elements of future bass here, but harnessed in a more subdued way than much of 2018-era K-pop. Parts of the melody seem to hearken back to the group’s own El Dorado, though Dream never builds to as theatrical an arrangement. Its pre-chorus is especially beguiling, with the guys’ vocals layered into a swirling blend of harmonic bliss that drives the track forward just as the instrumental drops out. Structurally, this feels like one of EXO’s more experimental tracks, yet it’s made palatable by its commitment to its own hypnotic atmosphere.

 Hooks 7
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8



4 thoughts on “K-Pop A-Z Review: EXO – Bad Dream

  1. I don’t quite share your enthusiasm on this one. To me it didn’t sound like a song, but more like a collection of concepts saved under the same filename.


  2. For me, Bad Dream is really effective at pulling the listener down to it’s energy level, which is some limbo like, half asleep state (hypnotic is a good word for it). One thing I find particularly effective is the delivery on some parts of the chorus, where words are cut off so they have a bit of breathing room between each other (like in “nan mabidwen chae / umjigil su eopseo”). Their vocals hit way harder that way.


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