Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reviewing every song in EXO’s discography, from A-Z. That will continue, but I’m taking a brief break to write about the songs on their newest album, Obsession.
Be sure to check back every day as I take a look at each and every track!
Though positioned in different terms, the underlying concept of EXO’s Obsession essentially boils down to Jekyll versus Hyde. Given this, Jekyll should be the big centerpiece of the album. And from sound to structure, I see what they were going for. I just don’t think it works all that well in this song.
The Jekyll/Hyde concept is not a new approach to K-pop songs. The industry is known for frankensteining pieces together to create an eclectic aural brew. In Jekyll’s case, its verses represent a moody, subdued brand of r&b-laced dance music, while things become rough and unhinged during the chorus. The problem is, neither of these halves are all that interesting.
The song’s verses are typical EXO, creeping along at a leisurely pace that allows their smooth vocals to flourish. The pre-chorus grows more sinister as the instrumental brings in heavy distortion rather than the expected EDM build. But unfortunately, the chorus just doesn’t hit that hard. The guys spend most of it shouting and growling, closing with a touch of melody before pulling back to a restrained verse two. I like the contrast that this structure provides, but there’s nary a hook to be found within Jekyll’s bluster. For as aggressive as it can be, the song is surprisingly bland.