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!
YA YA YA
The most polarizing element on EXO’s Obsession is likely that repeated vocal sample that becomes part of the song’s percussion. Ya Ya Ya takes this approach even further, cribbing not only the central hook from girl group SWV’s 1996 hit You’re The One, but a good portion of its beat as well. This may seem problematic, but the producers have chosen a solid 90’s jam to draw from. Ya Ya Ya’s sample is just as repetitive as Obsession’s, but it’s warmer and more nostalgic.
However, the question must be asked: what do EXO bring to this tried and true production? Honestly, Ya Ya Ya’s melody is pretty light. It feels more like riffing than well-structured, fleshed out songwriting. But in this case, I think that’s okay. The chorus is instantly catchy, even if it’s as repetitive as the instrumental that supports it. It lets the guys have fun, riding the groove rather than forcing them into some tightly choreographed structure. Ya Ya Ya feels authentically 90’s, which is a vibe SM has been chasing for awhile now. Its only misstep is a trap-driven bridge, which instantly upends the retro charm the track has worked so hard to build until that point.