So… the EXO solos haven’t exactly panned out the way I would have hoped. So far, it’s been an unending stream of ballads and mid-tempos, each blending into the other without any real artistic differentiation. It’s not that the music has been bad, but it feels like SM Entertainment have developed a real narrow pathway for their soloists. EXO have a much more diverse discography as a whole, and it would have been nice to hear the individual members stretch themselves in new ways through their solo endeavors. Instead, we get songs like Let’s Love (사랑, 하자).
Like Chen and Baekhyun’s material, this track is polished and pleasant. It’s guaranteed to sell by the bucketload. But, its generic trappings don’t make a convincing case for Suho himself. He’s always been a charismatic leader, buoyed by a notoriously long training period. There’s no denying his skill set, but a good solo debut demands a unique point of view. With that in mind, Let’s Love could have been performed by anyone. I’m not sure what it says about Suho the artist, beyond the fact that he can rattle off a solid ballad and pen some lovelorn lyrics.
Thankfully, Let’s Love brings in a bit of rock influence, opening with guitar that lingers through much of the track. This gives the instrumental some texture, though it’s not quite enough for my taste. I wish the entire song took cues from its final minute, where the guitar amps up to create a bluesy, emotional aesthetic. Ultimately, Let’s Love is too tepid throughout. Its melody is pleasant but unassuming. In other words, it’s the exact template that Korean streaming charts seem to love. I guess that’s enough for SM right now, but I really wish they’d think outside of the box.
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