Song Review: BOL4 x Baekhyun – Leo

Just a day after IU and Suga teamed up to deliver the kind of superstar collaboration that the digital charts wet themselves over, BOL4’s Ahn Jiyoung and EXO’s Baekhyun have paired to unleash some healthy competition. But while yesterday’s Eight bucked expectations as a driving pop track, Leo (나비와 고양이) sounds exactly how you would expect it to. I’m sure this will have little to no bearing on its chart success, but it makes for a comparatively forgettable product.

This will sound unnecessarily harsh, but Leo is what I call a “nothing song.” I listen to it and – yes, there’s music… yes, there are lyrics… yes, there’s a performance – but no element draws me in. Both artists have highly recognizable, highly lauded voices and certainly enjoy well-established fan bases. But, Leo is little more than musical mush. Its soft, jazzy instrumental is Korea’s go-to for springtime fare, wafting in and out without leaving a trace behind. It’s music to nap to, and I guess that has its place.

However, “music to nap to” doesn’t give its performers much to do. Leo is so drowsy that Jiyoung and Baekhyun can’t help but sound bored. Even when they come together for some nice harmonies during the chorus, there’s no spark. That’s not to say that this had to be some high-tempo banger to be decent. There are ways to craft a satisfying mid-tempo, using inventive melody or dynamic arrangement. Instead, Leo coasts the entire way through, intent to ride its easy, breezy appeal without taking a single chance. We’ve mostly been spared this kind of lazy springtime material this year, so I guess we were past due. It’s just a shame that this regrettable template had to be channeled by two performers as celebrated as Jiyoung and Baekhyun.

 Hooks 6
 Production 6
 Longevity 6
 Bias 5
 RATING 5.75

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6 thoughts on “Song Review: BOL4 x Baekhyun – Leo

  1. Oh goodness. Bol 4 one of my favorites. I didn’t like Bom, Workaholic was okay and this was just ‘Sad’.
    Coming back for the first time after the duo was over..I was hoping for a stronger track.
    They both are amazing singers, yesterday few people mentioned that eight was not a duet. And this was. Both their vocals do match well and that’s why it’s sad.

    The artists are great, their harmonies are great, but the song is not. And that’s a shame.

    Some also highlighted the singer’s voice but the product was amazing, while this u said ”Music to nap to” is the perfect description of what I felt.


  2. My theory is that the company just wanted to put something out as quickly as possible taking the least risks as possible as Jiyoon (half of the duo) left literally one month ago. Thus, they probably grabbed this potential b-side, called up SM for them to toss Baekhyun into a studio for the name power, and released the track just to stay relevant. While I wish Jiyoung the best as a soloist, I’m not sure if she’ll be able to keep up.


  3. I don’t worry so much about Bol4 in Korea. As a brand, it is still everywhere. If it were possible to wear out an mp3 recording, I did just that with “Travel” a few years back.

    This song
    I was afraid to admit that I clicked away half way through (to do actual work, yanno), and I still haven’t clicked back to listen to the rest of the song until now while I type. (Mea culpa.)

    This sounds like every SM Station track ever. Yesung just released an SM Station duet with … … … someone, and this song sounds like the less perky version of that one.


  4. It’s okay, I would definitely give it more than 5.75 because I think this would be a nice song to listen to if you’re in the right mood. (+ cool harmonies, good momentum in the chorus and guitar’s contribution to the song)


  5. I’m guessing this was trying to recreate Baekhyun and Suzy’s “Dream” which for me was a much more addicting version of the lackadaisical spring mid-tempo. That song was also rather pleasant and inoffensive, but I enjoyed hearing it over and over. This, on the other hand, is a slog to get through….


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