EXO’s Baekhyun has one of my favorite voices in K-pop. It’s been a huge part of my journey as a fan, but I found his debut mini album to be a bore. Someone once said that if idols were allowed to choose the music they performed, every single one would be doing lifeless trap/r&b or navel-gazing coffeeshop. Okay, I’m paraphrasing there, but the point still stands. Too many idol solo releases feel like they lose the spark that makes the best K-pop so memorable.
Candy reminds me a bit of Justin Bieber’s Yummy, which may or may not have been intentional. It’s got a similarly sleepy groove, perched halfway between smooth 90’s r&b and modern trap music. The SM Entertainment higher-ups are calling it “future” something-or-other, and I’ve come to understand that that has become a descriptor for the kind of lurching synth work that does not sit well with me. The production here feels cut-and-paste from any track of this sub-genre, favoring mood over invention. Baekhyun keeps promising “something original” throughout the song, but I fail to hear anything that inspires.
He does what he can with Candy, rattling off various confections during the chorus, but the result is more of a sleeping pill than a sugar rush. It would have been nice to hear him tackle something funkier, with a rhythmic beat he could have really chewed on. Candy’s a head-nodder, and will likely appeal to those who simply want to sit back and enjoy his tone. But, vocals alone don’t make for a satisfying song – especially when there are so many better EXO tracks to go back to.
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