Song Review: Lay (EXO) – Lit

Lay has a storied past on this site, scoring a few of my more colorful reviews. To be honest, I have a soft spot for his music – even if I dislike most of it. More often than not, his songs feel committed to taking the worst possible turns whenever the opportunity presents itself. I can respect that kind of consistency, even if I don’t ever want to listen to it. New single Lit (莲) comes packaged with a gorgeous, cinematic music video that’s brilliantly over the top. I only wish that some of that budget and ambition made its way down to the song itself.

If I’m feeling polite, the best way to describe Lit is “minimalist.” If I’m being more honest, I’d call it “indulgent.” And from a strictly musical perspective, I’m just going to say that it’s not for me. I still remember the time when Lay was a vocalist – not the posturing swag-machine he is now. Lit isn’t so much a song as it is a declaration, laid over the barest of instrumentation. As an album introduction or performance piece, I suppose this works. But, there’s little to grab onto if you’re listening to the track apart from the music video.

I hesitate to call what Lay is doing here “rap.” It sounds more like a drunk phone message put to music. The flow is so oddly fractured — and interjected with so many grunts and mumbled asides — that it loses all continuity. By the time he’s declaring how “lit” he is (over and over and over again), the track has devolved into a parody of itself. Oddly, this is kind of enjoyable, but not in the way I’m sure he intended. The traditional instrumentation is a nice touch. I’m just disappointed that it’s tied to a lifeless trap beat and muffled distortion that makes the whole track feel suffocating. Lit scores a few extra points for its sheer WTFery, but I think the novelty will wear off quickly. Watch the video, though. It’s a lot of fun!

 Hooks 3
 Production 6
 Longevity 5
 Bias 5
 RATING 4.75

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12 thoughts on “Song Review: Lay (EXO) – Lit

  1. Lay as the living embodiment of terrible music is really fun to dunk on, I guess he is still technically EXO so that allows him on this site? How about Victoria though? Although her recent song is really cheap and probably not worth it…

    Funny how we have Asian Lil Wayne as Lay, Asian Justin Bieber as Baekyun and Asian Michael Jackson as Taemin under the same agency?

    Anyway I really want to push a legendary C-pop song onto this website, well it’s not “Chinese” per se since everyone involved is from Taiwan or more importantly Singapore, I guess that partly justifies the overwhelming cultural appropriation in this:

    C-pop is truly long lost since the rock influence went away imo.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. LOLOL I was expecting this review more than any other one. 🙂
    I wouldn’t say I’m not into Lay as an artist, but I really don’t understand what his solo career has been pursuing so far in artistic terms.


  3. I was watching the music video and thinking ‘wow, this is the best music video in 2020 so far, imagine the cost of the special effects! Too bad they didn’t put any effort into the song.’

    I honestly feel like this review is extremely generous and I’ll give it a 3/10 but that’s only because I love Lay and the goofy parts exist

    On the music video I thought it was AMAZING! Rigend Film really do not disappoint with their music videos and are phenomenal with every artist they’ve worked with. I’ve loved every MV they’ve directed and I’m pretty sure they’ll be directing Seventeen’s next MV as they directed Nu’est’s I’m In Trouble and Seventeen’s Hit and Fear.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Man that music video really is gorgeous. The aesthetics are straight out of some old wuxia drama, crossed with a healthy dose of Romance of the Three Kingdoms and one of those harem politics dramas a la Empresses in the Palace. The traditional aspects of the instrumentals are nice too, and that’s about all the positives I can think of. Oh, the song made me laugh I guess.

    I can’t say I’m surprised at how the song turned out–my first thought when I heard his new single was going to be called “Lit” was whether or not he would be able to beat out Kard’s Dumb Litty for sheer hilarity. As it is, in terms of ironic enjoyment I much prefer mister lead sheep of China. I am the sheep>>I am the lit though it’s not much of a compliment to either song.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The video is awesome! I was hella entertained for four minutes and then … and then over a minute of silent credits?
    The song well, the song isn’t my style whether it is by Lay or anyone else. No comment there.


  6. I like a lot of Lay’s music. His music production and composition is better than the anything his lyricists gives him, unfortunately. He comes with a strong and inspiring concept, that, yes, is a declaration to his never ending amount of criticism he gets. I didn’t like this review because it jad little to say about the overall concept of the song. And the fact that he only says he’s lit a few times. He actually saying he is Lian or lotus. A lotus is the Chinese signal of power and wisdom. Also he shows himself as the white lotus particularly, which is what antis call him to say that he plays the victim and is weak. He uses the song to say proclaim that he’s above that and alludes to Buddha’s poem about the lotus flower. Also, thw video perfectly captures this concept and is the best music video this year. I love other songs on the album more, but respect that Lay vhose this route to make a necessary point at a pivotal point in his career. His attitude his beyond what you see from other Chinese artists at any level.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think Lays music has been more geared towards performance really, Namanamana was the most musical of his title tracks, and the others were more about concept or performance. I dont know what his intentions are but his title tracks at least are more filler musicky, if that makes sense, like, stuff that you’d listen to gear up or get in the mood of something. (cause thats what our drama and debate teams do before performances, and a lot of that music is either performance music or instrumentals).
    I might be biased but i dont think its bad as much as it just doesnt fit in any specific category, its a decleration, set to music.


  8. You should watch ReactotheK video about this song. You might not like the song but you might appreciate his choices with the song’s execution. The song is def not as thoughtlessly laid out as you may feel. It is 100% okay to not like a song, but I think your review feels a bit careless regarding cultural aspects of the song. The lyrics and the song are filled with a lot of symbolism and certainly not pushing some needless “swag” agenda. Anyway, I am not trying to convince you to like the song, but I definitely urge to watch reactotheK’s video so you really appreciate the depth of this meaningful song.


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