Review

Song Review: Baekhyun (EXO) – Amusement Park

More often than not, December is a month where idols release their cozy, downtempo tracks that are perfect for fireside listening. My music taste is about as far away from this as you can imagine, but I suppose if I were to listen to this coffeehouse style, it would be during this time of year. And, Baekhyun’s voice is very much associated with winter, as EXO’s seasonal albums are staples of the holidays for me. But even buoyed by all that goodwill, I still find new digital single Amusement Park (놀이공원) to be a snooze.

Drowsiness may very well be the point here. I mean, we could all use a bit of calm right now, right? And, Backhyun’s rich tone is the perfect delivery method for this style of track. Still, I think it does his engaging personality a disservice. There’s not much about the track that feels unique to him. Instead, Amusement Park is the kind of laid-back fare that can be found from many a Korean indie artist. The melody flits here and there, airy and aloof. Rather than deliver an engaging hook, the song is more concerned with riding its smooth, jazzy groove.

This makes for perfect background music, but you all know that I don’t really do background music. So while I will always consider Baekhyun’s voice foundational to this last decade in K-pop, it’s hard to conjure any real excitement around Amusement Park. It’s pretty. It’s nice. It’s a song. That’s about all I’ve got.

 Hooks 6
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 6.75

23 thoughts on “Song Review: Baekhyun (EXO) – Amusement Park

        • Ii was Baekhyun. Baekhyun and Kai’s flashy but lacking substance and maturity style has had a bad influence in both singing and dancing in K-pop. Neither are even the most talented in their area in Exo! But they have the stans and that’s what really matters in the end, isn’t it.

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      • He sounds like he discovered belting and falsetto when he was 15 and want everybody in the world to know that

        EXO’s songs are basically devoid of phrases that crosses the passaggio in the mid phrase therefore not that hard and his voice even with that lacks devotion and emotional commitment (unlike of course Chen).

        His solo materials are bad, unambitious and uninspiring.

        His SuperM performance is actually hilarious in that he basically functions as a high note tool singing “Yeahhhhhhhhhhh” most of the time, and every time the camera unintentionally catches him dancing he also look pretty rediculous.

        Also none of the above can get pass his crazy fan base who can spam all the comment section and many of them probably busy demanding Chen to quit EXO

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        • hmmm , can you really blame that on Baekhyun?
          Can you?

          EXO’s songs are basically devoid of phrases that crosses the passaggio in the mid phrase therefore not that hard and his voice even with that lacks devotion and emotional commitment (unlike of course Chen).

          hmm fair, your opinion but I certainly love his voice.

          His solo materials are bad, unambitious and uninspiring.

          Same, I don’t like any of his solo material but that is not really his fault…. It’s SM who is giving the material, aren’t they?

          His SuperM performance is actually hilarious in that he basically functions as a high note tool singing “Yeahhhhhhhhhhh” most of the time, and every time the camera unintentionally catches him dancing he also look pretty rediculous.

          I loved his high notes but anyway, I think you can criticize for that but HATING him for that is way too much….

          Also none of the above can get pass his crazy fan base who can spam all the comment section and many of them probably busy demanding Chen to quit EXO

          That is not Baekhyun’s fault that is the fans fault….

          So, you really have no reason to call him a “bad influence”…

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        • I have no interest in wading into this argument, but I would prefer that we try to keep it positive in the comments section of this blog. This isn’t a place to score points with negative hot takes. Let’s focus on what we like. Life’s too short to belabor things that aren’t to our personal taste.

          Liked by 1 person

        • This comes a little closer to what I was interested in: concrete points of criticism; clear things you dislike about him as a singer and why. Just stating that he is bad or ridiculous doesn’ t tell me anything – it’s merely an opinion.

          Also, I’m pretty sure we all love and support Chen in this comment section ❤ I know I do!

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        • It’s not really that, you are using the excuse of criticism to justify hate on them.
          I don’t think you are doing that but….. “Baekhyun is a bad influence” is a tad bit too much.

          but WELL4, It’s not a matter of criticism, I don’t even like amusement park but Gabriel Tan went all like this “LOL exo is by far the most talentless group on average sm have ever made, SM ditched them for a reason, go mad and cry about it, Baekyun is a worthless korean justin bieber” in a comment.. that is literally hating.

          Also, are you forgetting about what he has done in EXO?

          This is not a matter of criticism, again, I think you are actually giving fair criticism WELL4 but Gabriel isn’t…. It’s hating and that’s something you should admit.

          God, I hate people who use “It’S My OpInIon” to justify hate, If you wouldn’t say something to someone on person, don’t say it on the internet. (got it from nick)

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          • I don’t know what comments you are reading but I see Gabriel Tan praising Exo’s main vocalist. But since you brought up Exo being by far the most talentless group on average sm have ever made……I can’t say that that is incorrect.

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        • I am gonna spam on how annoying this comment is:
          Over defensive fans are annoying. If idols’ talents can be praised they can be criticized too.

          I am going to assume you are talking about me, I don’t care for his solo material that much so I am not really over defensive. It’s just that, Gabriel shreds pure negativity out of his mouth, calling someone a “bad influence” because they are not up to par is super toxic.

          I’ll give you a scenario , there is a reader which doesn’t like Nick’s writing (that’s impossible because his writing is ridiculously flawless but just a SCENARIO). They are gonna go call him talentless and a bad influence for that?

          It’s one thing about criticism but saying that is just so wrong.

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  1. I totally disagree with you on this one. I will always love listening to a vocalist who is so in control of his own voice, & from the first line it’s clear that Baekhyun is a vocalist like that. I really like the jazz piano in the intro. I feel like the vocal melody is supposed to be the main focus so the instrumental is crafted to support it rather than stand out. The rhythm of the melody is what really makes it compelling, & Baekhyun does an excellent job of pushing & pulling the rhythm to make it even more interesting. He’s able to convey & maintain a jazzy groove with his voice while also delivering a high quality performance, & for me that definitely puts the song above “coffee shop background music”. I would rank it at least an 8.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting to read a review from another perspective! I really agree with listening to a vocalist who is very in control of their voice. That alone can make such a difference for me. It makes me enjoy ballads that I’ d usually skip over.

      I still think this one falls a bit more on the background-music side though, compared to a song like Take You Home for example. I also think it’ s intended that way! It’ s a very pretty song to listen to anyway.

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  2. Late to the party, what did I miss here? (Trying hard to have a mostly screen free two weeks off.) (Failing.)

    This is the kind of performance that I would call “It’s alright”, because it is, yanno, alright. It is not great, it isn’t terrible. If there is one thing I would change would be to make the performance more playful, more teasing, more flirty. It keeps the same intensity for the whole song. The fourth chorus sounds just like the third, just like the second just like the first, and it isn’t a copy and paste he just sang it the same way each and every time.

    As non-Korean speaker, I also don’t have that guide as well, so that didn’t help. So I went to the lyric video. and well gosh gee the lyrics also could be more playful and teasing and flirty and fun too. With a topic like “Amusement Park”, and a Real Band behind the singer, you would think that it would be easy to make one part drop to 6/8 time like a carillon waltz on the merry go round, and a scary part through a fun house, and a whoosh high and whoosh low part like the ferris wheel, and and and.

    Instead the lyrics, the music, the vocal, wander around this metaphoric amusement park and go on no rides, do no games, buy no popcorn, and do nothing. Not even people watch in his imagination

    (OK yes the bridge and the outro do try something, and they do not succeed.)

    Someone asked (iirc Yan Zaman) if darling daughter would complain about music from the back seat, and actually it is usually sonny boy. So on our ride up to my folks a few days ago, after a while he takes over as DJ. (For those wondering, my sisters and I have done nothing, gone nowhere, did no errands, nada, lived like hermits since thanksgiving, so we could all meet up at my folks. We zoomed and had the groceries delivered.)

    So, sonny boy is DJ. What does he pick? Mary Poppins. As one does. Both the old and new. The Sherman brothers were music geniuses. It comes to mind here, because the “I love to laugh” song has the carousel sound going on behind it, and lots of clever interludes. Then there is “Chim chim cherree”, which passes through several sections and scenes and singers and still all linked together through that descended line, now adding narrative to move the plot along, now with an amusement park bells, now here more wistful, now here more sentimental. They pack so much in to two and half minutes. There’s things half in shadow, and half way in light. Song won an Oscar. So my mind went from Baekhyun’s song here today to how there are ways to play and tease and warp and weft the song to make it more interesting.
    ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kG6O4N3wxf8

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  3. This is an oddly negative comments section for your site ^^; I enjoyed the song for what it was, a relaxed filler-type song. I think your review is pretty spot on – it’s a fine song and I’ll always enjoy hearing Baekhyun’s voice, but it’s not exactly a thrilling piece.

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