EXO were the second group featured in my “K-pop A-Z” project. In late 2019, I took a deep dive into their discography and reviewed each and every track. Because of this, any new material will also become part of that page, meaning it’s time for another “in-depth album review” for the newly-released Don’t Fight The Feeling!
Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking at all five of the album’s tracks, so make sure to follow along each day!
After the upbeat title track, the rest of Don’t Fight The Feeling moves into more mid-tempo energy. This is a sweet spot for EXO, and SM Entertainment as a whole. At its core, the agency has always been influenced by 90’s r&b, which just so happens to be a touchstone for me as well.
Paradise (파라다이스) succeeds on the strength of its groove. After an airy, languid verse, the track’s chorus establishes this rhythm, and will definitely have you nodding your head. It’s got such a laidback appeal, driven by a handclap beat, rhythm guitar and accents of bright percussion (is that cowbell I hear?). This chorus is probably my favorite on the album, and takes advantage of EXO’s smooth, silky blend. Their vocals paint an incredible vibe, but the melody backs it up with a catchy turn that echoes the sprightly rhythm. The finished product feels like the soundtrack to a backyard barbeque. It’s not particularly loud or in-your-face, but I can’t imagine anyone disliking such a cheerful sound.
Paradise may lack the impact required of a title track, but in its own way it’s the most fully-satisfying song on the album.