Song Review: D.O. (EXO) – Rose

D.O. - RoseFans have long clamored for a solo album from EXO’s D.O. His smooth vocal style adds soul and groove to the group’s tracks, and he seemed poised for an excellent R&B career of his own. However, SM Entertainment doesn’t seem to know what to do with his skills. D.O. has stated his desire to challenge an easy-on-the-ears acoustic sound for this release, but I wish he would have set his ambitions higher.

It’s hard to dislike a song like Rose. It’s so pleasant and simple – all strummed guitar and sing-song melody. Unsurprisingly, D.O.’s voice sounds incredible. He brings definite skill to the track, imbued it with plenty of character and movement. But, Rose feels throwaway – the kind of thing you’d bust out at the campfire, sing along with while roasting marshmallows, and quickly forget. At two and a half minutes, it doesn’t wear out its welcome. But, there’s no opportunity for the track to do anything interesting either.

Rose has all the hallmarks of a solid b-side (ie: album filler). As the title track of D.O.’s first solo album, I’d expect more. Apart from members of SHINee, SM seems intent on saddling its soloists with the most milquetoast of material. They’re rightfully confident in artists like D.O. selling boatloads of albums regardless of the actual music, and I fear this has made them unambitious. Rose is an amiable toe-tapper, and well-suited to the summer. But, it does nothing to convince me why I should care about D.O.’s solo career. He’s more interesting than this.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25


39 thoughts on “Song Review: D.O. (EXO) – Rose

  1. hi nick! sorry to exo-ls to leave this comment on DO’s review, but will you be reviewing Seventeen’s new song?

    it’s not promoted, but perhaps you might consider it as a B-side 🥺🥺 i thought that i’ll dislike this song a verse in, but it grew really fast on me by the first chorus haha (the!! electric guitars!!). this might be a temporary refuge in the current kpop drought :’D

    Liked by 1 person

    • OH LMAO you’ve already reviewed it! (and it was a b-side from their last album!) my bad haha, i’ve fallen off listening to seventeen’s full albums since 2019

      Liked by 1 person

      • as for DO’s song, as the above comment said, the ‘i’m yours’ vibes immediately stood out. i didn’t like that song, and neither is this a bias for me. do’s voice sounds incredible as always of course, and the video in particular’s really funny in his deadpan way lmao

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, it had a nice live choreo version back when so we all talked about it a month+half ago. The promotions were an old style kpop one two release double A-side that was more common 2010-2015ish.
      I prefer “Anyone” to “Ready to Love” myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • these few months have flown past by for me, so i must’ve missed that discussion 😔 that’s a shame haha

        same!! ready to love is still my favourite seventeen title track since their 2017 material, but anyone takes everything i appreciate about ready to love (the ?? distorted bass [?], the rhythm and melody) & turn it up to an 11! but this discussion is better held on the actual review for anyone instead rip

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I wouldn’t ever call Baekhyun or Kai’s album’s milquetoast, but i respect your opinion. We’re never going to agree on that, Taeyong’s Long Flight, or Lay’s solo catalog. I’m cool with that. But I do agree with this song not really bringing it. On first listen to the album, I’m Fine seems to be a good, dramatic ballad, but the rest just isn’t sticking to me. But everyone else seems to just LOVE this album, and that makes me really happy for him,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This song is simple, sweet, and well crafted. I’m glad it prioritizes D.O.’s exceptional voice and his beautiful delivery of the lyrics. I don’t know if it’ll make my playlist, though, I’ve heard this style of song before and it usually doesn’t grab my ear.

    Now that his solo career has launched, my dream is for him to have a comeback with tap dancing incorporated into the song *_*

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think he said in an interview that he liked the sound of acoustic guitar, so that directed his selection of songs for this album. Yes, ‘Rose’ is a nice song to listen to, but I think the strongest showcase of his capabilities on this album are ‘It’s Love’ and its Spanish version, ‘Si Fueras Mia’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It definitely feels like part of an album, rather than a lead single. There’s always a place for the acoustic simple songs. I don’t know if I’m quite fond of the chorus melody. There’s something about the choral/gospel like tones that don’t quite gel right with the song. Maybe the melody? I also think the guitar feels a little too strong I guess?

    These are all pretty nitpicky honestly, but they all add up to me just not really liking this song. I’ve been liking these kinds of songs recently, but this one not so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh well… maybe I should wait for his comeback to get some nice R&B jams. I only loved I’m Fine, liked Si Fueras Mia (it sounds way better than Korean for some reason) and that was it.


    • I think the best word isn’t hilarious, yes, but curious. I have this theory that many kpop stans and listeners are not really ready for idols/artists to come up with their own original art and these reviews and comments are a prime example. They would feel like it’s lacking because they enjoy the overproduction, glamour and art direction that comes with the system treating idols as performers only, which is something that is underlined everytime people talk about kpop in general. They don’t want to know who’s the artist under the idol at all.

      – Where’s my R&B singer that SM promised???? Actually SM only tried to craft this persona, I guess Hahaha.

      It’s no secret that D.O. wasn’t pushed as a solo artists out of EXO’s vocal line! He’s probably the most successful acting idol of this generation so it makes sense that the company wouldn’t push him as much as the other vocalists.

      The album is good and anyone who likes D.O. (Or Doh Kyungsoo, two very distinctive public personas as someone pointed cuz’ my boy found his way out of SM’s hold! Remember that he was performing while BALD because of a role? That was lit!) knows he’s into simpler songs. He was obsessed with Justin Bieber’s Ed Sheeran fase and he loves this men and guitar only genre. I wouldn’t risk call it folk, tho. I feel he enjoys lyrics and vocals over melody, no matter the genre.

      Si fueras mía ended Enrique Iglesias! Ok, that was a joke. But seriously! Such a good song.


  7. I’ve listened to That’s Okay more times than I can count, and I had high hopes for his solo debut which has been so many years in the making. I personally would have loved it if gone full R&B (like everyone else, I love I’m Fine) for a title track but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Rose. I like it precisely for its unassuming simplicity, it sounds like a chill springtime song and though the timing on that might be a couple of months off I still like how it’s so pleasant to listen to. I do agree that it lacks the oomph? of a ‘title track’ but I’m still fairly happy with Rose. I hope his future comebacks take more risks though, he can do anything and everything and elevate it with his incredible voice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a good review, and I understand why your expectations are as such but this album is true to Kyungsoo’s esthetic as a individual artist not D.O of EXO. He is a very simple man in his every day life and although his talents lend for some great R&B, his vibe is folk/soul. MAYBE, his next project will give us R&B that we all desire from him but for now this album is a NO SKIP nostalgic trip to happiness.


      • That’s true, I don’t follow EXO that closely myself but I’ve seen people comment about how he’s expressed that this is his style of music, and that’s great. I’m glad he’s able to put out the kind of music he wants to, and I do like Rose even if it wasn’t exactly what I personally was hoping for – I already find Rose very sweet and pleasant and having good vibes all around! I would like to see him try something different next time around maybe, but then again I’m glad he’s getting to do what he likes as a soloist and I’m excited to see how he continues to build his solo discography from here on out 🙂


  8. I feel like people are missing the info related to this solo and creating misleading and confusing reviews because of that, especially because they’re used to SM’s huge control over their artists. D.O. explicitly shared songs just like this one and he covered many like those with Chanyeol & alone, and he also wrote lyrics & participated in the album (little reminder that Baekhyun, Tiffany & many other artists had their songs rejected and talked about it, but for some reason, D.O. got to get his own as a title as his first solo… is SM bargaining or not caring? Who knows). This is probably the type of song he wants to create as he said so, and I mean, no one has to like it, but the review makes it seem like SM is not only controlling it or caring about his solo, which is obvious secondary due to the fact that he’s already considered an actor like any other and no longer an idol-actor. Sm has no plans for Kyungsoo’s career as a soloist and this is exactly the kind of the songs he likes and recommends. There will no “rnb king” in the future and he’s not “downplaying”. This is him as artist and seeing so many people complaining when an idol finally has the upper hand is hilarious…


  9. “D.O. has stated his desire to challenge an easy-on-the-ears acoustic” what does challenge mean here. Sorry it’s just that this is first time I am reading challenge being used as such.


  10. No one can disagree when someone says Kyungsoo has the vocals for R&B. He’s proven time and time again that he does when we listen to any EXO song. Hearing him now as a soloist, and especially in the title song Rose, I can see how some are not really warming up to the style and sound he is giving us. I’m seeing alot of comments mentioning how this wasn’t what they expected, how they we’re looking forward to some smooth r&b vocals and riffs. The acoustic, summery, sweet vibe was good but not really to their liking. I politely disagree and here’s why. I see EXO’s D.O. different than soloist Kyungsoo. I remember a variety show episode, I forgot the name of it, where Kyungsoo mentioned his dream was having a farm and living off the land; another time he mentioned how “Idol Life” was at time difficult for him, he wished he could walk and go out freely without being recognized. This shows a bit of the person he really is. Therefore the laid back, cutesy, minimalistic, artsy, simple yet beautiful song Rose is a song that may not necessarily be something D.O. would sing but it is one Kyungsoo would. I loved it. I loved all the album.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m not a fan of acoustic music but this album is clearly something Kyungsoo wanted to do for a long time, so good for him. He mentioned in the past that he will only go solo if he finds the music he feels genuine connection for (as opposed to Exo’s releases, where he often had to sing things he didn’t particularly liked). I’m predicting that his future EPs will probably be of similar sound.

    Agree with the somewhat low rating, but don’t agree with generalising other Exo soloists as “milquetoast”, Baekhyun is 50/50 but imo Kai’s and Suho’s material was anything BUT average.


  12. I find it interesting how in the past, D.O. has expressed his love for R&B so many times, sang it as his audition song even. Sure he said he loves accoustic, but he also said he loves R&B, so what gives? I agree. This is a fun likable song, but it feels and sounds like a b-side, like something one might find at the end of an album. I have a feeling SM didn’t care much for D.O.’s solo. He’s already an established actor, anyway.

    Why SM doesn’t exercise their strong control on their idols at something as important as this but they have no problem controlling everything else is beyond me. I don’t buy it. Especially since I’m 99% sure they gave Baekhyun his sound. Baekhyun’s voice has no identity, unlike Chen’s or D.O.’s, even unlike Kai’s. His R&B sound was definitely given to him to capitalize on his marketability. I’ve liked 1 song from him, and that says more about the song than him as an artist.

    I’d say, of all the EXO solos, I’ve only been impressed with Kai’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a huge probability that some EXO members won’t re-sign their contracts. they have been pushed aside since the start of the military enlistment started and based on the last SM culture activities/promotions, they’re far from being SM’s big shot, barely being mentioned in articles where older groups are being named.(D.O. already had rumors about leaving SM, it was published and denied in 2019 prior to his surprise enlistment) so yeah they don’t seem to care about his solo career & they didn’t book any type of activities to promote it (he even apologized for it). The making of his album video content show how much control D.O. is having behind cameras, he also chose the album collab himself & to have english and spanish versions, which surprised me the most. Also, despite him being a former lover of R&B, at the same time that he started acting, he started pushing acoustic sounds & he got a solo stage with a simple voice-and-instrument romantic song (piano) during exo concerts. His recommendations since them consist of folk songs/acoustic guitar by english native singers & he basically covered only Bruno Mars and Jbieber since 2015 but he promised to show “new sides” in a second album that must be arriving probably soon together with XIUMIN’s debut & KAI’s comeback and a new exo subunit before the contract ends. It’s being quite similar to SNSD’s situation in 2016/2017.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. to be honest, I was pretty surprised with this album’s genre. Not entirely, given DO’s station song. I’m not an EXO-L so I don’t know the ins and outs of his musical aspirations, but given the whole RnB king thing I expected something between Kai and Baekhyun’s album, except a lot more vocally full bodied. At first, the album felt like a bore, despite acoustic pop being a genre I quite enjoy. Over time though, it grew on me. The music is an accompaniment to DO’s voice more than anything. He paints a rich and full sonic landscape with his voice, it’s a treat to tune into.

    I do wish however that a more solid drum/percussion would set into the song after the first chorus— even something as simple as a cajon to add some complexity to the song.

    If this is DO’s artistic route, then he can pull it off well, but he might need some stronger bsides that don’t blend into one another. There’s a lot of room for him to play with, tbh.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “However, SM Entertainment doesn’t seem to know what to do with his skills. D.O. has stated his desire to challenge an easy-on-the-ears acoustic sound for this release, but I wish he would have set his ambitions higher.”

    After that Forbes misguided article, another person who seems to have no idea of what’s going on with his album solo release. Is it a trend?

    Liked by 2 people

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