Fans 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.