Song Review: Chen (EXO) – Last Scene

Chen - Last SceneI’ll make a potentially unpopular confession: I’m just not a fan of Chen’s solo material. Given his status as a balladeer, the headwaters were always going to be against him. I don’t have much space in my music library for soft ballads. But, I love his voice and there are quite a few EXO ballads I absolutely adore (Miracles In December is a holiday classic, after all!). I prefer ballads that have a sense of musical drama – the same peaks and valleys that make any type of song enjoyable.

New single Last Scene (사라지고 있어) is a snooze. A native speaker might have a different opinion, as lyrical sentiment seems equally (or more) important than the music itself. But as someone looking for a great melody and bravura performance, Last Scene leaves me cold. It’s about as slow and hushed as a song can get, placing Chen’s voice over subdued piano. In this way, parts of Last Scene have similar heft to my beloved Miracles In December. But, the song lacks a great tune. It laps in and out like a gentle tide rather than weave a satisfying story with build and payoff.

Last Scene is at its best when it lets Chen stretch his vocals and go full-on musical theater. He sounds stirring on these big power notes, even if they never amount to a show-stopping moment that could act as a natural climax. Before we know it, the song has faded to a close without imparting much of an impression. It’s a missed opportunity, but I’m sure it will do well among ballad-lovers – especially during these chilly fall and winter months.

Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7

Grade: C-


16 thoughts on “Song Review: Chen (EXO) – Last Scene

  1. I’ve only lurked before, but I’m commenting to let you know that I think the b-side reminisce would be a ballad you would prefer, since it definitely has more of a climax. I don’t mind seems to be a fan favorite as well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed with “Reminisce”. The chorus and that bridge both show a solid display of Chen’s powerful vocals that we barely got in the title track. Also this is the closest we’re going to get to a rock track from him for now.

      “I Don’t Even Mind” is fine, but I wished we got a stronger and more darker instrumental (especially in the chorus) to amplify his vocals. Still, it’s nice to hear Chen trying a different vocal style there and I appreciate him for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Please, Chen, I’m begging you…your voice is a real treat no matter what the song is, but again, this is another dull, depressing ballad.
    I really wish that the horizons of his solo material were broadened..😓

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is a snoozer.

    “Reminsce “is “better” because it actually has higher notes and greater range, but it still paints with in the lines of the OST ballad of the month club from SM. I mean, Kyuhyun has a dozen of these alone, plus everyone else at SM.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Damn, I miss CBX so much. They had a pretty stellar discography.

      I found it funny how, overall, the lead vocalists and one of the main dancers of EXO released better material for their solos than the main vocalists. Suho’s “Grey Suit” was a very solid album and I still have that album on repeat.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I disagree that the lead vocalists have better albums. Bambi and Empathy are a class apart compared to Brand New and Peaches. Kai was definitely good, but Baekhyun and Kyungsoo’s music is much more complex and mature than the club music you usually get from Kai and Xiumin.


  4. Haven’t had time to listen to the full album yet (it’s on my to-do list), but I did listen to “Last Scene” once today, and I…don’t remember any of it. I do remember thinking the instrumental was pretty and that it was nice to be hearing Chen’s voice again but being confused as to what made this song stand-out enough to be a title track. Chen has a beautiful voice, and I do love a good ballad (I have bunches of Kyuhyun’s in my music collection, as well as some from others, including Chen himself), but this one came and went without really leaving an impression on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really do love ballads, but Last Scene doesn’t have the nice melody and memorable hook that immerse its listeners into that sentimental feeling. The b-sides don’t help much either. They feel like a very dull dramas OSTs’ compilation, but ballad OST shouldn’t have to be dull. Onew, for example, did quite an impressive job with all his ballad OST releases this year, with Blue standing out.

    Maybe I was hoping for Chen to take a more daring approach and show a more varied sound. Something like what Park Hyo Shin shows in I Am A Dreamer or Kim Yeon Woo in his many collaborations with Toy. Vocal wise, he’s outstanding, he is Chen after all, but his sound choice really frustrates me, especially when compared to his bandmates’ solo works. But he does seem really reluctant to try other genre than ballad (you can see this in Xiumin’s music video behind the scene).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess I’m in the minority but I love it!? The lyrics are so poignant and he sounds beautiful singing it, very full of emotion and lush swells. I thought the music video did well telling the story too. While I wasn’t as in love with his last two title tracks, this one is a winner for me.


  7. I haven’t listened to all the songs yet just 4, but I like the album so far. It has a very autumn feel. I don’t speak Korean but you can feel the sadness, regret and longing.
    I actually liked him singing in a lower register, he does have a more mature voice and gives more emotion then some. I think after Kyungsoo, he is my next fave from EXO.
    I believe he likes this genre of music, I’m sure I heard him say on a show once that he does his youtube channel to show the music he likes to sing.
    I would in the future (when the crazy folk calm down about him being married and a father now – don’t get me started on that!) That he could venture in some sexy r&b like 24/7, but he has such great range and control/technique that he could sing his shopping list and it would be amazing.
    Looking forward to Kyungsoo’s new album and fingers crossed one from Chanyeol that’s singing because he has improved so much and I love his deep singing voice.
    Anyway I’m proud of Chen for making music he likes and promoting in the face of some negative fans.


  8. There are a lot of people who actually love chen music so by saying this you’re Neglecting them. If you prefer cbx or other members music there’s nothing wrong about just wait for their comebacks without being disrespectful to chen’s hard work


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