By: Zessa F Ghaisani |
EXO-SC made a comeback with their first full length album “10억뷰 (1 Billion Views)” this summer, almost a year after their debut with “What A Life” on July 22nd last year. Strongly packed with Sehun & Chanyeol’s signature rapping style, the album also featured many artists from the Korean hip hop & R&B scene (such as Gaeko from Dynamic Duo who also participated in the making of their debut EP, “What A Life”, Boi B, Gray, Penomeco, DAX, SOLE) and Chanyeol’s very own independent music collective Studio 519 (consisting of himself credited as Loey, Hyun MQ, Yunji, and Jeon Yongjun). Sehun and Chanyeol once again showcase their songwriting skills through all of the tracks in the album, just like they did through “What A Life”.
The album opens with title track “10억뷰 (1 Billion Views)”, featuring K-R&B singer Moon. The lyrics tell a story of a person who misses their lover so much to the point where they look at their lover’s videos a billion times to fulfill their longing. The disco influenced track consists of trendy beats and funky guitar riffs in the background and it is quite muggle-friendly (muggles—how K-Pop fans call their non K-Pop friends) and catchy to the ear. Sehun and Chanyeol showcase their rap skills with smooth flows and easy-to-remember lyrics while Moon fills the track with her husky vocals in the bridge of the song, giving the already funky song an R&B vibe.
Next, we have “Say It”, a song featuring singer-rapper Penomeco, who also participated in writing the song. “Say It” is a hip hop song with a chill ambience that make you want to groove along. The song uses minimalistic beats and tropical percussions in the background which add “summer vibes” to the song. You can’t help but just nod along to the beats until the song ends.
Third track is the infamous “로데오역 (Rodeo Station)”. This song has been dubbed as a fan-favorite due to it telling stories from Sehun and Chanyeol‘s trainee days. The song is decorated with guitar riffs made by Chanyeol himself and minimal percussions with casual beats.
Continuing our journey through the album, we are now reaching “척 (Telephone)”, the song that was released earlier than the rest of the tracks as a “special present” for fans on July 7th. Korean folk singer 10cm is featured in the bridge of the song. The song reminds me of early 2000s hip hop with its cheerful piano riffs, with the MV giving off 2000s teen series/movies vibe.
The fifth track of the album is a sentimental one – “시차적응 (Jet Lag)”. Channeling their sensitive sides, Sehun and Chanyeol tell stories of a longing lover who feels that their love with their partner has fallen apart due to the distance between them. If you‘ve known Sehun since his debut days, we can notice that his vocal has improved a long way as we listen to the song. His harmonization with Chanyeol in the chorus sounds great (vocalist Sechan rise!). Chanyeol’s deep vocals add more depth & emotions to the lyrics.
In a recent interview, Chanyeol revealed that he was bullied during his middle school years due to him being tiny among his peers, thus making him always “hide”, before eventually growing taller and taller, making him as tall as 185 cm today. The song “날개 (Fly Away)” is apparently related to this story, with the lyrics “do not hide yourself, spread your wings and just fly away”. This track features singer-rapper Gaeko from Dynamic Duo, who also participated in the songwriting and production process. I personally think this song could become an anime ending title song.
The last part of the album consists of two solo tracks, titled “Nothin’” and “On Me”, which belong to Chanyeol and Sehun respectively.
“Nothin’” is a sentimental, low tempo hip hop song, with a dreamy electric guitar instrumental in the background to accompany Chanyeol’s raps and vocals. The lyrics tell about how the protagonist doesn’t ever worry about nothin’, boasting how they can do whatever they want to do without caring for other people’s thoughts about them. Chanyeol is said to participate in the song-making especially the lyrics and composing parts. The track snippet and short music video were released prior the album release date on July 8th.
Last but not least, we are finally reaching the last track of the album which is Sehun’s solo track “On Me”. As a fan of the “Step Up” franchise, this song personally reminds me of the songs that are featured in the “Step Up” movies – from the beat drops, strong synthesizers, trap beats, and even the lyrics. Sehun is said to participate in the writing process and composition of the song, boasting his confidence in the lyrics. Since the track snippet and music video were released on July 9th and easily became a fan favorite since Sehun was shown dancing confidently with a team of female backup dancers in the MV (his pet dog, Vivi, was even included in the video – and the lyrics).
Overall, the whole album bears a slight representation of Sehun and Chanyeol’s images since both of them have bright and cheerful images in fans’ eyes. The album also proves that EXO-SC songs are different from what they usually show in their full group (EXO) activity. It can be considered an upgrade from “What A Life”, proving that Sehun and Chanyeol are more than just idol group members and demonstrating their musicianship.
My personal rating for the whole album: 9 out of 10
Personal favorite tracks: Telephone, Jet Lag, On Me
Listen to the whole album here