Bear hugs for XOXO ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

Okay, now that Dinoseoul’s ‘XOXO’ review is up (read it here) and I’ve already attempted to string my thoughts together into something semi-objective and coherent, I am now free to fangirl about how deeply infatuated I am with EXO-M. I’m not gonna even lie – right from the start, I’ve always preferred M over K… perhaps it was because Kris somehow caught my eye first in the ‘MAMA’ MV and I went through a somewhat embarrassing period of time where all I could talk about was Kris and his gorgeous bitchface (sigh…I know I know). But loooook… /deep sigh/ I’ll patiently wait for him to return to this beautiful hair colour and take back his title of ‘Krisus’.

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It also seemed like EXO-K barely had any interviews then while M was scheduled for something practically everyday and those live China interviews were sooooo awkward and my heart totally went out to the six of them because they didn’t have the luxury of being edited skillfully like their K counterparts did. Besides the fact that I didn’t have to wait for subs since my grasp of Chinese was at least adequate enough to get me by without resorting to English subs, I just naturally gravitated towards the six of them as I watched them grow and become more confident with each interview.

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Don’t get me wrong, I do like EXO-K, but I just feel like the M boys feel a little closer to home somehow and they’re really just the underdogs and that may also be why I was so against EXO promoting as one. I definitely looked forward to OT12 stages back during the ‘MAMA’ promotion cycle because those were few and far between so it was something exciting and different, but having all the ‘Wolf’ stages being performed by all twelve… I just don’t know if SM will allow M to shine as brightly as K in Korea since the members may not be as popular there. I mean, just look at how even in the OT12 Chinese version, Kyungsoo and Baekhyun dominated (I will forever be butthurt about this let’s be real here). But still, I do concede that it’s definitely a good thing that M gets to join K on the weekly music shows because M barely had any performances for a loooong time after their debut while K was practically performing 4 to 5 times a week so this will give them the chance to up their popularity and exposure.

With all that said, ‘XOXO’ is still such a good album and yes, both ‘Kiss’ and ‘Hug’ versions. I still have trouble telling Kyungsoo’s and Baekhyun’s voices apart because they’re really pretty similar in pitch (or is it just me???) and while Suho is totally leaping up my EXO bias list with his constant smile and sweet voice, I love how all the voices in M are so… unique and different from one other. Because of that, it’s quite easy to tell their different voices apart.

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Okay, I suck at describing voices but first of all, Chen has that really high sometimes almost nasally tone (though ahem Rachel would beg to differ) and he does pretty much all the belting and most of the adlibs. I know his Korean accent comes through quite often while he’s singing but I’m still really impressed at his pronunciation overall especially with the massive amount of lines he has to familiarise himself with and belt convincingly.

Kris has that signature growly/slurry thing going on where he sounds drunk/high or just plain lazy most of the time. I’ve never hidden my disdain for his rapping, and I guess if I weren’t clear before, I’ll say again that I really don’t like it and I think he’s simply not suited for it. He doesn’t have flow and he’s way too slow but I guess that’s not an excuse because you can have a deep voice and not rap fast and still be amazing at what you do (just look at Bang Yongguk). His constant growliness just makes everything more hilarious (like in ‘Let Out the Beast’) and I don’t know why SM didn’t just make him a vocalist because he does have a really surprisingly pleasant singing voice (that’s actually much better than his K counterpart, Chanyeol‘s) and sings quite a bit throughout the album. I also like his voice when he’s doing anything other than attempting to rap, like in ‘My Lady’ (at 1:54) when he’s sort of sing talking and it actually kinda suits the raspy quality that his voice posesses.

Xiumin‘s voice I’m not a huge fan of, if I’m being honest, because it’s just not very melodious but it could just be because he’s not had the opportunity to properly showcase his voice especially with the minimal amount of lines he gets throughout the album. I mean, he couldn’t have won that 2008 Everysing contest if he had zilch talent right? Then sweet, sweet Lay with his cute high-pitched voice and his thick accent that just makes me smile, and Luhan, whose voice might just be my favourite ever in EXO because it’s just gorgeous to listen to and I love the way he stretches to reach some of those notes and he’s also always so heartfelt in his delivery.

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And finally Tao, whose voice is like this gem I never knew existed because who knew he could sing like that??? He has one of my favourite type of singing voices; it’s like one of those typical teenybopper boyband voices, if that even makes sense – like, I swear to god he sings the same way Joe Jonas does where they get a little breathy and high pitched at the end of each line, and the way he slangs, like I can’t even explain (though I guess anyone who didn’t get into Jonas Brothers at one point in their lives wouldn’t get this reference). I mean, just listen to his lines in ‘3.6.5’ (at 0:14), ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Don’t Go’ and basically all the songs where he has singing lines instead of rap parts, you should be able to somewhat get what I mean… kinda? I really enjoy his rapping as well and even though his high pitch contrasts with Kris’ much lower one, there are also some tracks where he lowers his tone a little like in ‘Baby Don’t Cry’ (right after the second last chorus). And possibly one of my favourite things about Tao aside from his versatility, is how underneath his impossibly good-looking badass wushu exterior, he’s really a 13-year-old overly-emotional princess who likes to look pretty, take mirror selcas, shop at Gucci and cry over horror stories.

I’m sure it’ll change but my current favourites in the ‘Hug’ version are ‘Don’t Go’, ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘3.6.5’ but to be honest, every song in ‘XOXO’ is so listenable and there’s not a single track I’d skip even if I do love certain songs a little more than others. This whole album was just such a nice surprise because I didn’t expect it to be as quality as it turned out to be. Definitely worth a listen… or ten. And for anyone who’s confused about who sings what during which part, this link would be super helpful to get you acquainted with all the different voices.

So….. in short, I just have a lot of EXO-M feels. Ok bye.

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6 thoughts on “Bear hugs for XOXO ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ

  1. I hope you don’t think i’m stalking your wordpress or what but anyway (=’.’=)

    I have a bigger soft spot for EXO-M than i do for EXO-K as well haha. And FINALLY someone who agrees that Baekhyun/Kyungsoo had most of the lines and everything! I’m pretty butthurt too, lol, partly because Chen is one of my favourites. My friend said something which was quite sad though, lemme quote it. “One’s in EXO-M and the other two are in EXO-K. They might all be Korean, but they were never equal from the start.” Cries.

    Thank you so much for the cc lyrics link – I need to abuse that link asap I’m so bad at telling their voices apart aside from like, Chanyeol, Chen and Suho. Fail, I admit. My favourite songs from the album are pretty much the same as yours, with the addition of ‘Black Pearl’. Normally I don’t have much love for SM bands (oops) but this album totally surprised me at how good it was. Ugh EXO I have no space for you please T_T

    1. Hahaha no way I like receiving comments anyway! Since it just gives me an excuse to blabber on even more about things I like n__n

      Haha wow I didn’t think Suho had thaaat distinct a voice that you’d be able to tell it apart so easily out of the 12 but I really do like his voice it’s so sweet and easy to listen to :-) and I actually quite like Black Pearl too! It’s just that after listening to it in the highlight medley my expectations were waaaaay too high bc i loved it so much and i guess the full version fell short, just a little. And I just love M so much and it’s so true about “they were never equal from the start” but Chen and Xiumin were actually asked once if they ever felt like maybe they’d have preferred to be put in K and Chen was all “not for a single moment because music is universal and as long as I get to sing” and I’m just T__T BB C’MERE

      LMAO I’m the same about SM groups! I could never get into SNSD, SHINee, etc. so I was like no way will I like EXO but then I watched the MV for MAMA and then there was no turning back /cries/

      1. Totally true I could babble on for ages, lol.

        I think not in the 12 but at least within EXO-K I can tell which is Suho? It’s kinda special, or maybe just to me. Suho’s hard life as a leader forever though, being perpetually bullied by the dongsaengdeul. Like really. Then again EXO-K are so young (I never knew Xiumin was the oldest ..or that Tao’s a whole year older than Sehun) compared to M so I guess maybe it’s a mix of hyung/dongsaeng. But as much as I love Chanyeol and Kyungsoo, I think I have more love for EXO-M. I just don’t know why.

        And aww Chen’s comment is so bloody adorable why are you you Kim Jongdae. His chinese at the start was so shaky! I hope it’s better after a year. Tao and Yixing’s korean did impress the hell outta me during their MAMA period though. (I haven’t had enough EXO-love to go watch their recent interviews, haha so I don’t know the current state of the chinese boys’ Korean). But UGH YIXING gonna be the death of me. Did you see him and Leo (the very same skinshiphobic, smiles once in a blue moon Jung Leo we all thought we knew) being all friendly during the Inkigayo closing? I think I exploded T_T

        HAHA I was into SHINee a long time ago, and DBSK after that but I just have this resentment towards SM (in that I make hell lotta snarky comments about how they mistreat the kids etc.) and generally go “meh” at like the bigger bands like Suju and SNSD, oops. But EXO are kids – dude they look like a class of kiddos going on an excursion at the airport everytime – and I think my old as hell 89line instincts just want to love them like baby dongsaengs omg. WHAT IS MY LIFE

      2. Haha so sorry I keep putting off replying bc I know I’ll end up replying back with an essay T__T first of all, YES TO LEO X LAY and YES to any form of VIXX/EXO interaction basically!!! Did you see them at EXO’s first win? Start of a beautiful blossoming friendship, is what I call it (◡‿◡✿)

        Do you have a bias in EXO? I’ve started to like Suho A LOT bc he’s just so smiley and caring and sincere and tiny but I heart Yixing with the fiery of a thousand suns and idk everything he does is just amazing to me and his Korean has improved a lot! I wasn’t all that impressed actually at the start but I like how the Chinese members are getting more comfortable with the language. Apparently, Tao and Luhan converse a lot in Korean now! But Luhan’s always been good though since he was on exchange there to pick up the language and everything.

        And PMSL about Chen and the marbles in his mouth. I don’t think he’s that bad???? But I really think out of the vocalists in OT12, he’s really the most stable and consistent and he hits his high notes flawlessly during the ‘Wolf’ stages each time (AHEM BAEKHYUN). And Kris isn’t soooo bad when he’s not trying so hard. He sounded quite good and natural rapping here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCYdxSP2y6o it’s almost… soothing? I was quite surprised HAHA.

      3. Also, I need to say that lol Kris isn’t Krisus no more, I’m calling him benben for life. I wish his hair would come back too! As for his rapping LOL I get nothing especially when he raps fast. My friend calls Chen’s chinese singing gibberish, not sure if it’s affectionately or not, but lol Kris is the king of gibberish >_>

        Chen’s gibberish is adorable lol I can’t he always sounds like he’s singing with marbles in his mouth <3

  2. Here I come with an essay in reply :D

    Yes omg during EXO’s first win! Tbh I was a bit bitter cause I mean EXO are still so new and alot of bands haven’t won and I keep attributing the win to their hiatus lol. But yeah XOXO is such a good album though, they deserve the wins. And finally EXO-M has some recognition! *beams*

    Lol back to the point on VIXXO (vixx/exo? exoxx? vixexo? LOL). Leo just lingered around like slowly walked, I’m quite sure he was WAITING for Yixing to see him! Then when Lay saw him lol there was a crowd of people in front of him but my favourite chinese wolf just bulldozed through everyone to get to Leo. Sadly they didn’t even HUG T_T And of course my favourite little bb wolf Kyungsoo hugging his VIXX chingus (aka the 93twins) like he hasn’t seen them for a lifetime. FEELS ;_;

    I generally have half of EXO that I like more than the other, but I think my favourite of all would be Kyungsoo. Too cute damnit. I feel like flinging myself off a clip everytime he does something. But yes I love Suho too he’s just special I think like there’s a whole other side of him that he doesn’t show the camera. He’s always trying his hardest to be outgoing and stuff on shows but at airports he’s all quiet and it’s just intriguing to me. I ship Sudo til death though, they’re too cute together, especially when they’re being all parent-y at the airports.

    (Insert obligatory fangirling over D.O rummaging through Suho’s backpack while Leader’s talking to the cameras. It was so cute how they’re just so silently compatible LOL and how Kyungsoo doesn’t even care about the cameras and Suho just stands still so he can get out the kids’ passports or whatever)

    I’m super impressed with the Chinese members being able to speak Korean so well now? Esp Tao and Yixing. Lol Chen’s chinese, on the other hand..

    Lol don’t get me wrong I love Chen’s voice. It’s super special and I think marbles in the mouth sounds like a cute way to describe it. He’s the best singer there in my opinion. During SMTown when he sang some English song live together with Baekhyun Ryeowook and I forgot who is the other SM dude, I died. I really just. Died. (Lol I had a last-minute free ticket to SMTown and entered 1.5 hours after it started so I pretty much missed all EXO songs plus it was raining so sorry to the SM dude I forgot)

    Lol they’ve only sung Wolf live like 3 times? If I’m not wrong. I don’t get what is with EXO and lip-synching, sigh. But yes LOL Baekhyun I heard the almost-crack in mubank. I think they just don’t to sing live nearly enough for them to get used to it. And okay I’ll check out Kris’s rapping lulz I don’t think he’s bad just sometimes everything just ..blends into one.

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