It’s a double dose of EXO in their latest music video. Out today (Nov. 27), the K-pop superstars returned with “Obsession,” the lead track of their new album of the same name.
Their sixth EP since their start in 2012, OBSESSION, introduces a new form of EXO. It fittingly features a six-member lineup of the group, with members Chen, Suho, Chanyeol, Baekhyun, Kai and Sehun holding the fort as the rest of the typically nine-member act are on hiatus due to solo work and fulfilling their mandatory service in South Korea’s armed forces.
But don’t worry: even though there are few less members of EXO participating in this release, they brought their X-EXO clones to duke it out with the active members in their music video for “Obsession.”
Fronted by a sample of a squelched, seemingly female voice repeating “I want you” that can be heard throughout the majority of the track, dropping so quiet at times it’s almost subliminal, the act’s new single is a dramatic hip-pop tune that changes things up for EXO. Their first release since last year’s duo of the a capella-laden “Tempo” and seductive “Love Shot,” “Obsession” spends its time waging war with the members’ vocals, partially disguising their tones with intense digital distortion and partially emphasizing the pristine colors of each member’s voice, whether singing harmoniously or serving up a terse raps.
“Obsession” is followed on the album by eight other original tracks, and the LP closes out with a Chinese variant of the single. Between the pair, the members of EXO spend their time exploring just about every genre under the sun, slipping funky dance moments alongside smooth alt R&B ones and everything in between throughout the LP’s length.
Ngọt (Sweet) is an indie-pop band from Vietnam that got started through social media in 2014, and soon resonated through the underground music community. In 2015, Ngọt self-released their first self-titled album and quickly sold all 1,000 copies of their CDs in just four days.
Fast forward to 2018, at Vietnam’s prestigious music awards, Giải Âm Nhạc Cống Hiến, they were awarded both Song of the Year and Best New Artist of the Year, which surprised the audience, as it was the first time that an underground, indie-based artist has received such recognition. Meet Trong Thang, Viet Hoang, Nam Anh and Chi Hung: four talented young guys from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
For their third album — simply titled 3 (Young and exciting new Ngọt music collection 2019) — there was no particular message or concept to their latest 14-track album. Without being boxed into a concept or story, the boys enjoy and appreciate flexibility and freedom to create the music they want.
This is seen in the way they name their songs in lowercase mixed with capital letters, or in the way they sequence the 14 songs in no particular order or flow. Initially, the band did not want to number the songs on the album either, intending to give the listener the freedom to listen to the songs on the album randomly.
Their second album, Ng`bthg (loosely translated as “The Ordinary One”), was a little more specific and rational than the newer one. The band was ruled more on emotion, rather than randomness, in the creation of the album.
“The beauty is in the balance,” Trong Thang shared. “When we write an album filled with reason or emotion, it has its merit too. We just need a scale which measures everything in which we are feeling most comfortable within the creation of any album.”
Album 3 took more than two years to write and produce. They said that many times after recording a final take, they felt unsatisfied and incomplete, so they would record another one. Even when they were near the final stages of production, they still had a feeling of incompleteness during editing — so they went back to the drawing board. “In fact, 3 is an album that still makes us feel the least comfortable, leaving us with a sense of vulnerability,” Viet Hoang said.