Review: Call Me Baby – EXO

Hey y’all! I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed this group, so I figured now was as good a time as any. Before EXO debuted, I was pretty excited for them. They posted a couple of teasers. A couple turned into 23, and I lost interest. The group has had some great songs, but I’ve never really become a fan of the group as a whole. And now, with members leaving left and right, it doesn’t feel like the right time to get into them. But that doesn’t mean I can’t listen to their music! So without further ado, let’s take a look at EXO’s Call Me Baby.

exo exodus

Here’s the music video with English subtitles:

The song is a surprisingly heartfelt love song. I say surprisingly, because the music video is full of fancy cars, strange fashion, and dancing in empty rooms. The SM Entertainment trifecta! But the lyrics are pretty intense: the guy is in love with a girl who is his light in the darkness, who changed him for the better.

The lyrics make it seem like a sincere love song, and they almost seem like a ballad would be more fitting. The title “Call Me Baby” is also at odds with the lyrics. It doesn’t carry the same significance as the rest of the song. With lines like “you seeped into my dry lips and woke me up,” it seems like the speaker was having an existential crisis that was solved by a woman. “Call Me Baby,” is just weak in comparison.

Speaking of things that are weak, let’s go to the video. It begins in a garage filled with expensive cars. SM has definitely never done that before. As per usual for SM, the video holds no significance to the lyrics. There’s a lot of “dance in a box” scenes, including one set against a white backdrop.  There are no lights, no effects, and not a scrap of color. It seems SM is getting lazier than ever.

Expensive cars = attractive men, right?

Expensive cars = quality MV, am I right?

Besides the garage and plain white sheet, there’s one more set, in what looks like an empty warehouse. The camera spins around them, zooming in and out, but… nothing happens. Nothing besides dancing, that is. The dance is all right, but not stunning. With a group as large as EXO, there’s more room for error, and you can tell when the members aren’t in sync. Seeing these dance scenes makes the garage scene not so bad after all.

There are multiple outfits per member, but some of them are so cringe-worthy I wonder what SM’s stylists were thinking. Some are your typical K-pop fare, with lots of leather and graphic t-shirts, but there are others that look like they waltzed out of a 90’s boyband. One guy wears a blue polo with blue matching shorts, another has a center part, and there are more turtlenecks than I care to count.

The 90's called. They want their fashion back.

The 90’s called. They want their style (or lack thereof) back.

The song itself is alright. It’s catchy enough, but there isn’t much to set it apart for me. It sounds very much like a boyband song. Other reviewers have compared it to NSYNC, saying that this would be what the group’s music might sound like today if they were still around. I don’t disagree- I think this song could belong to any group, honestly.

Maybe it’s because I’m not familiar with EXO’s style. Maybe this is EXO’s style. Maybe it’s because they’ve lost members and they’re playing it safe.  It just sounds almost generic to me. I wish I could like it more, but it really doesn’t stand out.

I think it may be a testament to how lazy SM Entertainment is. They know people will watch the music videos no matter what, so why not save money by having them dance in a box? They know people will listen regardless, so why make unique music?

Nothing cheaper than a plain white wall!

Nothing cheaper than a plain white wall!

All in all, it was a decent song, but nothing I was particularly crazy about. This come-back wasn’t enough to really draw me into EXO as a group, but I’ll have plenty of other chances to change their mind. Knowing SM, they’ll run the group into the ground, so EXO will be releasing music for plenty of time to come.

Pros:

-The song is catchy, despite being generic.

-Really compelling lyrics.

Cons:

-SM Ent strikes again with the most boring video ever!

-Questionable styling.

Rating: 3/5

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