Music Review

EXO – Call Me Baby & EXODUS Review

I was gonna do “Love Me Right” with this one, but I decided I’ll cover that in a separate post.

Mostly because I remembered I didn’t take pictures of the album I have. I’m also not ready to get into the greatness that is the theming for the music video. Soooo y’all gotta wait. But in the meantime, I’m always ready to discuss the game-changing album that is EXODUS and one of the literal greatest title tracks of all time, “Call Me Baby”. So let’s get into it!


CALL ME BABY

I need to give a little background to my nostalgia with “Call Me Baby”. So it’s August 2014, and I just finished watching the music video for “Danger”. Wanting more (no pun intended) I looked on YouTube for live stages of Taemin’s solo. I ran across “Pretty Boy” and loved every second of it. My only dismay was that there was an EXO member. And despite being a new Kpoppie, I was already seeing the exodus of EXO’s Chinese members jumping ship and SME attempting to put the fires out with all the drama going on.

So I didn’t want anything to do with EXO initially. Until I watched the “Pretty Boy” performance and I thought, “well he’s cute, how bad can (he and) EXO be?”

Some weeks went by, other groups I was following released things (like One Direction), but then SM started releasing trailers for EXO’s comeback. I didn’t pay too much attention other than knowing it was supposed to spell out the title track. Then at some point some EXO-Ls thought it was gonna be called Call Me Daddy. I remember it trending on Twitter and thinking,”Oh my godddd.” But then SM confirmed it was Call Me Baby because the locations spelled out the title track or something like that. I also remember some EXO-Ls being disappointed because they felt baby didn’t add up with what they thought the title was. It was just a lot going on. Mostly excitement.

So once the video dropped, I remember watching it and feeling my third eye open. I felt very much like Erica Dixon’s famous “This is not something they made.” scene from Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. That scene is full of memes and gifs floating around the internet if you were curious about where they were from, lmao. Season 3 LLHA was peak PEAK 2014 reality TV. Anyway, back to EXO. “Call Me Baby” was the first Kpop music video I remember watching multiple times in one sitting because of how obsessed and in awe I was. No one was doin it like them!! And that’s when I knew I was in trouble and gonna be an EXO-L. The song was too damn catchy and the styling!!! Well except for Suho’s hair when they’re in the car, other than that very one point. No misses.

The styling for “Call Me Baby” that comes immediately is them in the leather jackets (except Lay and Sehun’s jackets, but you know what I mean), ripped skinny jeans that’s in the featured image. I loved loved loved the heavy eye makeup. Baekhyun specifically. He killed it. Blonde Lay for those about 15 seconds in the video, then he just wore a hat the rest of the time. Tao’s blonde hair was cute too. Chanyeol’s gray hair. Sehun’s undercut and pushed back hair. Xiumin, D.O, Suho, Chen, and Kai’s varying degrees of brown to almost blonde hair looking amazing. I really liked Chen’s fluffy hair.

The second outfit that comes to mind are the Call Me Baby shirts. The ones where they each had a letter that spelled it out when they were standing in a specific order while performing. And Xiumin having to wear two Ls because this was around the time Tao decided to leave as well. ASDFGHJK. I’m not going to get into the details if you don’t know. But I do still follow Tao’s career and at the time I was baby EXO-L so him leaving didn’t have much effect on me because I was just learning more about all of them. I was very much team Tao (and the rest of lawsuit line) though. I hadn’t seen a lot of company mistreatment at the time, but I knew I couldn’t trust these companies, lol. I also remember thinking it’d just be best for the remaining members to just continue on despite the drama.

Going back to “Call Me Baby” musically, one of the most memorable things are the English lines. You couldn’t go anywhere on the Kpop parts of the internet and not see someone make a “Never don’t mind about a thing” reference. Actually this era was just okay, what line is Sehun gonna get that’s gonna be stuck with us for days. Baekhyun, Chen, and D.O as usual just cleanse your soul with their vocals and line delivery.

A few more favorite parts of CMB, and then we can move on to the rest of the album. I was a Kai stan (lmao) so him being the first member you see in the video was the best thing for me at the time. You just couldn’t go wrong with Kai as the center. Still kind of can’t. D.O’s lil shimmy about halfway through the video during his solo still sends me. Baekhyun’s dramatic hand thing during his solo. The overall filming of CMB, with the members just randomly appearing on-screen and the continuous panning of the camera throughout. Chefs kiss. This video should have hit 300 millon views a looooong time ago.

TRANSFORMER

I didn’t notice until looking closer at Spotify for this post that almost all the song titles on EXODUS are capitalized. I’m not writing that way here, just in the header. Anyway, I love “Transformer”. I always imagined like a Gundam suit like character that EXO would fight for a music video for this song lol. Like very literal. Because just a girl with changing moods is kinda boring.

What If…(시선 둘 시선 하나)

My favorite song off EXODUS. Before I really put in time into learning Korean, this was one of the songs I listened to so much, I could sing most of it in Korean without looking at the lyrics. It’s still one of my favorite EXO/Kpop songs in general. It’s just everything I need in a midtempo song I can dance to it. Pretend like I’m filming a music video. Just vibe to it.

MY ANSWER

Oh man. Y’all know I don’t typically like boring ballads. EXO is ALWAYS the exception to that rule. I will stop whatever I’m doing and soak in an EXO ballad. This album (along with “Miracles in December” in my EXO deep dive as a baby EXO-L) really made me appreciate Baekhyun and D.O’s vocal talent. Chen too of course, but more of on the Chinese version of EXODUS, since at this point EXO was still divided into units. Which is so weird to think about in 2021. It’s sacrilegious to one, to skip and EXO ballad, and two, not give it the proper praise because EXO (Suho, and the others who are usually back up at this point) knock it out of the park.

EXODUS

The irony. I remember watching this performance too and eating it up. I like “Exodus” as a song. It’s fun and catchy. But it’s not one of the top songs I still listen to regularly now. If it pops up on shuffle, I may or may not listen to it. A live performance like the one above is the best way to listen to it imo.

EL DORADO

Same case with “El Dorardo”. Side note, I remember these outfits and screaming because of how good they looked in them. I’m really missing this EXO era, omggg.

PLAYBOY

So…not to be a Shawol on main….but we can’t talk about the gem that is “Playboy” without talking about Mr. Kim Jonghyun of SHINee. Long story short, he wrote the song and gave it to EXO. There’s so debate on if he gifted the song to EXO or if SME took the song and reworked it for EXO. SM is better now about letting their artist have more influence in writing and producing their music. If you want more information, fyjjong has more info on their blog.

Alright, now to the version on EXODUS. You can hear Jonghyun in the background vocals if you listen hard enough.

“Playboy” is my third favorite song from EXODUS. It’s sooo good. It’s more of a jazzy R&B style song. Just like a lot of Jonghyun’s music. I wasn’t surprised at all to hear he worked on it. It was difficult to post just the audio version fan cam versions. From what I remember, Kai and Sehun’s or if you can find a Lay fan cam, they had the best dance. I forgot who Lay was partnered with for the live versions. I still listen to “Playboy” frequently.

HURT

The red suits were iconic too. I love “Hurt” probably fourth or fifth favorite song from EXODUS. The instrumentals and vocals are just immaculate. SM used every opportunity to play “Hurt” during this era. That’s what you hear in the beginning of CMB.

Lady Luck

When I was deep in my EXO stan era, I had a period of time when Chanyeol was one of my favorite members. Like top 5. So I listened to “Lady Luck” a lot because it’s kinda his song. Plus, we know I’m a sucker for deep voices. “Lady Luck” is another song I consider fun for EXO. It doesn’t follow their typical formula of R&B, dance, or ballads. But it still works really well. They literally don’t make music like this anymore.

BEAUTIFUL

I can’t believe the video I used to watch/listen to all the time for “Beautiful” is still up. Absolutely wild. The official video is here. “Beautiful” is my second favorite song from EXODUS, and one of my all-time favorite songs in general. In Kpop and outside the genre. It’s another song that attached to me like a leech and never came off. It’s just so good and chill. I always felt that it should have gotten more attention. But the people who get it, get it.


EXODUS was such a turning point in EXO’s career. There were so many changes going on, and they were just on the rise of becoming one of the biggest acts South Korea had seen. It’s so weird remembering back to EXO right on the cusp of being the nation’s boy group and performing at the Winter Olympics.

For me personally, they were one of the first boy groups I really started following. I couldn’t decide on whose album version I wanted to buy because I wanted every member’s version. I think ultimately there were 20 different versions of EXODUS when you include the Chinese versions too. That’s why I was happy I loved Love Me Right Repackage. That made my decision super easy, and I got Kai’s photo card. But that’s a post for another day.

I hope y’all enjoyed this post. EXODUS is one of my favorite albums ever. You can start from “Call Me Baby” and walk away from the CD/playlist and listen to the whole album without skipping. You don’t have too many albums like that anymore. So as I think of more of my fave albums like that to share with y’all, I’ll make more posts like these.

Let me know what your favorite song is from EXODUS. When did you become an EXO-L or if you even like EXO lmao. Mention it all in the comments. Next up is Stray Kids for real this time. I’m so excited to talk about “Red Lights”.

Take Care!

Ash🐰 (get it because Playboy Bunny… I’ll see myself out)

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