While I changed some things about this article, I still strongly believe “Call Me Baby” is one of the greatest title tracks of all time.
Update: 6/22/2023 – While working on the article talking about THE WAR, I decided to come back to this article, original title Call Me Baby & EXODUS, and add LOVE ME RIGHT to this one.
Finally working on this EXO series has kinda complicated things. I meant to start this series years ago, and now two years later (almost) since this article was released. So far I’ve lumped EXO’s first three albums together, and put EX’ACT and LOTTO.
I decided that because these repackage albums have two or three songs that I like, might as well include them in the album review. So while typing the intro to THE WAR, I quickly realized I wanted to do the same for THE POWER OF MUSIC.
So what about EXODUS? I could continue my original plan of having it in my final article of the series, or I could just come back and add to this one. It would make things more organized and flow better….
So…yeah. LOVE ME RIGHT will now be a part of this article. This is why I love blogging versus video content. I’d have to make an entirely different video. I hope y’all enjoy this new version of this article!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LOVE ME RIGHT
Mannnnnn coming off the high that was EXODUS just for them to follow up with LOVE ME RIGHT? I think that just added to the reasons for why I fully became an EXO-L. Back to back bangers.
I was watching everything EXO related that they dropped. Following accounts that had either a sole focus on EXO or a specific member, or had them in their top 3-5 fave groups.
I was never a huge fan of the American Football concept for “Love Me Right”. But I don’t feel like it ruined anything. How else would we have this iconic moment with D.O and the lockers:
I got this clip here from here btw Wouldn’t let me just download the gif, weird.
But it wasn’t my favorite EXO styling moment, that goes to the outfits of them in the woods and during the Alice in Wonderland like moments. When they’re outside and in the house.
Idk if SM ever confirmed that. We have different fan examples and theories supporting that being the inspiration for that part of the music video for “Love Me Right”.
I think it makes sense, especially Chanyeol’s striped suit (Cheshire Cat) and Kai’s temper after he loses the video game and smashing the beer bottles(Red Queen). Kai’s hair also is kinda red here.
Oh speak of striped suits, that’s another look I loved in this video, followed by their individual looks like Kai’s yellow shirt and black pants look, and then all denim group look.
The purple smoke and outdoor scenes remind me so much of f(x)’s “4 Walls”. I love Sehun’s pink outfit, of course. But I lump that into the individual member looks.
The neon lights and that game room scene is my favorite layout in this video. I love the cute yet grungy vibes.
I think the most memorable line goes to Sehun and “Shawty Imma party til the sundown”. I like the arm choreography here too.
Oh, and Sehun and D.O singing, “I can do this all night long baby”.
I’m also a fan of how energetic Chanyeol is when he starts his “Just right” rap.
I won’t go into super detail on song credits for LOVE ME RIGHT. If you want to see everyone listed, I’ll link the wiki here.
But we do have some Jam Factory people and Ryan S Jhun, know for a tooon of SM songs.
AHHHHHHHHH. I loveeee “Tender Love”. Gaeko from Dynamic Duo is credited on this track and I can tell.
I don’t listen to a lot of Dynamic Duo, surprisingly considering the songs I do love with them on the track are some of my favorite songs ever (“Attraction” by Bumkey and “Eleven” by Wanna One, Mcountdown version here).
I loved the bright and upbeat details on “Love Me Right” but I missed R&B EXO. “Tender Love” scratches that itch. It’s still pretty bright, but it has some retro vibes to it.
I haven’t listened to “Tender Love” as much lately, not like I used to. I need to fix that.
EXO 2014 (Promise 약속)
The draaaaaama. I fooking loveeeee this song. I love the passion and delivery in Chanyeol’s rap. Lay also does the damn thing on this song. Love him getting that screen time. Both Lay and Chanyeol participated in the song creation for “Promise” along with Chen.
Lay however is the only member with credits under lyrics, music, and arrangement under the Wiki section.
“Promise” is my most listened to song out of all three of these when it comes to long term listening.
This song definitely isn’t last because I forgot about this song 😅. I haven’t heard this song in agggggeeees, omg. It’s good. I gotta bring this back into rotation.
The flow does remind me a bit of “What Is Love”.
Reading the Wiki about this album, they talked about how this song was released as a thank you to the fans, but EXO-L weren’t having it and wanted answers to what was going on with Tao and the other members at the time. So SM ended up privatizing the video like 10 hours later.
How come I don’t remember this? It must have been the time difference or something. Lmaoooo that’s so funny. Fans boycotting/standing together for a (good) cause will never not be funny to me.
Anyway, this is another Jam Factory and multiple other producers and arrangers involved with the creation of this song “First Love”.
Also has a bit of a retro vibe to it as well.
Yeah, I’m gonna be bringing this back into rotation. I love rediscovering songs.
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 almost immediately. 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.
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 and LOVE ME RIGHT. 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”.
Ash🐰 (get it because Playboy Bunny… I’ll see myself out)