My favorite comeback era 🎉 🎉
I forgot LOTTO was the repackage song, not on the original album.
So because there’s only two songs on there that I listen to frequently from there, I’m just including them on this album review, fave songs hybrid post.
In today’s article, I’m switching things up a little. Instead of talking about every song on the album, I’m gonna talk exclusively about my fave songs, the one I still get hyped about seven years later (as of writing, omg time flies fr).
So there are 10 songs in total, I’ve got some more backstory to get out of the way before the actual review.
I jumped around a bit on the song credits. For more details, you can check them out here.
So let’s get started!
So my baby EXO-L era I consider 2015-2016, pretty much leading up to THE WAR. I think of baby or new fan periods to be about a year or two, depending on the group.
Idk if everyone feels that way, but I think by year two you have a good idea of how frequently a group promotes, their activity level, nonsense older fans feel the company does to said group, etc.
That being considered, I consider EX’ACT to be my first EXO comeback. I witness the chaos of EXODUS and LOVE ME RIGHT, over this timespan, so I think I earned my stripes.
I was curious and interested in an EXO comeback, but this was the first time I was coming from a place of genuine excitement and keeping up with every teaser that dropped. I was an outsider looking in with “Call Me Baby”.
This time I had more knowledge and was a bit more prepared for what I was gonna see… Sort of.
Suho thumbnail? Love that for us.
Yeah, I wasn’t ready at all for this comeback, lol. I thought I was. Double title tracks usually aren’t my favorite because one song always overshadows the other. But in this situation, I really love both songs.
I’m excited because now we can talk more about who worked on these songs. For some reason, on Wikipedia, they don’t have the song credit breakdown for the first couple of EXO releases. The ones from like 2012-2014. Not sure what’s up with that.
But of course my beloveds LDN Noise are allll over this album. That’s probably why is this one of my favorite EXO albums. I love their house/dance tracks. I was obsessed with this album when it dropped.
I think this might be my second favorite EXO album, with THE WAR being my third fave. Like full length albums.
Styling and setting wise, I love this all white, sterile environment “Lucky One” takes place. I love the inclusion of EXO’s powers and them having their numbers on their uniforms. The plot of them escaping from this hospital is so entertaining.
I still can’t get over how genius this was to bring their powers back. SM kinda picks and chooses when they want to bring that concept back into EXO lore. I forget about it sometimes.
I’m not actually sure what is and isn’t canon. I don’t really keep up with all of that stuff. I just need the music to slaps.
I remember the highlighter used in this music video, I think it’s Pat Mcgrath.
Yeah, I just looked it up again. Sold out immediately after people found out what it was. It does look amazing on them. I wanna glow like that too.
Kai’s dance break in front of the moon. Then him later dancing in front of one of the nurses as a decoy. That still takes me out.
I remember that being a noteworthy moment. Sehun’s rap rhyming clover and lover.
The way Lay sings, “I am the lucky one” near the end of the song. Chanyeol’s bright yet dark red hair looks so good on him. I like ginger hair Xiumin too.
Just so much going on in this music video, and it was really just the start of things.
They need to upload the 4K version of this video too.
It’s THE girl. The man, the moment. I have a lot of love for “Lucky One”, but “Monster” is probably my favorite EXO title track.
It’s somehow different yet the same for EXO at the same time. Different because EXO doesn’t usually have these in your face loud types of songs. This is something I’d expect from early MONSTA X or NCT 127.
The same in the angelic melodies and addicting qualities, you always get in a great EXO song. This is my favorite rap delivery of Chanyeol and Sehun.
They absolutely killed it. You can’t help but to quote and reference Sehun’s, “that’s right my type” after hearing this song.
Sidenote, I miss this era of Sehun’s random iconic English lines. This was such a fun era in Kpop.
The build up to the chorus and the pay-off is sooo worth it. Even the demo slays.
I saw some comments on the demo video where people were talking about who recorded the demo, I think it was Rodnae “Chikk” Bell.
The choreography is phenomenal. I still get giddy over the part with them in the circle doing that hip move all on beat with Xiumin in front and Kai being lifted.
Plus later on when Chanyeol’s tall ass jumps over the members for his rap. ICONIC!!!! God tier shit right here. We don’t talk enough about this song and choreo. This is my “Sorry Sorry“. I need more groups to cover this song.
Something shifted in the universe when this song and video dropped. Things just haven’t been the same since. I gotta include the performance version too. Soooo good.
This beat, oh my Goooodddddd. So addicting. Almost everyone who worked on “Lucky One” worked on this track, minus LDN Noise and Andrew Choi.
Timothy “BOS” Bullock, who wasn’t on “Lucky One” but is on this song, apparently worked on “The 7th Sense” and I’m trying to scream in exciting and awe as I type.
He also was on SHINee’s “Feel Good”. I don’t remember if I knew that, but I can totally hear it.
But we have a bunch of JQ Makeumine and Makeumine Works peeps on here.
This is why I love this album so much. So many of my faves or people who have worked on favorite songs of mine are all assembled here.
Seo Jieum is back! The gang is truly all here. So I guess I can mention it now because her Wiki has a list of songs she has worked on.
She helped make “Growl”, and my fave “What If” along with other EXO, SM, and numerous non-SME groups music.
LDN Noise again, and we have Adrian McKinnon and Rodnae “Chikk” Bell back on the track.
“White Noise” is a song I don’t listen to as much as I used to, but I still love it.
It’s one of those songs that you forgot you liked because of how long it’s been since you last heard it.
One and Only
There’s something not serious about “One and Only”, like it’s a sincere song. It’s the execution of it that’s slightly goofy and takes me out of it. It’s the air horn.
I know it is. But it doesn’t stop me from listening to it and dancing a long.
I really love the way Chanyeol sings, “girl you’re mine”, shout out to whoever gave him that part. He slayed once again.
They Never Know
Oh yeahhhh the “Autumn Leaves” song, lmaooo. God being an EXO-L and ARMY during this time was so annoying, to put it lightly. I never think about it until I hear one of the songs, then the memories come back 😪.
No, EXO/SM didn’t plagiarize BTS/Big Hit or vice versa, it was just bad timing and a coincidence. Really did fan the flames of the fandom wars going on at the time, though.
To me, both songs sound so different, the only similarity is that intro beat. And well both are midtempo songs, yes, but the lyrics and song flow is different.
I do listen to “Autumn Leaves” more though, Jungkook was doing that damn thing on that track. Besides the point.
A lot of these producers and song arrangers (I feel like there’s a better way to phrase that, but that’s what I’m going with), use the same music platforms/software for an additional reference point for beats.
It’s not some hidden secret. I wish I could think of the specific group member, but I remember some years ago watching a boy group member showcasing part of the creation process and him going through a library of beats…
It might have been RM, now that I think about it. Definitely Bang Chan coded, but I wasn’t a Stay at the time… I don’t think SKZ was even a thing yet. This was like 2016-2017 I think.
Plus because so many of these musicians work cross companies, there’s gonna be similar vibes and people (CEOs and other executives) wanting their artists to sound like what’s popular at the moment.
ANYWAY, I feel like the “scandal” kinda overshadowed this song. “They Never Know” has those smooth EXO melodies everyone loves and is a pretty chill song.
I think the beat in particular fits in well with the overall house/dance vibe of this album.
A lot of people worked on this track. Jo Yoonkyung, MZMC Jamil “Digi” Chammas, Adrian McKinnon, Jeremy “Tay” Jasper, Leven Kali, and Otha “Vakseen” Davis III.
Ahhhhhh I love an EXO boring ballad!!! I talk a lot about Baekhyun and D.O’s vocals because I love a lower register voice.
And of course we know Chen has the pipes, but we do be sleeping on Suho and Xiumin’s vocals.
Xiumin isn’t on this one, but Suho definitely showed he deserves to be mentioned in vocaline!!
I just love these stripped down songs like this.
Jung Joohee (Jam Factory), Agnes Shin (MonoTree), Joohyoung (MonoTree) Andreas Öberg, and Gustav Karlström worked on this track.
More familiar faces if you’ve been reading these fave songs articles for a while.
Okay, on to the repackage album!
I unironically love “Lotto” sooooo fooking much. The autotune and campy-ness of it all. I wish EXO would have more fun like this. But I remember EXO-L overall HAAAAATED this song at the time.
I mean, it still did numbers and sold out of that Labiotte Château Wine Lip Tint they sing in the chorus. You couldn’t find that stuff for weeks.
Also, Chen singing, “I don’t need no money” was incredibly popular at the time too. That was like the climax of the song, everything was leading up to that.
Idk, I feel like a lot of people were secretly bumpin this song, and trashing it online. But I’ve always been a huge fan of it.
I love the gangster, illegal gambling, underground casino imagery in the video, the subtle call back to “Lady Luck”, maybe that’s just one of my favorite EXO concepts, casino themed stuff. We need more of that, lol.
Literally the same people working on this track as well, lol. JQ Makeumine Works, Makeumine Works, LDN Noise, Adrian McKinnon, Rodnae “Chikk” Bell, Jo Yoonkyung, and Kim Minji of Jam Factory. Love to see it.
One more song to talk about.
Monster (LDN Noise Creeper Bass Remix)
I love “Monster” so much, and the remix just adds to perfection. It feels like its own song. I can have the original pop up on shuffle and then this one shortly after, and I listen to both.
Lately, this version has been popping up on shuffle more, so I’ve been listening to it more. But I don’t think it’s better than the OG.
Respectfully, they’re doing different things and to me, that’s what makes a good remix. It’s different enough to be interesting and stand on its own.
But similar enough to where you still can hear parts of the original version.
If I were to DJ a set at a house party, this song would differently be on the setlist.
Kenzie, Deepflow, LDN Noise (obviously), and Rodnae “Chikk” Bell worked on this track. They were on the regular version, so it makes sense they’d all be credited again on here.
“Heaven”, “Cloud 9”, “Can’t Bring Me Down”, are fine songs. I just never listen to them, and I don’t have much to say on them.
But I love love love the rest of the album and repackage songs, so I think I might do another hybrid fave songs/album review like this in the future. We’ll see.
I’ve been working on this article for a few days now, and now we have news on CBX. They’ve reached an agreement with SME, so they’re going to continue with their contracts under SM and stay active EXO members.
I’m glad they were able to work things out. If they’re happy, I’m happy.
So what are y’alls fave songs from EX’ACT? Let me know in the comments. I hope y’all enjoyed this post. I’m a little behind on this series, but we’re half way there. My goal is to have this series wrapped up this week. Next is THE WAR & THE POWER OF MUSIC.
See ya next post!