As someone who entered the fandom through Monster, Tempo MV is more than enough to sparked my interest. The black and red color palette they used, the Daft Punk vibes (I scream real hard when I noticed this!), the aesthetic filming location, and (as usual) the open-ended storyline really got me.
It’s not as dark as Monster (Kyungsoo’s intense gaze and Baekhyun’s lip piercing were to die for), but after surprising us with the summery and chilling vibes last year through Ko Ko Bop, it’s really nice to see the boys back with their badass concept.
(Though SM is playing with us because the MV is nothing like the teaser)
(Not that I’m complaining though. Because I really like Tempo)
Anyway, do yourself a favor and watch the MV’s here:
Let’s dig deeper on EXO’s title track, Tempo.
On the first listen, I already know that Tempo might not suit everyone taste (and ears). It’s not a public friendly song, just like Monster. In Monster, EXO serving a high-quality bop with a strong and distinctive bass sound. Meanwhile, in Tempo, we got an acapella part that emphasizes EXO’s powerful vocals and heavy-handed auto-tune bridges.
I’m so amazed when I heard the acapella part because man, this is Kpop, where dancing is the main focus so the music needs to be catchy and energic! And EXO did something experimental with acapella (which reminds me of Broadway!) and it was pure gold. No one does it like EXO.
Get you a group with vocals so good they have an acapella section in their song.
That’s what makes EXO different tbh. And one of the reasons why I choose to stan EXO. Every comeback feels like an adventure because the boys continuously exploring a new genre that not many can pull off. They didn’t follow the trend, because they are the trend. Just like what Pop Crush wrote on their review: EXO constantly evolving through their comeback: not only as a group, but also in terms of musicality. They push the boundaries of conventional pop music and experimenting with various musical genres.
As for the vocal line, it’s no secret that EXO has the best vocalist among other groups. Nobody can come to EXO when it comes to vocal. And Tempo becomes a playground for EXO to show off their vocal ranges. From Chen’s opening (“I can’t believe…”) to another level of perfection that blesses our ears on the chorus. I also love how Baekhyun and Kyungsoo’s vocal harmonizing with each other, Xiumin’s auto-tuned heavy vocal (“You’re so charming, you’re so lovely, there’s nothing separating us”), Kai’s soft and tender voice, Suho’s “Baby girl…” part, and especially Kyungsoo’s adlibs! The way he picked up those notes with his deep voice… k brb dying.
Aside from the boys powerful vocal and graceful harmonizing, Tempo also feels so diverse because everyone gets to shine. The rap game in Tempo is superb, I loved how SM finally realizing our rappers (Chanyeol and Sehun) potential and giving them the part they deserve. Sometimes, it was sad to see the line distribution between rapper and vocalist, because most of the time it feels like the rap was there to compliment the song and not part of it. On Tempo, I was so thrilled when Sehun ‘lifts’ Tempo through his rap and when Chanyeol start rapping like a pro with his glasses!
Overall, “Don’t Mess Up My Tempo” is definitely worth the wait. Every song in this album is weirdly addictive. The more you listen, the more you find something new. With seven years under their belt, EXO proves they are still at the top of their game with DMUMT. My personal favorite on this album: Oasis (“We’ll go a bit further, even further / On this road still with a long way to go”). Pure eargasm, a suitable song to listen to on the car while its raining. Kyungsoo’s also picked Oasis as the song he liked the most from DMUMT. As expected from my intellectual son hehe. Gravity, Sign, Damage, 24/7, and Bad Dream also deserves another listen.
So, just like what Ko Ko Bop did to me last year with their catchy ‘it goes down down baby…‘ lyrics, Tempo also did the same. Now, I guess it’s time to say ‘kokobye’ with ‘it goes down down baby…’ and let us welcoming ‘Don’t mess my tempo… Don’t mess my tempo…’
EXO, we are one!