The Korea Herald/Asia News Network
Quenching the thirst of fans who have pined for the group’s return since last year, EXO is finally back on the scene with its 'Don’t Mess Up My Tempo' album. (S.M. Entertainment/The Korea Herald/-)
Quenching the thirst of fans who have pined for the group’s return since last year, EXO is finally back on the scene with its Don’t Mess Up My Tempo album.
While this year hasn’t seen new music from EXO as a group, the individual bandmates have proved their versatility across various fields, with D.O, Chanyeol and Suho establishing themselves as actors and TV personalities.
For the new album, the group has seemingly reunited as a gritty biker gang -- as the bandmates were shown in a teaser clip -- though they shyly confessed that none of them actually knew how to ride a motorcycle.
“We are glad to greet you as EXO after over a year. We are really grateful for it and looking forward to our promotions,” said Suho at a press conference for the group’s new album in Seoul on Thursday.
The act’s fifth EP, Don’t Mess Up My Tempo marks EXO’s first release since its winter-themed EP Universe and its first full-length effort since fourth studio album The War, released in July last year.
The 11-track collection is led by lead track “Tempo”, a rhythmical hip-hop-leaning dance track that showcases a cappella harmonies as they send warnings not to “mess up his tempo” with their lover.
Kai explained that the powerful song’s choreography will be dynamic and hurtling like a speedy motorcycle, while Xiumin said it even involves fist-wielding movements to emphasize EXO’s manly image.
The new album also features the group as a nine-piece act, with Chinese member Lay joining the group’s album for the first time since 2016’s For Life. Lay participated in shooting the music video of “Tempo” and featured in recording its Chinese version.
EXO went on to thank fans for making the group a “quintuple million-seller”, as its new album recorded over 1.1 million preorders as of Tuesday, following its four previous full-length albums -- XOXO (KISS & HUG), Exodus, EX’ACT and The War -- all sold over 1 million copies.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without EXO-L,” Baekhyun said, referring to the group’s fan base. “We thank them for supporting us whether we are promoting individually or as a group. They are like a root of a tree.”
Even after seven years atop the K-pop scene, EXO said it still feels nervous when returning with new albums. If there’s any secret to the group’s unwavering success, it might be the commitment to the stage.
“Rather than setting records, we try to enjoy stages. We have been pursuing such a mindset since our debut, and maybe that has led to our records. And we will keep doing so,” Baekhyun added.
The album, set to be released Friday, also includes tracks “Sign”, “Ooh La La La”, “Gravity”, “With You”, “24/7”, “Bad Dream”, “Damage”, “Smile on My Face”, “Oasis” and a Chinese version of “Tempo”. The songs are themed on each of the bandmates’ “supernatural abilities,” they said.
EXO is set to appear on KBS2’s “Music Bank” on Friday to promote the new album, followed by a showcase event on the same day at 8 p.m. at the plaza in Paradise City in Incheon.