TITLE: The 1st Mini Album – City Lights
LABEL: SM ENTERTAINMENT
RELEASED: July 10, 2019
This was always going to be my most anticipated release of the summer. With EXO members enlisting left and right, I was feeling a bit sad. I mean, they’re going on tour and it will only be 6 of them! Bring Yixing back ASAP. Anyway, the Station tracks were all nice and cute. Chen had a nice BALLAD mini. But I was left wanting something unexpected. Then here comes Baekhyun kicking in my door like the kool-aid man saying HERE YOU GO! HAVE MY R&B ALBUM! Where my run king Kyungsoo let me down without an R&B solo before his early enlistment, Baekhyun picked up my broken heart and healed it with perfection.
UN Village – Title Track
From the first electronic beat, you’re hooked. The groovy R&B beat matched with Baekhyun’s smooth voice is almost hypnotic. I immediately get DEAN vibes but not in an off-brand way. It’s still very Baekhyun and you could tell he was feeling it. For a song about a couple having a romantic time on a hillside, you’re transported to that with this song. And the bridge hook will get stuck in your head! Rolling, Rolling, Rolling Hills…
Stay Up (feat. Beenzino)
When I saw that Cha Cha Malone was producing a song for Baek, my wig was already snatched. Then I saw that it had a feature with Beenzino?! I was gone. When that I need a Cha Cha Beat Boy comes in, you know it’s going to be good. It’s a very dreamy R&B/Hip-Hop track with Baekhyun showing off a little with his falsetto. Beenzino’s verse goes perfectly with Baekhyun’s runs and don’t get me started on the lyrics. Basically, Baekhyun made a sex song and I’m here for it.
No sleep tonight
We makin’ love until the sun shines down on us
No sleep tonight
We makin’ love until the sun
SOTY! Want to know why Betcha is THE bop? It’s written by one of the best k-pop songwriters, produced by one of the best Hip-Hop/R&B producing teams and sung by an angel. There was no way this song was going to fail. What I wasn’t expecting was my obsession with it. Or the fandom’s either. Betcha is that summer bop that you want to rock while driving with the speakers blasting. You can’t help but dance and sing along to the catchy hook. This is a hoe anthem if I ever heard one. Add the #BetchaChallenge with it, we booty shaking all summer thanks to Baek.
LDN Noise had to bless Baekhyun with a little something, something. To me, it’s like you take the groovy vibe UN Village had and add it with a more Hip-Hop beat and you get Ice Queen. What I like about this track and all the other tracks, they have the ability to get stuck in your head. Not sure that is due to the lyrics or Baekhyun’s delivery, but Ice Queen is catchy and a more grown people vibe of an R&B track.
While Betcha is my favorite track on this EP, Diamond is a close second. This is another track that is great due to the magic pairing of songwriter/producer/Baekhyun. Darkchild, who basically shaped my childhood of R&B hits, really challenged Baekhyun’s vocal range here. I know Baekhyun said that this was one of the harder songs to do, but when the chorus hits, you’re so sucked in, you can’t help but be sucked into this R&B ballad. His runs give me chills and make me fall in love with every note.
Psycho (Bonus Track)
I didn’t know this would be on the EP, I tend to equate this with EXO since he does it on tour. But this song feels almost refreshing because it is the only non-R&B track on the EP. It’s very electronic pop and I think that is a nice way to wrap this up or kinda prelude to what can come next for him. All the other songs talk about couples and love but this is a darker song and I like that shift.
BONUS: Betcha (Live)
Here is a video of Baekhyun performing my fave song. It was a crime that we didn’t get a MV for this one. SM hates us.
EP of the year for me and it’s only been 7 months. I think it was so smart to do something that we hadn’t really seen in full before. This EP is his first solo endeavor and it really showcases what kind of artist he could be. Jay Park, DEAN and Crush better watch their backs, the new kid is on the R&B block.
PRODUCTION : 5 / 5
VOCALS / RAPPING : 5 / 5
VISUALS / CONCEPT : 4.5 / 5
OVERALL : 4.8 / 5
Least Favorite Track(s): None!
Favorite Track(s): Betcha, Diamond