EXO were the second group featured in my “K-pop A-Z” project. In late 2019, I took a deep dive into their discography and reviewed each and every track. Because of this, any new material will also become part of that page, meaning it’s time for another “in-depth album review” for the newly-released Don’t Fight The Feeling!

Over the course of this week, I’ll be looking at all five of the album’s tracks, so make sure to follow along each day!

1. Don’t Fight The Feeling // 2. Paradise // 3. No Matter // 4. Runaway // 5. Just As Usual

NO MATTER

Sometimes K-pop’s English titles baffle me. No Matter‘s Korean name is “훅!” (or “hook!”), and that short, snappy exclamation fits the track much better. In fact, it previews the chorus, which hinges on that punchy… erm… hook.

Like Paradise, No Matter grooves on a laidback funk beat. It’s not particularly galvanizing, but will likely get your head nodding. I appreciate its continuity, even if that means the song never goes to any daring places. The verses have a little too much sing-talk for my taste, and even devolve into a cringy “skrrt skrrt” at one point. But, the satisfying chorus compensates.

Structured like a call and response, No Matter‘s centerpiece opens with a series of layered falsetto that’s quickly answered by a more rhythmic refrain. A livelier segment closes out the chorus. This variety of textures and structures gives the song a fun sense of interplay, made even stronger by a generous dose of stunning ad-libs during its final minute. No Matter is unlikely to set the world on fire — especially when compared with EXO’s best work — but it’s a welcome mid-album jam.

Hooks 9
Production 8
Longevity 8
Bias 8
RATING 8.25

~

Beatsway

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Publisher: Nick