SM Entertainment, you need some applause. It’s common to say that a song, drama or movie makes one feel ill without really meaning it. You, however, have gone the extra mile and produced an album that will make some listeners feel actual pain. Anybody prone to sound-triggered migraines should make sure to take painkillers 15-20 minutes in advance of listening to Exo-K‘s new mini-album if you don’t want your head to throb six ways from Sunday. Not too many, though, or you might Overdose.
The EP opens with the title track “Overdose.” That puts a lot of pressure on this one song, as it means it not only needs to stand on its own, it needs to set the tone for the rest of the album. And it does. It’s just that the tone isn’t good. “Overdose” is a hot mess. It’s atonal and over-processed, just bursting with electronic noise. Noise that gives me that behind-the-eyeball throbbing feeling that means I’m going to spend the next few hours with my skull trying to explode. And worse than that, it doesn’t understand its own metaphor. How is this relationship like and overdose? Is there too much love because she’s smothering them? Is the relationship bad for them, yet Exo-K indulges anyway? Finish the metaphor please.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TI0DGvqKZTI]
The next track is “Moonlight”, the requisite ballad. The whole song has this aura of softness, which fits. No one ever thinks of moonlight as bright or harsh. The vocal tones of the members are softened significantly, especially compared to the previous track. The lyrics also have a sense of softness about them. The instrumentals would also be considered to be soft. . . if it wasn’t for the faint undercurrent of “whomp-whomp” that runs through the whole thing. Whoever decided that ballads need dubstep was wrong. Or maybe it wasn’t intentional. It just spread like a virus from all the other tracks.
“Thunder”, the third track, is made tolerable despite the over-processing due to two components. One, the electronic noise is significantly toned down, though it is still present. Two, the music is very Justin Timberlake. It’s not quite a sex jam, but the intent is clearly there. It just needs a little bit more sleaze, vocally. The big problem is the lyrics. SM, if you’re going to write a song around a metaphor, please use one that makes sense, or at least one that’s consistent. The whole song is like a huge metaphor salad. Who in the history of the world has ever said “I was late like thunder?” No one ever has, and outside of Exo-K and their fans, no one ever will.
“Run” is the hidden jewel of Overdose. There’s no overload of synth, no noise, no desire for listeners to shove a screwdriver through their skull in an attempt to end the pain. It’s just fun, pure and simple. The music is fun. The lyrics are fun. The Exo-K members sound like they’re having fun. There’s no real depth to “Run” but that’s not a drawback, as this is a song that operates on Silly Love Song Logic. In the words of David Bowie: Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs, but what’s wrong with that, I’d like to know. “Run” is defiantly one such song, but sometimes, we need to forget depth and meaning and just go with happy.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE1cbF8uhLk]
“Love, Love, Love” is the last and worst song on Overdose, not because it’s horrible, but because there’s nothing good about it. It is completely and utterly generic. The lyrics are generic, the music is generic, the vocals are generic. There is nothing that makes this song notable. Even the electronoise of “Overdose” was better the this snore-fest. It actually makes you feel something, even if that something is pain, nausea, and all-around misery. It’s the song equivalent of a direct-to-DVD release.
Overdose is terrible. There’s so much noise on most of the tracks, it makes listening to it painful. The only track I recommend checking out is “Run”, and that’s because it got a lot of points for fun. The whole mini feels lazy. It feels so lazy that it can’t even say it was phoned in. Instead, Overdose was texted in, with bad grammar and no punctuation. I do have one last piece of advice for migraine-prone Exo fans: it’s safe to take Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen simultaneously.
(Images via SM Entertainment)