EXO shows us what's wrong with K-Pop

Well guys, this is it. After 92498574983 million teasers and a bunch of irrelevant, overdubbed "live performances", EXO are formally debuting. While it's very easy to be blinded by all the flashy CGI and the "cool" superpowers they each have, at the end of the day they're debuting in music, so they have to be treated as musicians. "MAMA", the video and the song itself, is really the epitome of what SM Entertainment is now, all problems included. So before we all get swept off our feet (if you haven't already), let's take a look at what's wrong with EXO, shall we?

Honestly, I'm quite amused at how well EXO have managed to bring forth several of K-Pop's major problems in a concise, slightly obvious, and "creative" way. The whole idea of "MAMA" is a K-Pop crash course in itself. Of course they're still problems that need to be fixed, and I wouldn't really call SM brilliant for doing it, but it's pretty cool.

So we start from that "legend" at the beginning. The story itself is your average, commercial "tree of life" and super power/force legend, and if it was a movie it would be perfectly fine. But the problem is that this isn't a movie, this is a music video for EXO, and that's where the first problem lies. K-Pop tends to sensationalize and exaggerate everything it runs into. Not just in music videos, but in news items, so-called "scandals", and even talent itself. If you show even just a pea's worth of talent, you're the biggest thing since anything. And even if you don't have any talent whatsoever, you can become the biggest thing since anything. I understand that EXO need a big push to be able to succeed in the competitive industry today, bigger than the pushes SME gave the bands before them, and bigger than f(x), who didn't really turn out the smash-hits they were supposed to be at the beginning, but this is overdoing it. From what I'm getting, the superpowers they gave everyone are similar to giving band members colors or distinct personalities ala-Spice Girls, and while it's a good idea, I just hope they don't keep using it for every single release, judging by how badly SME does A&R after the first few releases, and before bands become legendary.

And another thing. I get that EXO is "global" and all, being halved into K and M and all, but the intro was also in English. As someone who isn't fluent in either Korean or Mandarin, it's convenient, but when you think about it, EXO-K is Korean and EXO-M is Chinese. Their main markets are supposedly Korea and China. Now this is obviously for Hallyu, but I don't know about you guys, I got into K-Pop because it was Korean. There comes a point when, in trying so hard to appeal to international audiences, K-Pop loses the qualities that made it appealing in the first place.

"MAMA" itself is another reflection of what's wrong with K-Pop -- all style, no substance. All flash, no foundation. Of course at this point we're not sure if EXO have actual talent, because SM just overdubs everything on the grounds that "it sounds better", but from what we get in the video, they are all style and no substance. It's a "visual" song in the sense that you have to watch it for it to sound better, but neither the audio nor the visuals really give off the impression of mastery or effortlessness.

They don't look like a group, they look, and perform, like six (or twelve, whatever) arrogant, self-centered brats. With emphasis on look, because obviously I don't personally know them.While confidence is vital to a new act, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Which leads us to another problem. You cannot manufacture art and expect it to be perfect. No matter how perfect it looks, if it doesn't feel perfect, it will always be flawed. Yeah sure the dancing was probably practiced to oblivion and the video looks perfect, but you can't just put practice into group dynamic, you have to put sincerity and emotion into it. It's kind of like cooking. A possible reason why home-cooked food tastes better to a lot of people is not because of the ingredients or the recipe per se, but because of the sincerity put into the cooking, as opposed to fast food.

To be in any art form, whether it be song, dance or literature, you need sincerity, something you simply cannot manufacture. And it's human nature for us to recognize a lack of sincerity, which is something K-Pop has to realize. Humans are not robots because while you can work them like one, what you show on stage doesn't lie.

And not just in the way they move, but in the song alone -- I felt nothing. My heart didn't race, I didn't get goosebumps, I wasn't smiling like a madwoman, none of the standard feelings I get from amazing releases. "MAMA" is supposed to be this epic, world domination song, but it has absolutely no personality. Even all these cute-fests K-Pop gives us have more personality than this. You hear the bass line perfectly fine, but it's not powerful enough to be felt. The vocals are very bold and intense, but they're not sincere. You have so many things going on -- electric guitars, synths, screaming, chanting -- but everything sounds so stiff and over-rehearsed that they managed to suck every bit of emotion out of the song.

EXO, as shown by "MAMA", is basically what everyone else in K-Pop wants to be -- perfect. But they have shown us that even perfection comes with compromises. Emotions, or outstanding technicals? Overflowing style, or solid substance? Commercial success, or artistry?

Note (6/23/2012): I originally wanted to keep my mouth shut and just take everything, but there are too many comments saying the same things over and over again -- I'm going to end things here. To everyone calling me out for saying that EXO are arrogant, no, I do not know them personally, and I probably never will. However, you seem to forget the context in which I say those things. I am looking at the music. I am not looking at the members, I am not looking at their attitude towards other people and themselves -- I am looking at their attitude towards their music, and their performances. No one is perfect, and that's one of the most important points I take into consideration. However, everyone can improve, and that's the purpose of this article -- to take apart the concept of EXO, and see what can be corrected. In the same way, the purpose of my writing is for me to improve, and I value comments that both respect and criticize my writing. This is a blog that is grounded on musical criticism, not entertainment gossip or news-based op-eds -- if you want to read those kinds of things, this is not the place to go to. So please, before you start disproving my worth, at least bother to read and understand everything I say and everything this blog is, because I bothered to watch and follow EXO before I wrote this article, regardless of what I said.


  1. "MAMA" is a straight up SMP song. What else is there to expect? Hell, all I was waiting for was a Changmin scream to pop up somewhere halfway through it. True, the video is overkill, but maybe overkill is what they need right now. Idol scene is saturated to the moon and back. Everyone's been waiting for SM to put out another boyband for years. They've teased for months. "MAMA" is obviously their way of making a statement.

    I disagree when you said it's "all style and no substance, and all flash and no foundation." Same can be said for every single SMP song out there. Hell, DBSK's "Triangle," IMO is the worst SMP song ever released, from song to style. The EXO guys impressed me with their delivery of of "MAMA," regardless of how lulzy some parts of it may be.

    Besides, I doubt an SMP song like this will be a commercial success. SMP songs are not radio-friendly songs. If EXO had wanted commercial success, they could've made "History" their official debut song. "MAMA" is more of a statement song than anything. I expect them to release some cutesy song after this, just like each and every single SM sunbae they have.

    1. Every group is in search of the right style of music that suits itself while making their debut , so are EXO and DBSK. Putting the excessive promotion aside , the most crucial thing is whether they can impress the world and capture the hearts of people with their true talents .

  2. SM was better off promoting the prologue songs as title tracks. Like the comment before me, History is listener friendly and would have proved to be a big hit.

    I can't help but feel MAMA is a bit indulgent given their rookie status. Give us some hits, show us you can sing, then give me a statement song.

  3. u did a good job giving an honest review, and i liked it a lot. Yeah i feel like the groups won't be as impressive to me after H.O.T. and DBSK left. But I'm wondering, will HoMin leave SM later on, or be stuck with it? Cuz it feels like EXO will grab all the fame after SM did a good job showing them off.

  4. I honestly really liked Mama. I don't know why, since it goes against almost anything I find interesting in kpop, but I love it.
    I agree, the English in the beginning was definitely for Hallyu and I would have preffered it to be in Korean and Mandarin (much of the text didn't even make sense) but it is what it is, I squealed no matter what.
    But I also have to disagree, I don't think EXO is just style and no foundation, they really showed talent and it had (somewhat of) a story and it was entertaining. And that's what matters, right?
    For me they don't feel like a group group but they don't seem like selfish brats either.. They are a debut group and we can expect every debut group to be the same, they'll bring something different, I just know it.
    They kinda already have their own style, cold colours, and even though the sound is pretty similar to any other sm song, I'm really liking their voices and their moves are crazy!
    I'm definitely looking forward to their performances.
    As for them not singing live during their debut stage, I don't think a lot of sment groups have had a live debut stage, ever. It's just an SM thing, I however try to judge the group by it's members.
    Anyway, good review and I got to see a whole new POV ^^

    1. Actually when she says "all style and no substance" she means that there is no feelings, no honesty and it's all robotic which i have to agree with. Of course they put their hearts into it but to be fair ther's nothing gripping about it.

  5. I'm sure the EXO members have tons of talent. I mean, only half of s.m. trainees even become artists within an early time span. But they need to have exceptional vocals in order to live up to the hype. I'm sure they will in the future, but I feel like they need more smooth movements and freedom. As in letting this band sing live and actually letting them dance smoothly rather than 6 robots on stage. I'm sure Kai is a great dancer, but I feel like they are overdoing it. Heck it seems like some of them are taemin clones yet having very robotic straight movements rather than smooth locking. The dance doesn't even look like a dance. They should put more emphasis on the vocals rather than the robotic annoying choreography. If you look at suju from early songs, their dances looked pretty cool. But exo seems like some teamin robots. Plus, they need ONE theme per song rather than having like 5 different outfits and abnormal movements. I mean as in why not give them all a black jacket for one song, instead of using some weird clothing and ragged* hair. Plus Kai needs to do less choreo/robotic movements, and actually* dance and SING.

    1. is taemin supposed to be a good example on here or a bad one?

  6. Businesses want to make money by selling people what they want. I for one am shocked and appalled.

    Not every song has to have a meaning. If it convinces people to buy and makes them feel good, what does it matter? Get over it.

    1. "Not every song has to have a meaning."

      Is this what has become of music and art in the 21st century? Songs used to have meanings, no matter how silly. It makes us feel good for a reason, and I think it's pretty messed up to feel good without knowing (or bothering to know) why.

      I feel like life has lost a bit of substance...

    2. I really don't think songs *have* to have a specific meaning. I mean, think about instrumental music for example. Yeah some of it has a certain inspiration or tells a specific story, but some of it just sounds pretty. Does that mean instrumental music is bad? No. They can still be very beautiful and technically composed songs that have a lot of thought put into them. The lyrics or the "meaning" doesn't always make you feel something. The music does.

    3. @ayizkatya
      Saying "Not every song has to have a meaning." doesn't mean that it doesn't have meaning because it does. It's just not what you expect or what you want. That's why it doesn't make you feel good.
      We are in the contemporary period. Saying "Is this what has become of music and art in the 21st century?" doesn't seem right for you are in the 21st century and you constitute to the population creating this kind of music. Though not directly, but we are their audience and they are trying to make something NEW for us, considering what we or most of us might like. Come to think of it, if we don't have what we have now, and don't like what we like now, things would go differently.
      And there's got to be something new, things need to change in order for music or anything to stay alive. I hope we appreciate our music more for we "made it" like this.

    4. Very true. I really agree with you.

  7. I too watched the mv with indifference. I dont know what it is but i was hardly interested until the scream-rap part. I know a lot of people are put off by it but i actually like it. Kinda reminds me don't don. One of the kpop songs with lasting power.

    Compared to BAP who kinda shares similar concepts, i was much more impressed with theirs because they carried it better and more naturally. I think giving Exo a concept of being legends is an overkill and something noone can embody. Heck, D.O couldnt even talk properly without pissing his pants during inki interview. Not somtin a legend with super powers tends to do...

    I adore Baekhyun thou. He's like a puppy with an amazing voice and bubbly personality. I cant help but be attracted to his genuine smile when i watch exo stuff. The rest needs to loosen up more and be more sincere... yes, like what you pointed out, we can feel it when somtin is forced and not sincere.

    I guess they were forced to carry a burden too heavy for rookies and it's obvious they are having a hard time living up to the hype. I still hope for the best for them thou...

    1. Sooo.. You're pretty much saying that because of the fact that their concept is 'Legends', D.O isn't aloud to get nervous or mess up like many other groups, including B.A.P, because as 'Legends', EXO has to be perfect?

  8. I really can't decide whether I like your reviews or dislike them half the time. Sometimes, a really great article comes out - like the ones you did on The BOSS - and I know that you don't throw newcomers away like trash unlike some judgmental kpop fans.. and then I read an article on why you think EXO shows what is bad about kpop and everything falls down the drain.

    There are just some taglines you say once in a while that contradict themselves or just don't make sense. You're already in taboo territory when you say things like "you cannot manufacture art and expect it to be perfect" because people don't dispute the perfection of art, art IS art. There is also the fact that you said EXO looked like "arrogant, self-centered brats". You clearly don't know anything about their personalities, something which can be disputed if any fan knows their "true" selves. All I saw were twelve earnest boys wanting to make it, but that's my badly informed subjective opinion on the matter.

    Also, a lot of points you bring up don't just apply to kpop but you make it seem like it's true and wrong. Instead of writing an article called "EXO shows us what's wrong with k-pop" it should be called "EXO shows ME what's wrong with kpop". Sometimes the level of subjectivity in your reviews blows me through the roof. I had no idea you had a sincerity meter and can tell how sincere people are. Humans are more complicated than physical action and appearances.

    I have to give it to you to inspire such polarized reactions to your writing though. I also understand that personal review blogs and websites like this don't have to inspire pure objectivity in their posts, but frankly sometimes I really can't believe some of the things you say. I can't believe I'm even writing this.

    Despite my pretty negative opinion on the matter, I respect you being able to put up with people like me ahaha, and I also wish you the best of luck.

    1. After a year, this is my first time seeing this person's review, and gotta say - you were right. This person clearly knew nothing about EXO and judged upon appearance. Maybe their new comeback 'Wolf' wasn't favoured by this reviewer either, but can anyone honestly listen to the entire album, and say they just heard crap? Well if they could, then basically they're spewing crap from their mouths too.

    2. I compleyely agree with this anonymous dude

    3. I agree. and it's just MAMA and they're only starting out. You need to watch them grow and watch their hard work before you truly understand why fans like them. Honestly, if you don't like them or what they're doing then just be quiet 'cause even if you don't like them there are still hundreds and thousands of people who like them so much that it doesn't really matter what they do. They have fun, they love listening to EXO even if they don't understand what they're saying. Yes, KPOP is not the way it used to be but that's because the world is changing and they're just changing with them too. And you can't blame them if you don't like their concept 'cause it's not them who decide on that. They had a dream and they wanted to stand on stage and perform but you can't ignore the fact that work is still work and they had to do what work tells them to or else they're out of work. And saying that they're "arrogant self-centered brats" is so not cool 'cause you don't know them. Even the fans don't really know them like they claim to. You just have to open your eyes really wide to truly see the significance of something even if at first it seems stupid or bad to you. I don't have problems with you writing this article or review or whatever. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But even if you stand your ground in this issue there are just some parts in this article that's really not that nice and are somewhat insulting or offensive. So please try to also see the brighter side of things and not judge immediately.'cause as a fan, you saying this thing is like hearing someone talk trash about a family member of mine or someone important to me. It hurts because we love EXO. I'm a human and I don't like it when someone talks trash about someone I love...

    4. First of all if he we're going to start talking about what is art and what isn't know that the Wolf album was good by KPOP STANDARDS. For music standards it sucked. The lyrics are bland and generic and the music is generic too and not innovative. Second of all you clearly didn't understand what she was saying. When talking about them being self-centered rats she was referring to their attitude towards their music not other people. And the fact that they don't decide their concept IS the problem. They just obey a greedy guy who wants to make money off their looks. What the blogger was criticizing wasn't the members but the process they're apart of. If you think she was simply judging on apparence they clearly you didn't understnad a thing.

  9. THANK YOU. You just spoke the truth about KPOP. I find kpop today has lost its original meaning, the songs sucks and yet they are overrating it. Everyday they are talking about world dominance, especially SME. I mean what's the point?! You gotta make good music in order for people to support. And partly we should also blame fans today who only blindly follows the good looking artists or just anyone from SME. For some, anyone from SME is god and then they force themselves to fall in love and go crazy with these kind of songs. I hope SME and other kpop management could someday wake up and think about the first time kpop became famous by groups like DBSK. That time, DBSK, SJ, BoA were much loved but we don't mind if SME is biased towards them because they give us good music and we love it.

    1. I totally agree!

    2. 1000000000000% agree with you! Kpop music industry has go to the edge. It lost its original meaning. I shouldn't mention other fandom here but I congratulate myself that C.N Blue considered as KRock. Their music is just pure awesome!

  10. if you feel you're too old and jaded for kpop then feel free to leave it review is bullshitting at its best

  11. Sometimes I don't agree with some of your observations on Kpop. But this time I have to say that you hit the nail right on the head.

    EXO is an example of how Kpop has lost it's edge. Especially SME.

    I think that the only people who can stomach the music that is coming out of Korea's pop scene right now are the newbies.

    Their whole view is "it's not new, but it's new to us". While the long time Kpop fans feel like we're having dejavu.

    I don't need to see highlights of SME's best and legendary groups regurgitated into one. What I want is something new or at least moderately innovative.

    If I want to see a rehash of old hits by HOT, DBSK, Suju and ect, I'll just go to Youtube and watch the original.

    At the end of the day, EXO isn't anything that most of us haven't heard or seen before.

  12. It's not anything we haven't seen before.

  13. Okay, yall need to chill, I understand that sme is doing stuff overdramatic like, but dude come on. The song is fun to watch and listen too. I think they are doing good, what is love was super flowy and not robotic at all. The teasers and narration was booty. But they are here to entertain and thats what they did. B.a.p., looked really bad when I saw them with blonde hair and stuff. Im like really, can u look more unnatural with that hair. And honestly, arent all of the groups aside from big bang doing the same thing.

  14. I think that SM's biggest error with EXO was how they promoted them: as supernatural beings. Sure, we've got tons of people calling "SNSD" their perfect goddesses and who knows what, but all in all, Girl's Generation has always been marketed as human beings: cute, friendly, kinda like the girl next door who has a crush on you. IT's only recently that they've started to fully take on the sexy and confident attitude. If you already start on the basis that you're a superhero, have supernatural powers, not only do you come across as arrogant (like you said) but also unrelatable.

  15. OMG I'm loving you
    I really don't see all the hype around EXO. The only reason why they have success , even if they just are merely an average boyband, it's cause of all those them teaser giving by SM to feed the desire.
    The boys probably have some talent but as individual, not in group.
    The only reason why I like MAMA it's cause of the special FX, for once SM did a MV that was worth to watch...

    1. and asian people like flower boys. and they're like a group of taemin, jaejoong, heechul (flower boys) put in one group

  16. I'm sorry but what's with all the "Kpop tends to do this" "Kpop tends to be like that" are you the founder of it or something?

    You sound quite bratty yourself, calling other people arrogant who YOU DON"T KNOW. If u don't know them and they just debuted why would you be already be calling them arrogent when they didn't even have their own variety show or something.

    Those boys worked hard ridiculously hard, who are you to judge them?

    1. completely agree

    2. disagree, they may have worked hard but to be different than the rest, these guys needed to make a deep and thoughtful MV as their debut but couldn't do it. Dancing with good and the singing was ok. History was better at least. Just because someone worked hard doesnt mean they deserve an A+ else everyone in the world would be CEO's or Doctors but they're not get a grip people.

    3. The comment above mine! BEST REPLY! ' Just because someone worked hard doesnt mean they deserve an A+ else everyone in the world would be CEO's or Doctors but they're not get a grip people.' Wake up people!

    4. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I respect yours (and all the other people's). but like the other guy said, look how far EXO has come. they've worked so hard and achieved so much over the past few years. please don't call them arrogant when they aren't. also, when you said that it wasn't really emotion, they poured their heart and soul into their work to make this. and to those ppl who said "kpop lost its original meaning" wtf. well what was its original meaning then -.-'' even though I don't know them personally, I'll always support them and be a fan~~ please don't take anything I said personally btw ^^

  17. I'm sorry but what's with all the "Kpop tends to do this" "Kpop tends to be like that" are you the founder of it or something?

    You sound quite bratty yourself, calling other people arrogant who YOU DON"T KNOW. If u don't know them and they just debuted why would you be already be calling them arrogent when they didn't even have their own variety show or something.

    Those boys worked hard ridiculously hard, who are you to judge them?

    1. i kinda agree with the writer, i think exo - k doesn't have connection within the member. Just individuals with no link whatsoever. Compare to exo - m, they are "complete" group, you can feel their connections and group as a whole. I think exo gained so much popularity is because they became 12 (not 6). Exo - m completes EXO as a whole united group. and also.. m member seem to be more humble (maybe because they are underrated and bullied while they're still trainee, they are also got underestimated because they're in M). K members seem to be arrogance (because they got to be K member)

  18. I think you are judging them too quickly. Saying that they have no emotions and dance like robots is harsh. They are a new group that've just debuted THIS YEAR. Judging them on their looks is extremely objective. It seems as if you're using EXO as an excuse to rant about why kpop is not as good as it used to be.

    I just wish that you would take a step back and look at EXO from a different point if view before calling them arrogant

  19. Are you calling all of EXO arrogant, or only a specific sub-group

  20. I understand your point (maybe), but seriously. they JUST debuted. you can't just judge them on the performances they showed until now. they're pressured by all the older groups who debuted like 5+ years ago. these kinds of reports don't help them at all. i get that you're just explaining your POV, but this? aren't you being a little too picky?
    and "self-centered brats." comeon. it's not like you know them all personally.
    Taemin robots? i actually learned the dance to 'History' and in the process of learning 'MAMA' robots, my butt. and kpop these days focus a lot on dances too.
    and don't you think your article is sorta biased? "EXO shows us what's wrong with k-pop" To thousands of fans, probably even millions, EXO shows us what k-pop is.
    If EXO doesn't fit your taste, go find a group who does. EXO don't sing to please only you.
    Thank you.

    1. I definitely agree!if EXO is not what you are looking for in a k-pop group, then go find a group who suits your taste

  21. Yes kpop has got issues, but i think the truth is that Exo perfectly embodies what K-pop is, flaws and all. K-pop is designed to sell. You mention many times that MAMA was all about style and emphasised look. I agree, but that is what kpop is about, the flash, the style, the dancing, the good looking boys and girls. People listen to kpop because its so visualy interesting, not because its full of substance. Also to say people get into k-pop because it's korean is not true. you get into korea because of k-pop. But yes,if they were going to do an english intro, they should have made sure it made sense.

    As for their dancing, yes it is rather robotic, but i think that comes from hours in a practice room rather than lack of talent. As a dancer myself i can say that once you practice the same dance over and over, your body just automaticly moves through the steps and you don't even have to think anymore so the feeling starts to leave the dance.

    Yes exo may not be the most sincere, but right now they are just rookies, going through the motions of promotions for the first time, they probably aren't able to relax yet and just let the feeling flow, not that MAMA is a very emotional song to begin with, but sincerity will come with time and confidence.

    You mention them being self-centered bratts. well duh, they just debuted as sm's new super anticipated boy group and have many adoring fan girls. i think that would blow up any teenaged boy's ego. They may be basking in their new fame, but to say they truely have self-centerd personalities is undeserved because no one knows what any of these boys is really like off camera.

    In the end i think people expect to much from exo, even though they got so much hype and have way more fans then deserved because they come from SM, they are still rookies. People seem to forget that even legend groups like DBSK and Super Junior took years to gain the fan bases they have today, they weren't famous right off the bat. They had to earn their fan bases where as exo was just given one through teasers and fans willing to goble up whatever's thrown at them, but thats not exo's fault. But because Exo already has such a fan base, people expect them to have the talents and experience of groups who took years developping them right from the get go. Its completly unfair to compare EXO to a group like DBSK.

    We should just give exo a good chance and keep an eye out for them in the future, because they still have plenty of time to improve and surprise us. It's way to early to write them off, but it's also way to early to be a die hard EXO fan.

    1. I think exo'ss often compared to b.a.p., nu est rather than their sunbaes although people do bring up tvxq and shinee in regards to live singing.

      but having a large base is a good thing. much better than if you got no attention.

    2. Hi, I don't want to bash you...just a correction. TVXQ was popular right from debut. TVXQ did win one of those music show awards for Hug and received a newcomer award the "year" they debuted. I say "year" because they debuted 12/26/03 and formally started activities in the year 2004. EXO, on the other hand, won year-end awards but did not win their first music show award until Wolf...after being heavily promoted. Suju on the other hand, was overshadowed by TVXQ until they broke up. Also, the popularity EXO is experienced after MAMA is normal for a SM artist. Any artist that debuts under SM will always shine with an already biased fan base---much like YG diehards have for their YG fam bam. I am a fan of both EXO and TVXQ but just want to straighten out facts. Also, they are being compared because EXO is getting SM's style that TVXQ popularized...all of my TVXQ friends are upset that EXO is using that style...but in the end...it's not TVXQ's style but a style of SM.

    3. I do agree with you on this. SM as far as I know and can tell (im no expert on this), I noticed that EXO's style had a similar feel to TVXQ, and thought it more because of the people taking care of the music, such as melody, lyrics, etc. (Tell me if I'm wrong here.)

  22. arrogant? self-centered?
    OH PLEASE. Do you know them personally? Did they do something to you that isn't righteous? Seriously, if you want us to respect you and your opinions, make sure your opinions can be respected.

  23. EXO-K's member, Kai, had a waist injury but kept on practicing and performing to please the fans and make us happy. Please don't bash them :(

  24. Haha, I remember that even by the sixth teaser people were saying, "Too many teasers!" :P Little did they know there were many, many more to come...

    Either way, it ended up being 23 teasers, which doesn't seem like that much when you think about it. After What is Love, the teasers were uploaded more frequently, which I liked. I could tell even in the teasers that Exo was different than other boybands. Each and every teaser must have been a LOT if hard work and effort.

    The saddest thing was that I really loved some of those songs. Check out Beautiful, Baby don't cry, El Dorado and also even songs like Time Control. I hope those songs get released in their next album!

    Anyway, I agree with you on the fact that mist Kpop isn't as great as it used to be. I hear more and more Kpop songs that just sound so...American. Of course SHINee's not like that, nor is Exo's MAMA. But I feel that History could've been better. Oh well.

    MAMA was a great music video, and the song was good, but in my opinion it wasn't good enough to be called great or anything...

    I was expecting something more dance-y, actually. O.o

  25. I really dislike how you immediately jumped to the conclusion that they're "self-centered brats" just because they're attractive. I know that this is a matter of your opinion but EXO is indeed VERY talented in terms of singing and dancing because of their many live performances. I personally really liked their concept, song, and music video.

  26. I Support some of your ideas ... but the rest no !
    calling them arrogant self-centered and brats was over bored for writer like you !
    for emotions ... the whole concept (in my point of view)didn't need any emotions !! cuz the concept is stiff , doesnt talk about love or something needs emotions and focus on presenting the members as artists .
    if u looked for the song translation .. u would actually feel the song .. it got a nice message .. but the MV didnt match the song... thats why you wrote the articl .
    EXO Members are well trained and talented boys so u really dont have to criticize their skills or talents !
    I Respect that everyone needs to express their ideas and feelings ... but u kinda pushed it up a little bit .. hope u write more respectively next time :)
    at the end EXO is only deputing so as for the stiff un-emotioned concept .. alot of groups are deputing the same thing such as B.A.P .. cuz depute needs something powerfull so it can leave stronge impact on viewers minds !

  27. Well, coming from a person who generally listens to genres completely different from kpop... Exo was the only kpop band that I liked - not only because of the really awesome vid, but also cause of each of their personalities and their amazing talent. And I don't think that anyone can say or define definitely what kpop is - like, half if not most of the genres that we use to define music I can't even explain. But to sum it up, I reckon you shouldnt be so judgmental and critical about Exo. :P (sorry if this was offensive in any way- I just thought to put it out there cause that's just my opinion)

  28. First of all, before you decide to criticize anyone about musical talents, may I ask what background exactly do you have in music? What qualifies you to make judgements as to whether the songs have "personality" or not? As for EXO not looking like a group, then what exactly do you define as a group? They are in sync in the dance and vocals are nailed to perfection, not to mention there is very good harmonization during certain parts of the song if you bothered to listen for it at all. It might be hard for you to take this, but considering since you were quite ruthless critiquing EXO in the first place, it would only be fair for others to be ruthless towards you in what you call a "critique". Next time before you start judging a music video please keep in mind the hard work that was put into it. All the singing, choreography, and putting together the video takes an endless amount of work and for one judgmental person to slash down all the hard work behind it isn't reasonable.

  29. for a rookie group... their fanbase is very scary...

    1. I think scary's an understatement. I wish I can give you a high-five.

    2. it is an understatement, Just look at the bashful responses to this blog post from this author. Many of these i would assume safely are fans of EXO and on the basis of hard work defend them without a doubt. This is probably where these bands make their money and cant deal with even the slightest criticism.

  30. Don't take the bad comments to heart there will always be fans which will protect their oppas or unnies and bash the people who criticize them...I'm a new fan of yout blog I think everything you write is not really biased towards some artist but the really truth that many fans can't accept

    1. GOD BLESS YOU. PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THIS RIGHT HERE. I love you, and I agree wholeheartedly.

  31. sure some fans might be pissed and delusional
    but you're a bit too much yourself.
    just learn to respect all opinions
    everyone else too
    i feel there are several biased statements and hasty assumptions in this article (ie. exo's talent)
    while the fans also need a cool down as well (are yall 13 or what?)

  32. I dont want to be rude but they dont make music video to spread messages and change the world.it is to entertain people and thats exactly what it did.i luved the m/v.i luved their dance moves and the song.yes i also thought the first part stupid though i love exo.but what u r saying,i certainly cant agree with that. and u said that u dont know them personally so i dont you would able to justify them arrogant.and what if sm over dubs.i bet every1 cant cant dance lyk they do.i m an EXOTIC so i just have to it.dont mind:your blog seems lyk u were set to criticize it. sorry sorry sorry.

  33. first of all i dont completely disagree with u.u r ri8 about kpop but obviously wrong about exo.they r good looking boys its not their fault neither do i blv they made themselves pretty.nd as much as i know sm knows more bout music and what talent exactly is more than u.u cant just oppose that they dont have any talent.and i bet they worked realy hard to debut their m/vs.please give people some credit 4 their hard work other than criticizing people.its really easy 2 talk.nd u dont know them personaly u prabaly dont have any ideas.nd what exactly do u define as a group, and if exo is not a group what would u classify them as???am sure their fans will bias them even though.and will u please care to think before u ink

  34. lol. thank you for giving your time in writing this article. i'm sure 100% of all kpop fans will read it. exo will not survive the industry because of your article. the time you spent writing this article was well spent, because face it, you have nothing else to do with your life. i wish i read the whole thing but i dont like reading rants and bashing. why not like a kpop group and stick to those groups and not comment on the ones you dont like. it makes things a lot easier.

    1. at least she had the guts to make a article instead of just keeping her mouth shut like most of you. Individualism and criticism when sieved through the BS can actually help you in the long run.

  35. I am sorry but i completely disagree. Yes I do agree about the beginning but calling them arrogant self-centered brats is for one completely inappropriate and rude. And also do you know them at all? And saying that they dance like robots? seriously? I bet you couldn't dance in sync like that. They JUST DEBUTED. Do you expect them to be perfect? And have you seen their fan base? Well its a lot bigger than you think. And if they had no talent it would be a lot smaller. And yes, they are very handsome and that is a big part of it. And i bet you couldn't scream like Xiumin. So you just keep that in mind.

  36. LOL I really want to link this blog on the exo tumblr tag just to see what kind of reaction it'll produce, Just a heads up though, 'EXO' is the second most tagged word in tumblr, losing only to 'One Direction'. Its funny how you can still have the nerve to say some of the things you said in your post.

    Here are some facts about the boys that you might want to consider before jumping to ignorant conclusions like you have in your article above.

    I laugh how you try to include us in your opinion of EXO. 'Before we get swept away...' and '...shall we?', please, please don't use that word. I'm certainly not here to look at what's wrong with EXO, and judging by many of the comments above, I seriously doubt they are either.

    Like someone else mentioned, it doesn't matter how great your musical background is, I'm pretty sure one of the leading entertainment companies in South Korea knows more about music, dance and talent than you. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

    Maybe I'm just a but hurt fan, but you know what, I can usually take it if someone just says they don't like a group or artist I like. Your article just takes it to a whole new level, a level which I doubt any exotic could sit down and read without feeling extremely insulted themselves. You've insulted not only the group but all the groups fans and trust me, I wouldn't want as many enemies as you've potentially made.

    To all the exotics and those sticking up for EXO, thank you (:

  37. T%his is the funniest post I've ever read so far.

    P.S. I'm an EXO-fan.
    P.S.S. Thank you for the laughs. I needed it.

  38. This is one of the funniest posts I've read so far. lol

    P.S. I'm an EXO-fan.
    P.S.S. Thanks for the laughs; I sorely needed them.

  39. Hi :)
    I'm an Exotic (yeah, not the coolest fan name) + recently I've been seeing AH LOT of posts on Tumblr + other sites pointing out EXO's flaws + how unworthy they are of being considered one of the top rookies this year

    Yes, the hype created by all those trailers + photo shoots can probably amount to nothing more than nuisance to a non-obsessed fan (unlike myself), but I'd like to think that I am still able to look at things from an unbiased perspective. Here I go ~

    Exo caught my attention with Mama although I watched What Is Love + History before that; The latter sounded cool to me because of the different sounding accompaniment but I didn't pay attention -I only had eyes for Big Bang, B2ST + Suju then. But with Mama, I was spellbound. You ought to know I was pretty new to K-pop then. The English lyrics + dramatic MV with super powers thing made me cringe. But what caught my attention in the MV was 1. The crazy vocal range that may match that of Bruno Mars 2. The catchy melody of the song itself 3. Kai really doing the dance justice. I can't say I was impressed with the CGI crap. Tech stuff don't impress me. But I really did like the song + started checking out History + What Is Love again. Then before I knew it I was downloading every song.

    I didn't bother checking the members out at first 'cause well yeah, 12 members. But as I learned more about them -I had to know who was the one that reached that high F note in What Is Love- I found each member to be pretty charismatic + charming in their ways. Wasn't too long before I realized my love for them outsized the ones I had for BB, Suju + B2ST.

    But I'll admit, there were times in the beginning when I thought 'THIS is the best they had to offer at this audition?' + that some of the members fall a little behind the others in a certain performing aspect, but I guess I'm in too deep for any such thoughts now.

    Bottomline is, Exo is getting a lot of shit for what they've trained long + hard for + dreamed of for all their trainee years. + it'd suck if these critiques get any more rampant than they already are when the boys are busting their backs out there.

    WE ARE ONE <3

  40. Some parts I agree yet some parts I don't, only some.

    I like the song and the group, a lot. Their song seems different than other groups. How the song is put together with the beats, it feels like a mystery, something in it that they're not telling us. Something deeper.

    That's how I feel about the song. Everytime I hear(just listen)to the starting after a normal Korean song finished, something strong attracted me.

    True that they looked arrogant, I see it every time. But I guess that's how they were told to do it to pull weak hearted fans towards them.

    Just have to see what other songs they put out now since their promotions are over.
    Will they still go on with the space/power/alien/tree of life theme? Or will they just trash that and let all Fans be crazy disappointed but seeing SM being that type of person that thinks money first than who knows.

  41. I love EXO, I listen to them everyday but I won't put sugar in things cause some parts in this article actually took the words out of my closed mouth.

    I'm an EXO fan ot12 is truly showing their talents day by day but face it Exotics, what she/he(sorry) said was partly true.

    Don't be disappointed since I'm a fan that didn't defend my beloved group but this is life.....it's unfair.

    Peace ^^

  42. You know what, when I first viewed their teasers I wasn't impressed at all except that Kai looked like Changmin.

    I didn't even watch their teasers, I thought SM was being an idiot/annoying old man again for doing this.

    I'm not the most patient human in the word, and I actually hated the teasers cause I am more of a music/singing person when it comes to music.
    And the teasers...I wanted to throw my laptop out of my window at the 13th teaser when I heard that it was out.

    the marketing strategy made me hate EXO actually but when the MAMA teaser came on, I gave my time to it since the effects were gorgeous.

    For rookies, this start was actually too strong. Superpowers...aliens from another planet....tree of life...
    and the song is about people not paying attention to the people around them and more on their technology.
    I don't see the connection but the song is pretty, the vocals are powerful.

    Mostly...in the end, they got me hooked too since Baekhyun and Kyungsoo have such strong vocals. Both of them needs an award for owning such vocals and cute faces.

    Noona is happy. hahah!! omg...ok...I should go now.

  43. As a fan of EXO, I understand why you wrote what you wrote. MAMA to me sounds like the personality of SM, the company, rather than the group themselves. I would reserve some doubts for them, they're new and still finding their personality, with so many members, it's gonna take some time. I understand what you mean with the arrogance, especially over the performances, but I don't blame the boys. It is easily see which are members being centralized and weighted more by the company. I judge the company, not the group because this is Kpop. The group's music is the company's music.

    I want to give MAMA some justice though, I like the song first before I became a fan. I think the music video is dumb, but I like the song. I had a good laugh at the intro and the bad English. I want to think I'm a honest fan. I think the overly done teasers are a bit too much, even as a fan now, I haven't watch them all. What I mean to say is I do love the group, but not the promotional method. The group ain't got any problem, the promotional method is the problem. Do take that in mind.

    What I don't understand is why is there a connection with EXO and the whole Kpop. Exo is what everything that is wrong in Kpop? If you mean it that way, it's kind of harsh.

  44. I have to disagree with you.
    K-Pop isn't JUST selling music. You have to keep that in mind when judging a release. The music is only a tiny tiny part of it. What K-Pop is really selling are personas and emotional attachment. The fans don't keep coming back solely for the music or even solely for the looks. They come back because they feel an emotional investment in the idols. EXO's debut was pure marketing genius on SM's part. The teasers did their job in making the public interested as well as the two prologue songs.

    K-Pop has always been a commercial thing. I personally LOVE the way K-Pop is now. I love the over-exaggeration, I love the oversimplified personalities of the idols (leaves lots of room to speculate about their real selves), I love the fanservice, I just love everything about it. It's just good, fun, escapist entertainment. Yes it involves real people, but to me K-Pop is mostly fictional and I like it that way. J-Pop groups like AKB48 as well as any Johnny's Entertainment group sell the same thing. They sell you the people themselves first and foremost and then they sell you the music. Music is just an indicator of a group's success. Just because you didn't feel anything from MAMA doesn't mean it's a bad song. For me, I wasn't even going to pay attention to EXO. I was too busy focused on B.A.P. But then I gave MAMA a shot and as soon as the intro popped up, my mouth dropped open and stayed that way through the whole video. And I really don't understand why so many people are bothered by the Engrish chanting. As a long-time fan of Johnny's Entertainment groups, I'm so used to hearing random Engrish all the time, that it just did not distract me. And the intro wasn't confusing in any way to me. But I don't know if I'm just odd or not.

    But yeah, pop music in general is not about artistry, in my opinion. It's mostly about the personality of the performers and the addictiveness of the song. I enjoy all kinds of music. If I want to loop something that's high energy and just FUN to listen to, I will play a K-Pop song. If I'm in the mood for something artistic and pure music genius, I will play some progressive rock like Genesis or Marillion or Jethro Tull.

    Also I really don't understand how you perceived their performances as arrogant. I did see a lot of confidence and charisma, but arrogance? I don't think so.

    But hey, even though I am a pretty hardcore fan of EXO, I still respect your opinion. Without differing opinions, life would be boring, right? xD
    You have every right to dislike them just as I have every right to unashamedly fangirl over them. And it takes a lot for a boy group to hook me in, being a lesbian and all.

    I apologize in advance on behalf of all the EXO fans who are going to flame this article and possibly send you hatemail. A lot of them are just very young and a bit too defensive of the idols they love.

  45. (Please do finish reading my post before you label it as another hate message.)

    As much as I respect your opinion, the way you convey it really does take it too far.

    There are so many contradictions in your post, the most prominent one being that you said "I bothered to watch and follow EXO before I wrote this article", but from what I've analyzed, this article was posted not even a day or two after the release of their song. How is that enough time to 'watch' and 'listen' to their performances? I'm guessing you wrote this article just based off your initial reaction and thoughts to this group (correct me if I’m wrong), isn't that a little hasty? Automatically labeling them as a group that shows 'what's wrong with kpop' these days.

    Misleading comments like this: "If you show even just a pea's worth of talent….you can become the biggest thing since anything" can hint so many different things. I'm not sure if this is what you meant exactly, but what I'm thinking when I read something like that in a post about EXO is that you're trying to say EXO have no talent and even then they can make it big due to SM's marketing techniques. It's quite rude actually, to say that boys who have worked for this from anywhere between 1-7 years of their life have no talent. Again, this is my interpretation of what you’ve written.

    Touching on the 'arrogance' issue. In your note you say that you are looking at their 'attitude towards their music and performances'. I'm not quite sure what you're trying to say here, how have they shown arrogance with their music and performances? If they were strutting around saying 'oh yeah our song is doing so well' or 'we perform well' then that shows an arrogant attitude. But they have not done that, the only things coming out of those boys mouths after they perform is 'we want to keep improving, we will do better next time'. All I see when they are on stage are 6 or 12 boys, some more confident than others, some extremely nervous. There's no arrogance shown when they perform let alone towards their music.

    Lastly, your note about taking apart the concept of EXO and seeing what can be improved. I don't see you listing out what could've been done better, all I see is criticism after criticism, "this isn't done right.., that shouldn't be done.., why did they do this..," not only about EXO but about SME and even KPOP in general.
    When I personally am disappointed by an artist or group once, I don't jump to conclusions as large as yours. I give them chance and chance again to prove to me that their hard work has paid off. It's pretty narrow-minded to come to this conclusion the minute after they debut. For me, I'll continue watching them, and give them more opportunities to show me that they are worth my time. I hope you'll do the same. We'll see after a year or two where they really stand in the kpop industry..

    Instead of seeing my post as an attack, maybe see it as criticism for your writing in the future, maybe even criticism for your attitude towards newbies in the music industry. Just take into account other people’s feelings more because to some fans, attacks on their beloved groups are like attacks on them, themselves and it hurts their feelings. Always writing so harshly may make you seem like you're not afraid to say what you think but it can also make you seem like an arrogant girl who's trying to be too hard to impress. There are nicer ways of expressing your opinion, nicer ways of wording your statements. Your statements sometimes come of as though it's so funny to you how 'bad' a group or performance is, like their debut or performance was some kind of joke and that is probably the most offensive type of statement you make.

    Well I guess I hope you take my words into consideration. And I'll apologize on behalf of all the more sensitive EXO fans who have harassed you.

  46. "I really don't understand how next to NO ONE understands my use of the word "arrogant".
    It's frustrating really, because all their arguments towards me are based on that one word whose context they don't even understand.
    And worst of all, these all come out during a time when I have zero drive and when no matter how hard I try, I can't write."

    Firstly, why not try explaining to me what you mean when you say 'arrogant', if I'm not the only one misunderstanding and there so many others that don't understand the context in which you are using it in then explain it to us. Don't go tweeting about how frustrated you are, make an effort to explain it so that people do understand.

    Secondly, not all the arguments I made were about that, it would be nice if you take into consideration everything else I wrote in that post which I surprisingly spent some effort into writing and seeing I was careful not to be rude or disrespectful to you. And well if you did take it into consideration silently then thank you I guess.

    Thirdly, you wrote exactly this "purpose of my writing is for me to improve, and I value comments that both respect and criticize my writing". I do both of those in my post but you are not respecting me by complaining about how the timing of my post was oh so wrong and how I don't understand what you mean. It's easy to say you welcome critique but it seems that when it does in fact come you don't like to take it on board.

    Anyhow, I wish your blog success and I guess I can probably assume I wasted whatever time I spent writing both of my posts. :/

  47. first i wanna say that i'm a fan of exo :p
    arrogant ? maybe yes , maybe no
    there are some fancams when they looked like an ignorant *i hate those side of them,really*. but maybe we shouldn't judge them too much, they are still a rookie.

  48. Interesting read. I would go so far as to say most major music genres have their own glaring problems. You can get past a lot of it by listening to off-label artists, indie, and the like, but pop by nature will always have problems as long as it's run by big corporations, no matter what country it's in.

    I agree with a lot of your points, and despite thinking much of the story behind the band is cool, some of it is a little ridiculous. I tend to take it with a grain of salt, like you would take cheesy lines in a campy movie. ("Oh, geez")

    Now for my own thoughts: I think a lot of the problems with sincerity you have are *probably* due to overproduction and overdirection. The flashy lights and dramatic zooming in and out make the dancing seem more soulless than it actually is. The volume level of the background music and relentless drumbeats/effects/heavily saturated music takes away any enjoyment you might get from the vocals themselves. I honestly think if they'd performed the same way with quieter, less cluttered music, and in a video similar to Beyonce's Single Ladies - dancing in front of a plain background, simple video work, etc - you would have caught a lot more sincerity from the performance. It's a matter of doing too much for me, not too little. I could be wrong. But when I watch 'What is love' I feel a LOT more of the connection from them you seem to be missing in MAMA. In that video I get the sense they may need better direction for facial expressions as rookies, but everything else is very very nice in my opinion. (To be completely honest, I can't help but feel something when I hear D.O.'s voice on the chorus, he's great.)

    So maybe in the future when they've broken out of the brand-new stiffness (and the label chooses songs more wisely) you might like them more. Or not, but there are plenty more fish in the sea. They're auditioning all the time, after all.

  49. I think you should learn more about them before you judge them like that ^^

  50. this is golden as far as im concern
    i acknowledge that certain members are vocally talented but i think this group is just running on hyp.

  51. This group shows what's wrong with SM more than anything. They always try way too hard to be epic and ending up failing greatly. Everything about them is so manufactured fake and phony. EXO would probably be doing better if BAP had not debuted. BAP are far superior in singing and dancing and they completely own the stage when they perform. The also seem a lot more natural and have a genuine love for what they do.

    DBSK and SHINee are the best talent SM has at present. They better hold on to them for as long as they can.

    1. "They try to hard, everything about them is so manufactured fake and phony.."
      excuse me, ignorant bitch.
      Babys really thinks to highly about BAP and themselves, u guys are just like VIPs.
      all immature and ignorant.
      and think before u say something.
      EXO is the most talented rookie I've ever seen (I know Kpop since 2005, after those 7 years of seeing groups debuting, is EXO the one that impressed me the most, even thought I'm not a fan of them.)

      And the one who wrote this artice is immature as well,
      grow up.

    2. BAP? superior at singing and dancing? I think thats an overstatement. EXO can dance in SYNC as 12. AS 12. Superior in singing? HAVE YOU HEARD DO's, Chen's, or Baekhyun's voice? You don't think EXO has genuine love for what they do? Give me a reason why Suho would bother training for 7 years then -.- get your facts straight.

  52. what is wrong with kpop? HUH? what is wrong with u!~
    if u dont like exo or SM or Kpop then maybe u should go get a life in a hole! u would be arrested sooner or later! people like you should commit suicide~ hope 2012 is gonna be the last year of ur life!~



  53. Be prepared to get slammered by Tao with his wushu stick. Just wait. Even the fans are like ranting on you now... That's what you get when you call EXO arrogants and brats.

    Seriously, you think that KPOP is better with the cute aegyo stuff? Oh nononononono. For your info, I LOVE Kai's screamo rap part. I LOVEEEEE IT SO DAMN MUCH MY MOM LOVES IT TOO! The face paint is unique and what? He can't do it because it ain't KPOP? Then why did they make it big? how did they get tons of fans all around the world? And you said that they won't make it big and will make the kpop industry a bad name whatsoever. You got it wrong.

    If you want to make a review, think twice! 'Cause you just gained lots of haters from EXOPLANET! :DDDDD

  54. if you dont have anything good to say then dont say anything at allbitch. exo is legend and always will be >:(...

  55. I am not an EXO fan but I think their songs are very powerful. Music must convey their meaning to their audience. I have been listening to kpop songs by great artists like Cool, TURBO, BoA, Se7en, etc. from the past, and they were sort of my genre. I tend to listen to new genres because art develops overtime. And the group which impressed me so far were DBSK (except for their latest songs because it sounds like an ordinary kpop song), and EXO (Exo-k in particular). You can see their flaws in their music video but not much by listening. I wasn't impressed with MAMA's teaser, MV or stuff. Teasers are meant 'to tease' ofcourse, and it's just a company's way of persuading audience (via peripheral route). The company goes after the group's album sales after all.

    I first heard MAMA in a Korean Drama (though the song was kinda off with the scene) then I searched it right away. Their gregorian-ish chant made it more powerful though it's Eng-rish. We are now in a generation where music is just meant to give entertainment to our eyes and ears (just because it's catchy or what), thus making the music industry lose its sense. But it's an industry, what more can we expect from it?

    If you were to make another review about a newbie group, please refrain from saying that you already knew them all along before you made your critique or whatsoever-defensemechanism-ish statements because the fact the they are just in the process of gaining their names doesn't make them who they are.

    Sad to say but I think this entry was more of a make destructive criticism rather than a constructive one because the basis wasn't set yet. But it makes me happy that there are still people who posts their views in the cyber world, and accepts opinions of others. I definitely hate SME but I can totally appreciate EXO as a rookie group.

    I hope you won't hate the group because of the immaturity of their fans. Most of them are still in puberty. Their hormones react much to things which makes their self-concept at risk. Keep fighting! ;)

  56. oh THOSE BOYS HAVE TALENT. IM SURE.They did get in into SMent.
    I should know better athn anyone since i failed SM Global Auditions

  57. is it just me or... am i the only one who can see exo's style? i agree when you wrote this article, it wasn't very clear. However, now with all their extra promotions, especially the Samsung CF, i see the difference in exo and other typical boy groups. oh yeah, exo-k's performances are now perfect :)

  58. iam sorry i know your just expressing your opinion but i think your being too disrespectful of calling then self-centered brats.... you cant call a person like that without knowing them personally

    taemin robots? i disagree with you, exo trained hard for their debut some of them even got injured because of practicing non-stop and for pete's sake you cant judge them just like that they just debuted

    this boys just trained hard for everything just to debut and excuse me but about your statement about them being not sincere about music and dancing is not true if they are not sincere with music and dance they wouldnt be a kpop artist right now and NOT everyone can be a kpop artist and sm has those high standards when it comes to talents same goes with yg and jyp and probably every kpop companies out there they became a kpop artist because they are truly passionate and sincere about music and dancing some kpop artist even left and disobeyed their parents just to be one and you tell them they're not sincere about it? please i am just a person who likes music, in a school choir, who likes to play guitar and passionate about music i can tell that they are truly enough sincere with what they are doing...

    sure they have flaws but let me remind you they just debuted and they have still have a long way to go

  59. You need to stop right now and re-evaluate your life choices all right. Before you go out and JUDGE the group you need to watch more INTERVIEWS(where they sing LIVE and yes the can SING) you need to listen to more than ONE song(May I suggest What is love or how about baby don't cry because they are great songs) and I think you really need to see more than ONE video to criticize them. BTW Tao can do MARTIAL ARTS AND DANCE. So check ALL of your facts before you start making all of your bullshit accusations. I don't go ahead and look at your picture and say "Oh this bitch probably has no talent AT ALL and she she probably says horrible stuff about EXO while she has tons of taylor swift's shitty ass songs on her ipod" If you want to really say bad things, do it about Taylor Swifts 3rd grade lyrics. I mean seriously, 'we are never ever ever getting back together x100' is MUCH worse than EXO.

  60. Way too many PRN haters out over here. Hey, guys? Don't talk about EXO like they're so special. The Korean pop industry's been hitting record highs in churning out rookies. EXO trained their heads off but SO DID EVERYONE ELSE. For a group that debuted with a practically pre-assigned fanbase, EXO is not delivering.

    It's not bad to be someone whose bulk of "talent" grew up in training. If you watch the movie Newsies, the result of 3 months of training in song, dance, and vernacular is spot-on dance and fair vocals. The one overwhelming trait, though, is fabulous delivery. 3 months of training doesn't teach you that. That's gotta come from yourself.

    If a smaller agency debuted EXO, they wouldn't be randomly charismatic from out of nowhere like B1A4, they'd be like Co-who-the-hell-is-Ed, and the main reason that Co-Ed faded out of the picture was that their agency doesn't know how to package talent.

  61. True, they stand for all Kpop is and that's why we love Kpop isn't it?

  62. I do agree with a lot (okay, I'm lying. ALL) that you said, but I guess the way you said it offended others. I'm not a fan of them and I certainly didn't like MAMA (though I loved History), but if you said something like that to Big Bang, Girls' Generation, CNBLUE or f(x), I would be offended too. It's a bit of sensitivity that you might need.

    I hate doing this but I do have to compare them with B.A.P because they debuted at nearly the same time.

    EXO released so many teasers (wasn't a fan of K-pop until April this year so I have no interest in that) and had so many fans before they even debuted so it's a bit unfair for those groups who released a teaser or two then their single and debuted right away. In MAMA, it was just a song that wasn't good. Because it wasn't a good song, their performances weren't good for me.

    B.A.P released so many songs. 5 singles in 1 year. That's exhausting but they managed to work their asses off to give the best performances. Their first 2 songs were just okay but when No Mercy came out, they showed improvement in their song, style and performances. Crash was the turning point because I became a fan of them during that time. They didn't stick entirely to their hip hop roots but even if they went to the standard K-pop type of music, it was still good.

    That's why I think B.A.P is overall a better rookie. It's good to start as an amazing act, but if you have no improvement, it's impossible to make it any bigger than you already are. I want EXO to release another single so I can judge them properly.

  63. Don't get me wrong I'm typing at two in the morning so don't expect me to make sense 100%

    I understand your points but to observe them objectively and strip them of what little substance they have; without comparing them to other established groups and how they did during their debut days. And then generalizing them with the Kpop industry as a whole may have been a little OTT which has stirred up the pubescent EXO fans.

    I prefer MAMA over history, because the Gregorian chant pulls you in. I wasn't expecting to hear something so cold, and it was different. I enjoyed it, the lyrics have a cold and powerful meaning, and presenting it coldly with an "epic" backtrack (Orchestrated, with added rock instruments) was something that I had been dying to hear in a while, it was different from the extreme cutesy and the extreme hip-hop styles which I used to steer from until recently.

    The difference between EXO-K and M can be heard too. M sings in Mandarin and it's a language flows nicely; to me this is quite appealing. Until you get to the bridge before the chorus and it's a little funny because they accent the syllables but it begins flowing again in the chorus. But overall EXO-M has a more piercingly cold feeling in song style, despite it being the same song. This is because they are able to hit higher notes and the difference in the singers voices from Chen's powerful vocals and the softness of Luhan voice forces a odd harmonious kind of effect which feels chilling in a way. Another point is the rap and the screaming parts of the song. They work well with the transitions of the songs. M's raps were smooth and again EXO-M oddly expressed more grunt with the yelling, maybe it was because they split the part between Xiumin and Kris rather than keeping it solely on Kai and hearing a difference in the voices was something it needed.

    EXO-K on the other hand has Baekhyun and D.O who are both very powerful singers and through out the EXO-K version of the song is this constant power swapping between these two assisted by Suho and of course the other members. They don't hit the high notes like Chen, but the cold feeling is portrayed in the crisp pronunciation and the accented syllables of the Korean language, which then smooth in the chorus. The raps are very different from the M version. It's a lot faster, or it feels it as the syllables don't slur like Mandarin seems to. It adds a punch to the cold feeling of the song. The screamo part I felt a little lacking in K's version but I think it's just because it felt like it was a little monotoned in comparison.

    I like the grungy sound of the beat and the guitar part later on with the dance break and the screamo. It was SM simply showing off "Oh yeah we trained them to do that too!" EXO as a whole have improved as a whole after some time. The roboticness is something else I liked in the song, it kinda expresses how they've turned into these cold beings after experiences hardships in the real world (I think this is what they were trying to interpret. It sounded like it) and they were asking why the world was cruel with their hardened hearts.

    I think I just over analysed the song and totally disregarded the video. Heck it's 3am now; oh well I should really sleep.

    SM lately though have left EXO hanging and refocused on the groups they already have. Which is a bit disappointing none the less not really allowing us to judge how they've improved. They would have been on a even battle ground with B.A.P. If they had continued to release new songs little by little as the year went past (like B.A.P), instead of fading into the shadows.

    I think they might be one of the more pressured groups to debut in the K-pop industry today. B.A.P appears to have a bit more freedom and a little less to worry about concerning Sunbaes, and being able to be more relaxed has allowed them to improve well without the harsh criticism a huge company like SM and YG would get for a new group.

  64. Fawk you, EXO is perfect, and they are NOT brats - you just judged them based off of your external impression. They can dance and sing surprisingly well. Signing off.

  65. Pretty much all the comments have covered what I want to say so I'm just going to make this quick.
    Your article has many strong, valid points... laced with things that make me want to flip a table. ("They don't look like a group, they look, and perform, like six (or twelve, whatever) arrogant, self-centered brats." Really. Are you fucki-)
    Putting my feels aside, I do agree with a lot of things said here that to me, are spot on bulls-eye. The whole "commercial success over real artistry" is a growing epidemic in the K-Pop world, and really, the entire music industry in general. Honestly, when it comes to talent, music composition, and lyrics, the K-Pop industry isn't much different from any other entertainment industry in the world (aside from the fact that it's in another language, of course).
    While I (think I) understand the point you're trying to get across, a lot of things came off as just heavy bias and prejudice from first impression. Everyone can use a bit of criticism for improvement-as stated in your last edit bit-and I hope that maybe you take this comment into consideration for the next time you write something. And, uh, that's really all I have to say about this article.
    (Hopefully, I don't sound like too much of an idiot.)
    Have a good day and very happy New Year's.

  66. i am a die hard exo stan, but i freaking agree to this. stanning the boys for their looks is different from stanning them for their music. the songs are catchy, and concept is unique, but i myself admit that their song, no matter how catchy and all, does lack something. the music isn't really that crappy, but not the best either. and i hope some people especially exo stans would be open minded regarding this. i hope they know how to set apart the person and the music.

  67. While you do have some strong points, I find myself disagreeing with most of them.
    Calling EXO's style as 'arrogant' and labelling their music as 'emotionless' is a bit overboard don't you think?
    They're a rookie group who just debuted, while they do have one of the Big-3 supporting them - they are essentially rookies. I try hard not to judge them because let's face it, they could be like so many groups who debut with a great song and then disappear off the face of the Earth.
    What I'm trying to say is that this is just their debut, while SME has probably spent a lot of money on them for their debut. They still have a long way to go, they're cream of the crop from SM Academy and I really don't think SM will compromise when it comes to talent.
    MAMA isn't the best song you'll listen to it, but if you're an SMTowner - you'll be familiar with classic SMP and this is SMP done in 2012.
    As for EXO, give them a chance instead of making harsh judgement based on one song with a lol-wut, concept.
    And really, K-pop is not just about the music. K-pop is a whole different world all together when you actually compare them to K-indie and other Korean music.

  68. The ones who are saying that Kpop is losing its edge sound like those "back in the day when music was good" type of people. Things are changing, including music. Exo are one of the k/m-pop bands who actually have a good message in their songs. The concept that they have is new and refreshing. I personally loved MAMA. But I am wondering on how long you have been listening to K-pop because I just find it odd that Exo was the band that made you write this? Not the kpop who have mediocre singers and stupid lyrics. But Exo? Baekhyun, Suho, and D.O. are great singers. The only thing that disappointed me was their live performances which I am sure they have been working on during their "break". I have been listening to "k-pop" for 10 years so i am not a newbie (to the person who said that's the only kind who would like them), but I just see star quality with them, so yeah. And shut up to the people who keep bringing up other groups. Overall I think they will do well, and I can't wait until people start taking back the mean comments they had made before about them.

  69. Everybody has there own point of view in music. You might think that they are all flash whatsoever but you're not in their shoes. Yeah, some of them might not have talents but they are trying their best to become a famous singer because that's what they want to be. Exo are still rookie singers and they still have many time to learn and become a group that everyone would like. So please take time and see their progress. I'm not saying that your post was untrue or something because I respect your own point of view. That's all.

  70. i think was not see ''Mama'' ''with your heart'' like you say exo in mv are arrogant, self-centered brats , so i want to ask you . you can tell me , mv of lee hi , 1,2,3,4 with her act , you have any motion ? 'Mama is mv dance , so , what do you want ? and more more mv in kpop , you said like mama is such best of best. F , B.A.P , i like them , but you think , they company have to pay how many money for 6 album , if exo can have 6 album , you would told them like that ? In B.A.P , the most popular is bang yong guk and zelo , right ? it must very right . SO do not write this ,

    it make you like a stpid shit!!!

  71. I would say I didn't mean to be rude, but I'm past that point. What exactly gives you the right to go off trashing people you don't even know?! You seem to be a decently educated person, but what lies behind that mask of yours? Does it really make you feel better by trashing other people? What does it matter to you? You obviously are having some sort of personal thing going on since you have nothing better to do with your time besides talk down on others. You don't know them, you don't know how hard they have worked to be at the point where they are now! You may not appreciate their work, but I, as well as many others, do! You may not like them, but we do! They are people with feelings too! They feel pain just like we do! They cry just like we do! They get hurt just like we do! So to have someone like you who just has to go around downing people is sick! I can't believe that humanity has come to a point where they are downing others of the same species! Is it so hard for you to have a little respect and dignity! I mean honestly has the world really come to a point where the only peace we can find is in making other people look bad just to make ourselves look better!? Who are you to go around talking down on people you don't know? You obviously have a lot to learn about yourself, life, and the universe, but that doesn't make you talking bad about others any less wrong! You don't even know them! SM has done a pretty great job with EXO if I might say so myself being that they are popular all over the globe and are way more successful than you are. So get a grip on yourself and find something else to do with your time. I hope i didn't disturb you with this message, but I will say that you must have some sort of feelings. I must have done something to get your attention being that you read this message all the way through. Thank you for hearing me out.

  72. I agree that MAMA was very overdone. However, I'd like to think that they redeemed themselves a bit with What Is Love.

  73. I know that there are several mistakes in the way SME promoted EXO, the way SME works and how MAMA was created, but to say that EXO is all style and no substance - to link them to a robot, and to call them bratty is just too much, don't you think?

    You said that they have no/lack seriousness towards their music, you said it as if you know them personally. Human emotions are complex. You and I can feel despair but we can still show our smiley faces. How can you say that by just looking at the MV?

    I totally agree on the narration part. YES I thought that it was kinda stupid, what, narrate something in English, but some parts were still incomprehensible.

    I thought this was "EXO shows us what's wrong with K-POP" but your just making me read your dislike for EXO itself. You should have titled this "Let me show you what's wrong with EXO - in relation to K-POP".

    You judged EXO like they were nonessential books. Were you just looking at the cover?
    I thought the content was more important - and EXO is still an incomplete book.

    With regards to the meaning of the video I somewhat agree - Yes things just suddenly pop out, powers were shown and etc. But regardless of the meaning it was a well done video. It was actually quite enjoying to watch. The video itself "I THINK" doesn't have a meaning. But the video does not necessarily needs to have a meaning. It's the lyrics of the song that should have that meaning, and "I THINK" that the song somewhat - vaguely - illustrates the meaning of wanting to break free.

    I have my biases - and I'm a total fan of EXO - and that may have affected my criticizing opinions towards EXO - a lot - and MAMA, but the bottom line is - the way you criticized the feelings of these boys towards their passion/dream - whatever you wanna call it - is inhumane and is just downright wrong. You can judge their music, presentation, and videos, but you can never judge their feelings.

    Try to listen to their other music - though they have little - I think that it might change your opinion. Angel, What is love and Baby don't cry are exquisite - in my opinion.

  74. I'll have to agree!
    I've looked into the EXO members some more, but EXO is just really proof that putting perfect members together dont make the perfect band. theres nothing wrong with manufactured groups. look at snsd, look at db5k, they pretty much rocked the gold of kpop and yet were manufactured. as for exo, tho, theyve all got individual great/talented backgrounds, but as a promotional concept and group, EXO is terribly flawed. or at least terribly shallow.

  75. the one who made the article is a kpopfan who still too much into suju&dbsk to think carefully,,exos perfection is made to look as a flaw,they trained their butts off to bring the perfection but small minded fans of older kpop groups cannot accept the fact that the newer generation is getting better and better they have less flaws than the previous groups more refined look ,better traineed dancer etc you cannot blame them for being better like you want some flaws in them to be closer to jour ideal group

  76. HMM vocal wise I definitely would go with EXO-M. Seriously..their team is well rounded that they outshine EXO-K. SME better promote them as one group because EXO-K needs serious help from the members of EXO-M. Please do not view this as an insult but I really see EXO-M as a one group that can stand on the stage already.

  77. I have much to say. Really, like if I could, I would like to make a counter statement of each point here. But since I don't have the time, the resources, nor the patience to do so, I'll just like to point out one thing. THE ARROGANCE thing. Sure, on a ground level analysis, you pointed out that in the MAMA video, they visually looked more "arrogant" than confident; stating that there is a fine demarcation between the two. However, have you even taken the "meaning" of the song into consideration? Sure, as you've said, you don't know any Korean and all that stuff, but perhaps you should've thought about that before critiquing their expressions, huh? The song circles mostly on humanity and its ever changing antics.

    "Why can't we look at each other in the eye anymore? Why don't we communicate? Why don't we love? Once again we shed tears at this bitter reality. Will it ever change, will it turn out good? Tell me, Your Majesty."

    This is the rough translation of Mama's chorus. Basically, their expressions are a mirror of what the song is trying to imply. The change in humanity. The impending arrogance. Once you sing a song, much more in your native language, you are able to feel not just the beat, but also the lyrics, and it drains down to your projection.

    I have lots more to say; really I do, but I'll just stick to this one comment for the time being.

  78. kpop isn't specifical. Exo is great the way it is, maybe different than other groups. But that's what makes it good and awesome.

    Everyone in exo is TALENTED they dance good and sing

  79. and you show us what is wrong with journalism

  80. This article is damn biased, and clearly not written by someone who clearly hates SM entertainment, EXO, and possibly a general hater of kpop. Seriously I could take the stuff about "over-dubbed live performances" because personally I get frustrated when SM doesn't let their idols sing live even with vocal talent, but as soon as the stuff about "arrogance" and "sincerity" appeared, I justed needed to say something in response to your close-minded review.

    1) Arrogance can be looked at in two ways: one being sexy, the other being bratty. I'm sure you agree with the latter, and I'll let you have your own opinions, but could you at least give some specific evidence as to WHY they look arrogant? I'm pretty sure most of them just tried to stare into the camera while looking attractive and not smiling too much - it's to fit the theme!
    2) Sincerity. Have you even gotten to know this group at least a tiny bit on and off stage?! I'm not expecting everyone to be fans, but seriously don't you see their sweat, their tears, and their constant 90 degree bows to fans and workers?! Do a little research before pretending to know what you're writing about.

  81. All the superpowers stuff would've been so good if SM didn't use always a box with the group dancing inside of it xDD

  82. First of all, I will admit that I am a FAN of Exo.

    But, if you want to ask me, well, even if you don't, the reason why I liked Kpop is BECAUSE of them. I was really a HATER of kpop BEFORE. So I'm gonna tell you how I "critiqued" exo when I came to know them.

    But before that, I just want to tell you to please avoid using a collective noun when you're only referring to your own criticism or opinion because a lot of people have a different view from you, especially in the title of your article. Just like the title of this "Exo shows US what's wrong with Kpop", even though for many, exo has shown what's GOOD with Kpop. And if you were only referring to the music or song, you could've said that in your title too, like "what's wrong with Kpop MUSIC" so people wouldn't misunderstand.

    In the first part, you talked about how kpop exaggerates about talent..then you said in your note that this is a "musical" criticism, not a "talent" criticism. Talent is not really a big deal as long as the music turns out to be good. And saying that "even a pea's worth of talent makes you the biggest thing since anything"..now that's EXAGGERATING. What's the main purpose of having training right? And you cannot call a 'pea' talent a talent because having a "talent" is being "unique", there's no such thing as "even a pea's worth of talent". Tell me a talent that became the biggest thing since anything with just a pea's worth of talent. And you just said so yourself that this is a "musical" criticism, then you just go and include about "scandals"?

    Second, I really approve of you there about the Tree of Life intro. The truth is, I really don't like that part, cause it's just too long and boring, it's almost 1/3 of the whole mv. I also agree with you that it should be in korean or chinese, but since there is an automatic subtitle in korean and in chinese, then it's fine. But I don't agree when you said that "K-Pop loses the qualities that made it appealing in the first place", referring to korean language because this is NOT the real reason why Kpop is appealing. It is appealing because of the uniqueness of the melody and tune of their music, their unique music videos, their unique choreography, and their cute and charismatic faces. And they DIDN"T lose them up until now, the reason why many fans still find Kpop APPEALING, and MANY are still convinced, just like me ad my friends. You could say that they have lost these qualities that makes them appealing IF many Kpop fans don't find them appealing anymore.

    When you said that MAMA is "all style, and no substance" I totally don't agree with you. The first time I watched their mv, I was REALLY impressed with D.O.'s voice and even though I thought that this is polished by editing, it's still very impressive because it was STILL high. I was also impressed with the blending of their voices because the blending was strong. You should not say that it is ALL style and NO substance, when in fact there is, even though it's only few, because, NONE is different from FEW.

  83. And when you said that "neither the audio nor the VISUALS really give off the impression of mastery or effortlessness." I was like "Huh?" Seriously, you're really saying that there is no impression of MASTERY in the VISUALS??? The complicated non-ordinary dance steps that they executed UNIFORMLY and with ENERGY??

    And you stated that "They don't look like a group, they look, and perform, like six (or twelve, whatever) arrogant, self-centered brats". I was again, O_o? What's the connection between "group" and "self-centered brats"? Are those even comparative? If you define group it is "a number of people or things that are located close together or are considered or classed together". If you don't consider them a group, then what are they? a pair? If you meant that statement differently, you could have stated it specifically and more clearly. Also, they don't even look like brats. They may look arrogant and proud and serious, but not brats. It's especially the main point of the mv. To look proud with their power and serious to ooze their charisma. That's why they looked arrogant. Confidence is not the main point of the mv. If it is, then they shouldn't be all too serious. The intro "chant" even set up the atmosphere. My first impression of them the first time was actually "cool and sexy" because their faces were serious and all. I didn't see them as self-centered also because, if you think about it, almost every time they are focused with their power. It's because they are being introduced in focus to show their individuality and specific power. But their are also many parts where they are shown as a group to show that there is unity despite their different powers.

    We have different points of view, and I definitely don't agree with you when you said that you felt nothing while watching their mv. Me and my 5 friends definitely felt goosebumps, especially during the "careless, careless" part and a big AWE with their dance and their voices.

    (Note: I watched the mv again, and proved my stand right.
    You criticize others, Others criticize you, and the others that criticize you, will also be criticized..that's life.
    It's really not a bad article if you have just put some good points so that it would be fair because it really looked like your bashing the group even though you didn't mean to.
    The truth is, I read first you article about wolf, and I like your fairness there, so I was quite surprised when I read this.)

  84. This work of yours is like the written version of what I feel about EXO deep, deep, deep inside O_O I'm blown~ Salamat po for this (:

  85. Okay, all I want to say is, some of your points doesn't really make sense. If you watch their backstage videos and everything else, you can see that they are GENUINE. And I don't agree with you saying that MAMA isn't real music. I was never into Kpop before and stuck with Jpop all these years. However, when I first heard MAMA, i feel in love with it. It was the first Kpop song I was drawn in by and I wasn't watching the music video or looking at their faces at all.So I guess I can substantially say that, MAMA is a worthwhile song. Maybe your taste just differs from it.

    1. Yup! I agree with you! We have the same experience except that I was really a HATER of Kpop BEFORE i came to know about exo! xD

  86. You sir, need a reality check and a heavy-duty rundown on EXO.

  87. I had a paragraph on this piece...but I decided not to post it for it goes along with everyone before me. The fact of the matter is, you need to keep an open mind, although I'm sure your words are coming back to bite you in light of recent events from EXO

  88. There are many things wrong with K-POP, and you failed to mention one.

  89. i wanna kill you. hhhaa. sorry that was my first thought because i'm a huge fan of exo. But all that fangirl's wrath aside, i really don't get it when people start judging kpop. I mean US music has an equal amount of flash and emphasis on visuals or maybe even more. Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, even Rihanna, Katy Perry. Just look at what they wear. And we agree that their singing voices (at least the last 3) is pretty good but live, they really don't sound good all the time. Doesn't mean they can't sing. Similarly to kpop, the groups don't perfect their performances all the time and choose to overdub to not go off pitch especially when dancing. But exo do go live too. Only extremely good singers like Beyonce or in kpop's world, Ailee, can pull off singing perfectly while dancing. But let's not forget that beyonce lipsyncing incident, no matter what her excuse is. But i'm sure if you bother to just check out exo's live radio songs you will realise that they can sing. Not all 12 but most of them. That is usually the case for kpop groups. Perhaps there is a slight over emphasis on visual over the song, alot of fluff added instead of just focusing solely on making good music. But that doesn't mean the music isn't good, it is infact one of most catchy music i have heard compared to US music and chinese music. And if so, i don't see anything wrong with that or anything wrong with kpop. What is wrong with kpop are sasaeng fans. hahaha, but that is another problem entirely. I just hope people are more openminded and judge music and kpop objectively. If people didn't know their fans are a bunch of crazy screaming girls, i think people would be able to accept and appreciate them better. I don't necessarily mean you because you mention that you did like kpop before, i think?

    sorry one last note, i don't get how exo having a split group don't appeal just cause you got into kpop cause it's korean. If it bothers you that much, you can just listen to the korean side. But really, should it matter? You say people are not listening to music itself because of all the fluff but then you seem equally shallow if you reject music just cause it's not korean or lose it's korean qualities. But it is just changing the lyrics to chinese. Are you searching for some linguistic qualities in music or smth?

    You ofcourse, might be resolute in your opinion on exo in the mama era. But how about you try them now?!!! They have a new song called Growl and it is efffffing good. You should go watch the dance version mv. Tomoro they are releasing the drama version. But the song has less fluff and background story etc, and really just straight out showcase their qualities and talents. Looks, Vocals and dance! It's really catchy!

  90. arrogant and self-centered brats? excuse me but do you even know them personally?!maybe they are when they are off cameras but from what i know Exo is definitely not. they are always so nice to their fans. maybe you dont know that but when kris was alone at the Guangzhou airport in China, a lot of girls fans went up and asked for autagraphs. did he refuse? no he didnt and when the security guard came to ask Kris is he needed any help he said no we are together. you call this arrogant? im sorry correct me if i am wrong but i feel like what your saying is more of a personal opinion towards K-pop music rather than what is actually wrong with it.

    they are still rookies and you just cant simply judge them based on their style and appearance. Yes they all look hot and sexy but that is what makes fans fall for them, a big part of k-pop is about appearance.

    you also mentioned something about exo having no talent? if they have no talent do you even think that they can be debuted? half of SM's trainees dont even get a chance to debut. SM have very high standards and thats how SM has put up so many great groups.

    maybe what i am saying is more personal rather objectively because i am an exotic and i like them for who they are. they didnt copy TVXQ or SJ, they didnt have a choice, SM made them to be introduced this way. as for what you said about robotic motionless dance moves maybe you are not a dancer yourself so you dont know this but thats because of the times they practice their dance. yes it is perfect but do you have any idea how hard it is to let the whole song be perfect? you dont know them well enough and you have no idea how hard Exo worked to gain such a large number of fans. they have pressure as well you know, sometimes SM doesnt bring fame but brings pressure especially for rookies like them.

    1. Do you know personally? Do you meet them? Come on. When they are off-camera, do you know how they live? If you know EXO worked hard to gain such a large number of fans, if you know they have pressure, why don't you try to understand how your parents worked hard raise you to be a good person and they have many pressure too?

  91. I know this post is really old, but man that is harsh when you're just looking at one song. The first time I heard Mama when it was released, I was like wow these guys can sing and dance. And they are sincere. Have you watched them after their first win? Suho, Kai and Lay are crying. And this performance.
    They're great live. I know that some performances are lip-synced but they are better live. Exo is gonna be at the top of kpop for awhile. Exo fighting. <3

  92. A little late to this post because I haven't visited this blog in a while :< But reading this (even slightly on hindsight after having listened to XOXO and seen their latest performances) makes me absolutely completely agree with what you've said. You've basically highlighted precisely what I found was wrong with their debut and why I was so resistant to listening to anything by them until recently (summer break does bizarre things to my brain).
    Their first round of promotions were polished and manufactured to perfection, I give SM that. But coming from a viewer passing by who has no interest in them as a group, they lacked stage-presence, charisma and cohesiveness in nearly all their performances. These were so glaringly apparent during close-ups and wideshots of the group on stage. It just felt wrong and very empty. I'm not judging their potential, personalities, hardwork, abilities, heart or their growth in the latest single for that matter (that's the point many comments are missing). I'm judging them based on the goods they're delivering to me as a consumer of pop music, and they fall entirely short on that.

  93. You are absolutely RIGHT!!! Let's face it, our kpop idols are not the epitome of talent, they are not supposed to. We come to see kpop, because it is beatiful people and polished dance moves, yet heavily manufactured. And those of you who say they are talented, either you are lying yourself or you are underaged.

  94. This is exactly what I wanted to say. I agree their vocals and dances are good. But I felt NOTHING when I listen to their songs. Really nothing at all. Emotion, Sincerity and Soul are nowhere to be seen. That's why I don't like them. Just visual songs. But when I said I'm not an exo fan, they goes like are you crazy ? How come you don't like my handsome oppas? I'm getting sick of them now.

  95. How biased can this article be? This is a just a bunch of opinions, no evidence. Do u have any proof that they're self-centered brats? How insulting and immature can this be, both to EXO and to the fans? Have you met them in real life? The whole article has no evidence to support it. For God's sake, every single one of them trained for at least a year, the leader trained for 6 years. I'd also like to point out that when you say 'EXO, as shown by "MAMA", is basically what everyone else in K-Pop wants to be -- perfect. But they have shown us that even perfection comes with compromises. Emotions, or outstanding technicals? Overflowing style, or solid substance? Commercial success, or artistry?' Doesn't that resemble most if not ALL pop culture? Take a look at Lady Gaga, or even better, Justin Bieber. Now take a look at EXO again, are you sure they can't dance? Are you sure they can't sing? Are you saying any person in the world, picked out at random will be able to do what they can? Can YOU do what they can? And you say they're untalented. This isn't criticizing, this is a whole lot of k-pop hatred thrown at our faces. You don' like them? Fine. You don't go around pointing out weaknesses and judging when you can't even prove that what you're saying is true. You have no idea how hard they work and practice every single day, to do what they can, after all, they're humans too. Tsk tsk tsk... Look at what you've done to me, i sound like a 'self-centered brat'. Remember that? But seriously, do you really think this is a reliable and fair article?

  96. I know this is really late and I'm already a huge EXO fan, but I'm going to say it anyway LOL: I totally get this article.

    I have to say, I had to listen to MAMA multiple times to actually get into it and like it but I do feel like MAMA was purely a debut song for them to showcase their dancing and performance skills because, let's be honest, that song was not about the melody or how awesome their singing was. It was purely about showing everyone that these rookies were a force to be reckoned with. It was to get their name and faces out there. They didn't do the usual K-pop cutesy debut song that rookies groups usually do. Instead they went straight into strong and powerful. And I'm not going to lie, it worked. It got me hooked on this new band that was completely different to everything else out there. EXO really got me into listening to K-pop.

    And I am SO thankful that they took a one-year hiatus to really sharpen up on their vocals because looks can only get a group so far and XOXO was seriously worth the wait. Their title track 'Wolf' is a pretty generic song that they could, again, use to showcase their dancing and performing skills as well as their handsomeness. But, I feel 'Growl' certainly did them a bit more justice as it had a more of an original feel to it; it wasn't just all dance beats and fancy auto tuned wolves.

    And the rest of the songs on the album... <3 Ahh I just feel like their album was a perfect mix of upbeat dance tunes and slow tempo ballads and I have a really good feeling about this group :3 If SM play their cards right.. I think EXO could be something real special.

  97. You are just wrong about them. They are such a wonderful bunch of boys. What you need is to take back your words. Cant be so judgy if you dont know their true self. So wats up with all those powers they have, well its kinda cool that they can even think of all that stuff. Besides all k-pop songs require dancings. i think thats bit uneasy cuz they gotta remember their moves and lyrics at the same time. Well you should see how well they are doing by checking out on the weekl idol show they did. And they have to remember all the moves and when you sing in two different sets, like in Wolf how they have the korean style and chinese style. So give them credit. Look at their Good Parts

  98. K pop is more about style than substance. I think that's so generally, although there are a few bands that consist of seriously talented musicians.

  99. in my definition kpop is about style, looks, different mvs, and the combination of both singing and dancing. i only got to know exo because of such negative comments but people do this because they are from sme that they got more attention from their debut days. i dont know what problem people have with sm artists looks no matter what i really like them and i think instead of judging a band from the mvs u should also listen to their albums. in one word u should regret writing this article.

  100. I hate this song as well. But I feel that MAMA is not a representation of what is wrong with kpop.

    I read your review on XOXO album and what is love review and I really hope you will write about their vocal prowess.

    I got back into kpop recently cause of exo and you were 1 of the kpop related sites when I got out of kpop(I have no idea about all that exo teasers, when tts twinkle came out i thought sm new boygroup have not debut yet).
    I really like your review on shinee and snsd vocal powers.

  101. Very poor review I must say.

  102. I've been listening to kpop for years now and I love the artists back then. However, I am currently an Exo fan as well. I miss Shinhwa, GOD, DBSK, and all that was good back then. Note the BACK THEN. Things do change as time goes by. I believe that kpop is not something without the artists. The artists create the art. The art itself is nothing without an artist. Exo is one of these artists. Yes, I also dislike how generic everything is right now. All the songs practically sound the same and I strongly dislike the autotune. It's like something's missing in the music. However, if this is what the current market considers art, then it's art. Who is to say that it's not art? Who's to say that this is not kpop? At first, I was completely tired of all the teasers and didn't even bother with Exo. I heard Mama once and turned away from Exo. I love DBSK and SHINee, so I expected a lot from this new group. I found myself disappointed. However, I went back later when I heard Growl. I listened to Mama again and found that these boys have talent. They are people who work extremely hard and really, I liked it. Since then, I've been an Exo fan. Also, many songs on their albums aside from their title songs are great. I personally disliked your review, but I'm glad that it sparked all this discussion. Many people constantly bash on Exo when in fact I think that Exo is awesome. At the end of the day, who cares? It's all very subjective. I agree that SM has a big part in Exo being so big, but when you really look into Exo, what's there to hate?

  103. Having watched MAMA 2013 awards, I have to agree with review. Everything in kpop seems manufactured and controlled by managers and producers. There is no real fun or flair in performances.

    Everything is plasticky. Also it seems that because of lack of talent, there has to be up to 12 people on stage at the same time. I think one of the problems is that people in the groups don't dare to challenge the authority of managers and producers. This leads to a situation that any induvidual talent and spirit is lost. Kpop seems to take very few risks and it shows. No risk, no reward!

  104. I will just say I am a fan of dbsk to death and I love exo's growl so much.
    However, I do understand that dbsk have that aura that exo doesn't.
    I guess because their concept is different and kpop must grow and develop to expand their market. One way to do that is to make a group with new concept, more global, everything they can do to capture wider market.
    However, it's business after all..
    Exo themselves, with their new essence in kpop can capture many fans.
    I did not bother with their personality or else, but I do admit they're still newbie and still learn to be good performers.
    I am not an exotic & just like kpop songs whichever I think it's good.
    We'll see what exo can achieve, let them have their own path.
    Because it's not my generation anymore, I will prefer more DBSK and no other band can replace them. But yeah, let exo have their own history, with new concept of kpop..

  105. Don't mad on me if you are exo fans. I just write what I felt.

    first, I'm watching theyre live (I always like to watch the live show first ) and i felt that they lack of something. I dunno what, I just feel that something isn't right. Doesn't mean they are bad singer or something (just don't get me wrong).

    Second, until now I really can't theyre face and name. =_=" they just look same to me (or maybe, i'm to stupid to remember all of them),

    I don't i just feel something isn't right. They lack of something. maybe because they still newbie. Hope they grew more good like DBSK does (or maybe not)

  106. The thing that bugs me about this article is that it's extremely one sided. You say that SM is manufacturing them to be somewhat robotic, yet you don't think about how they chose this life for themselves and I'm sure they're fully aware of the conditions that come with what they're signing up for. Also, the lyrics play a huge part into the music video. Maybe if you looked them up, it would make you better understand the concept of their music video and choreography. It's literally about being careless, heartless and emotionless. They quite possibly explain why the dance was "emotionless" in your opinion? I understand that this was published quite a long time ago. I just wanted to share my opinion as well. XD

  107. You know what? I don't care if you're some popular blogger or whatsoever, but I just wanna say something about this article.....this is BULLS***. I know that you've been going on in this blog for how many years, but may I just say that, you really need to 'look before you leap.' Ever since the beginning of reading this editorial of yours, I cannot believe how you would define EXO. Seriously, 'no substance'. Well, I'll tell you this: why won't you try and be in their place for once!? I cannot believe how you would go on saying things like this but do you know how hard they worked for the single, considering the fact that this was their debut? They had to perfect all their moves and polish up themselves for it and you just gave them a negative review regarding their music video? Gosh, I can't believe I'm wasting my time on a petty blogger such as you. I understand that you even had to learn about them in order to write about them in this article but I think you have lacked in finding resources. No offense, but I'm just defending EXO because I'm an EXOtic.
    (P.S. Baoninam ka!! hahaha if you can understand.....or not.)

  108. I think kpop is really shallow and fake. The songs are all about puppy love and hormone raging teenagers. It's about how sexy the opposite gender is or how cool the singer(s) are. I agree, there is barely any sincerity in it. For example, what does EXO's wolf even mean? in music like Katy Perry's part of me, there is a deep story and lots of realistic things in it. it's really sincere and meaningful.

  109. to me you sound more like a self centered brat than exo members who takes pride in writing worthless blogs..they have worked so hard to be where they are today and what do you mean by just style and no foundation they practise for months before releasing a song..i think mama was a great song ..whether you felt it or not i felt the emotion in the song and it was their first song they are still learning give them some credit..its easy for you to sit behind a computer and sprat nonsense thinking you gave an eye-opening analysis but that just makes you a narrow minded, judgemental selfish brat.

  110. Honestly, two years later and this whole review is still spot on. I heard you got a lot of beef for the "arrogant brats" comment so I guess you already know you're doing something right. This article deserves a round of applause rather than a multitude of angry, poorly-written essays composed by 12-year-olds desperately searching for a valid argument. I guess kpop reviews mostly boil down to opinion, but I think you're spot on. I'll be keeping up with this blog from now on~

    1. You just hate'em
      Cos you ain't them
      and fyi there are some people
      older then you that like EXO
      not just twelve year olds.
      And not everyone's perfect
      and something you're not doing right
      is that you

  111. Although I am a major EXO fan, I applaud you for having the nerve to post this despite the hate from the fans. Putting the fact that I'm a huge fan aside and disregarding the fact that I'm huge fan of Kpop overall, I'd say that your opinion was very well-written and you dissected MAMA very throughly.

    Bringing back the fangirl's wrath, I would have to say that you not only judged a book by it's cover, but you also failed to show the audience that your opinion is an unbiased one (i.e throughout your opinion post, all you did was hate, hate, hate - you showed no love, which makes it seem like you're a close-minded person who isn't willing to change her opinion even if EXO was to come back, or in your case, "reform”, with a better song).

    Based on their debut, you judged their talent, their personalities and their attitudes very, very harshly and that doesn’t reflect badly on EXO, but it reflects badly on you. I mean, as a reader, I enjoyed your post till about the half way mark until I realised that this was just an excuse to hate on a band who’s on their way to achieving immense popularity.

    EXO’s MAMA wasn’t as bad as you described it to be. A lot of bands have debuted throughout the years, and EXO has stood out from a lot of them because the concept that was chosen for them was really, and still is really, unique. I don’t think any other bands have done a concept like this for their debut or even for their comeback and that’s what really matters: they stood out and they captured the attention of many, many people, including you.

    “All style, no substance” - you’re questioning their talent, right? Jesus Christ, woman, did you even listen to MAMA properly? Baekhyun, Kyungsoo, Luhan and Chen’s vocals and notes were always on point …. where were you while the song was playing? Okay, this part of my comment is biased, but I’m not being biased because their talents are baseless. There are vast amounts of videos on Youtube of EXO’s main vocals singing live and their voices are just superb. Don’t even get me started on the dancing. Seriously, their dancing was just as good as any other newly-debuted bands, if not better. And you question their talent? Lol, okay, if you say so. There were a few questionable things about MAMA though: the hair, the English lyrics at the beginning of the song, some of their outfits, but that is all. The concept is nowhere near tacky or overdone because no other band has even tried to attempt a mystical yet punk rock concept. As for the meaning of the song, I really like it, but I’m not going to make a comment on it as we all have different ways of interpreting lyrics.

    And about the intro thing - what’s wrong with having it done in English? Yes, EXO’s main markets are Korea and China, but please tell me, which entertainment company in Korea isn’t trying to appeal to the English-speaking markets? Every entertainment company in Korea is, undoubtedly, trying to jump on the Hallyu wave - it’s a smart move from SM.

    I like that you wrote a piece about the many infallibilities of Kpop, but next time, instead of associating one band, associate many because it would just look like you’re hating on the one band instead of criticising Kpop as a whole.

    Sorry to say, but it is now 2014 (2 years after this piece was posted) and EXO has proved that you are extremely incorrect in regards to their talent, their personalities and their attitudes.

    And to the anonymous who commented: “…. a multitude of angry, poorly-written essays composed by 12-year-olds desperately searching for a valid argument ….”, I am a 19 year old, and I would like to say that, although quite a few of EXO’s fans are crazy and obsessed, there are a few of us who are logical and reasonable and can tell the difference between an opinion and just pure hatred - don’t generalise us just because we’re a fandom. And, also, I make very valid arguments and I can give you evidence where ever/whenever needed.

  112. Although their debut might have not been the best, their future songs show that their music is actually very good and they have improved quite a lot. When they sang Growl, their performance definitely improved greatly and I really enjoyed the song and them music video. Their variety show, EXO Showtime also proved that they are actually all really nice people who enjoy laughing and smiling and kidding around with each other. They also care a lot about each other and the fans. Although I do understand that this was your first impression of them, I hope that their future actions might have been able to change your mind, at least a little bit xD

  113. Hi there Ms/Mrs. Nichole, and everyone, My name is Linda and I'm from Indonesia. after a long while, I've just started to watch Kpop because my children and my little sister showed me youtube clips of weekly Idol and the boy's doing the girl's dance and vice versa, it was hilarious! out of curiosity, for I'm a old fan of asian music, and bottom line music, I've began searching for their MV, and clips, and came across some of them, with EXO among of it, and it just make me go "...???". , and some of the girl's MV are more than sexy, it was down road vulgar, very...very degrading to feminine pride and self-respect movement.
    Of course some of it quite a good such as some of songs and clip by Big Bang, some is
    after reading your blog, and it's response, I must say that that many of the responses are quite OTT, after all you did emphasized that your taking POV of the music part, and some of the performances, because Kpop boy band or girl band is or is not an artist, singer, and performer?
    they are make their living and taking payment from it, that's makes them professional and as a professionals go, they should deliver the goods they have promised, and isn't in every performance arts, first impression are the golden chance to take on the opportunity that would bring them fame or else...well...personally, in this topic that have been taking focus on EXO..even my 6 years old boy asking " Mommy, what are they singing about and what are they doing? i just don't understand", and my 8 years old daughter are roaming back to my collection of HOT, shinhwa, ( for the korean singer ones) along with their aunt. I just don't get it! I've never big about looks, etc...etc..., what I see from a performing singers/artist are 2 thing, their songs and their performance. And I just don't get it.. (again) maybe the generation of fans now have different values that those in my days.
    after I tried to watch some more of K-Pop group song release, I could count under 10 group that their song are making sense, their performances are professional ( limited lip sync -are there any group that does not use lip sync now? wow? have you heard the singer Ice Ice Baby? they got sack for lipsync in live performance....is it acceptable now? Gosh!), I've actually feels sorry for their songs (song of them are quite good in lyrics and melody, aside that sickening voice effects). so I think I would just watch the comedies show featuring them or listen to their CD for now.
    PS : I've just been reading about one of EXO member and Girl's something2 dating, and having a ugly fans retaliation to them. Seeing there is many EXO fans replying this blog, is it true there are some of the EXO fans calling that poor girl a fox? to my understanding that's a very rude insult to woman in Korea. Wow, I know there's many crazy fan for every celebrity Kpop, but telling them that they have been cheating on you because they are dating, and making them celibate just to satisfy your fantasy, and to actually call that love for your Idol, I am honestly afraid for them. Really?!

  114. i respect your opinion, and how u put it nicely, but, what u said about mama, i dont agree with. Mama, the lyrics, have a really good meaning. Its not anything i have really see from sm, lyric wise. But the mv, i c wat u mean.I still loved the mv doe.

  115. It's perfectly fine that you think that MAMA is bound to be perfect, but without any sense of sincerity in it. Exo were just mere rookies in those days. They were aiming for perfection, and how to impress people. Each one of us can't deny that we seek the appearance first before going in deeper, and know a little better. I think that was the thing Exo has targeted- people's first impression. Their "target market" is ALL, and not just those who are very well inclined or interested in Music. As for the emotions, i think they didn't show it well because at the first place, MAMA was like a domination song of cruelty in the society, so maybe, they haven't really experienced that kind of situation. I know some of you will say that I'm defending Exo, well the truth is, I'm really a fan. Sorry guys! :))

  116. sound a lot like the 90s group Bell Biv DeVoe. Others sound like Chris Brown, Gwen Stefani, etc. I wonder if this the artists' choice or the producers'

  117. With all due respect, I have to disagree. I have very recently come to like the band Exo and I think some of their music sounds great. MAMA happens to be the first song I heard by them and I felt the emotions in it. This song HAS power and drama- it is very capable of giving someone goosebumps, in my opinion.

    At the start of this you mentioned that you would like to treat EXO as musicians. However, for that you need to listen. Not look. The music video, the dancing, their appearances... none of it should matter. However, a grad deal of your review focuses on these factors which contradicts yourself. It seems to me that your opinion is very biased. You are looking for flaws that do not exist. For example, you say that they look like 'arrogant, self-centered brats' which is rather harsh for someone who claims to not know them personally. It seems to me that they're just attractive and confident, which could be considered admirable for a band in its early days. In fact, I feel that they are really hard-working and dedicated to their work (taking into account their dancing) which suggests that they have a great attitude towards their music and performance.

    Furthermore, I agree with you on the idea that the beginning of the video has been exaggerated a little, but I do think their 'super-powers' complement the song. Also, I see nothing wrong with adding English lyrics. Yes, EXO are a South Korean/Chinese band but they are not limited to their own language. Even if their target audience is mostly Chinese and Korean, I doubt a couple of English phrases will cause much harm. I understand you don't like it, but apart from your personal preference I do not see anything wrong with going international (if you count adding a few English lines as going international).

    I don't mean to offend you by saying all this, but I really think you are being one-sided. You said, right at the end, that you are 'looking at their music' which I think is the real problem here. You are meant to listen to music. You are not able to feel their sincerity because your negative opinions acts a barrier. And the reason you may not feel sincerity in MAMA is perhaps, as the post above mine suggests, you aren't meant to.

    Once again, I mean no offence with this post. I am just expressing my views.

    1. I agree, and adding on to the going international statement, there's is nothing wrong with having English lyrics in their songs. Yes, they may be branded for the Chinese and Korean market but look at 2NE1 and other popular k-pop groups. They branched out into the U.S. market which can improve their popularity a great deal so the writer of this "review", Nicole Rivera, doesn't have a solid argument.

      Also, maybe you don't like MAMA and that's fine. But what isn't fine is you generalizing "k-pop flaws" on EXO, a rookie at the time. In addition to the reviewers statement of EXO being arrogant and bratty based on how they appeared, that is unfair because I could easily judge you and say you're mean and biased, but that isn't fair to you, now is it?

      This is just my opinion.

  118. wow--you guys are really polite. Respect.

  119. I can't agree more---This one is the best critique I've ever heard!
    I just recently like EXO but I can't feel anything in their songs. I have to watch their MVs so I could get the feeling. Yes, they are great but there's something lack in their songs. Too much sound system here and there up til the point they can't sing it without lipsync. The dance was energetic, but SM always placed Kai Sehun Lay as if the rest couldn't dance at all. The vocal was great too, but SM always placed Baekhyun D.O Chen and Luhan as if the rest couldn't sing at all. They have potential too, why don't try to give the rest a chance?

    For the Teaser and such. I know Kai (even though he is my bias) is the dancing machine and the face of EXO but still---it's quite too much to give him 5 teasers (or more?). Everyone deserves equally.

    Try to watch and hear another K-Pop
    Try to find the difference when you sing it
    Try to hear their songs without imagining their faces

  120. lmao i bet this opinionated and narrow-minded writer feels like a fool now, look at what EXO has managed to become in such a short time and how they've grown not only as people, but as artists


Want to share any of your thoughts on the above post? Drop a comment here! I read all comments and reply occasionally, especially if you have specific questions for me. :D

Note that comments are moderated. Spam, self-advertising (K-Pop-related and otherwise) and overly vulgar submissions will NOT be accepted. If you want me to promote/endorse/follow/link to your site, please e-mail me at popreviewsnow@gmail.com instead.


Recent Tweets

Like Pop Reviews Now on Facebook!

Statistics (Since May 2009)

Music - Top Blogs Philippines Follow on Bloglovin

Blog Archive

You're reading an award-winning blog

The K-Pop Writers' Workshop

A workshop for writers of critical pieces on Korean entertainment -- formal reviews, expository essays/Op-eds, and personal essays/Creative Non-Fiction.
Learn from the best in K-Ent writing