EXO’s 5th full-length album and undoubtedly their most anticipated album yet, Don’t Mess Up My Tempo was finally released today to an enormous response from fans around the world!
The album comes after a never-ending 1 year and 3 month long wait since the group’s last full album, The War, and has already reached a tremendous 1.1 million pre-orders–while 1st day sales reached 400,000 copies sold within just a few hours, a new all-time record. US Billboard called it “astronomical in the era of streaming.” Within two days it reached almost 600,000 sales.
The album is also #1 on iTunes worldwide albums charts, #1 on China’s Xiami Music (200K+ digital sales), #1 on Korea’s Melon music since its release with over 500,000 unique listeners, and debuted at #1 on iTunes charts in 46 different countries.
EXO is made up of nine “superpower-wielding” members: Suho (water), Baekhyun (light), D.O. (strength), Xiumin (ice), Sehun (wind), Lay (healing), Kai (teleportation), Chen (thunder), and Chanyeol (fire).
They debuted only six years ago, but are already referred to as one of the most successful K-pop groups of all-time and one of the biggest boy bands in the entire world.
With the unprecedented pre-order numbers in, it is expected that EXO will become quintuple million sellers with this album–meaning all five full albums that the group has released since debut have all surpassed 1 million physical copies sold. Also with this album, it is expected that the group will surpass the 10 million mark for total physical albums sold–which will make them the best-selling group in South Korea of all time!
“We are able to constantly set records because of EXO-L,” Baekhyun said during a press conference for the album on Thursday, “I think EXO-L have made setting new records as a hobby. As much as we work hard, I want to say EXO-L are truly amazing.”
With this being the first comeback with all nine members since 2016, and probably the last album before the members start enlisting in the Korean military in 2019, it makes it that much more precious to fans who have waited so long for this, and for fans who are experiencing their first ever EXO comeback.
“It was indeed worth waiting for. My First ever EXO comeback is OT9. I am genuinely happy. Thank you so much for coming into my life and making me this happy. Everything was worth it. I love you so much my kings,” said Twitter user @hoe4osh.
Fans are elated about Chinese member Lay reuniting with the group for the first time since 2016’s For Life mini winter album. Lay is extremely busy as a solo artist in China, but was also caught between the tense politics of China and South Korea as someone who’s a popular figure and artist in both countries.
But things are looking better as Lay will be featured in the music video as well as the Chinese version of “Tempo”!
The singer also just released his 3rd solo album only two weeks ago titled NAMANANA which debuted at No. 21 on the Billboard 200–a first for a Chinese artist and for the growing M-pop (Mando-pop) industry.
This album marks EXO’s first comeback of 2018 as the members have been extremely busy with their world tour, acting in popular dramas, musicals, and movies, releasing solo music, promoting in Dubai, and performing at the Olympics Closing Ceremony.
“It has been a long time since we have had a comeback because we were in the process of creating good music and content to be put out for you all,” Suho told fans on Thursday.
The album’s lead single “Tempo” features a motorbike-filled music video with a sexy-tough biker concept, as well as an innovative a Capella break down at the end that shocked fans and non-fans alike.
“Tempo is absolute madness. It manages to switch genre as much as “I Got A Boy” did but somehow manages to hide all the seams, which to me is some David Blaine-level magic. And that video…” said Joshua Calixto on Twitter.
Not only this track but the entire album masterfully blends several different music genres together seamlessly–pop, hip-hop, electronic, R&B, ballad, funk, reggae, a Capella, everything, and in a way that only EXO can pull off.
“EXO really changed the game and brought in a Capella in the middle of a funky hip hop dance genre on their title track. Not once has a title track in K-pop been THIS daring. Not only did EXO merge completely different genres into one but they made it sound so cohesive,” said Twitter user @teammaknaes.
The album blatantly shows off the members impressive vocals and harmonies from beginning to end as well. But also Chanyeol and Sehun’s refined rap skills like in the more hip-hop leaning tracks “Tempo,” “Sign,” and “Damage.”
A team of amazing producers also worked on the album. Marz Music who’s behind EXO tracks like “Going Crazy” and “They Never Know,” LDN NOISE who produced EXO hits like “Monster,” “Power,” and “Lucky One,” as well as The Underdogs, Kenzie, and songwriting star Bazzi all participated in the production of the album.
EXO member Chanyeol also participated in writing lyrics for the tracks “With You” and “Gravity.”
“For Gravity, when I participated in writing the lyrics I thought a lot about how to express Kyungsoo’s superpower [strength],” Chanyeol said, “I worked with the same songwriting team that I worked with several times, I think because of that I was able to work comfortably.”
When talking about writing the track “With You,” Chanyeol said, “I wrote the lyrics with the image of being with the people that I love, I thought a lot about the fans and also the times I’ve spent with the members.”
“Sign” is a gritty sounding but epic track at the very beginning of the album that makes you feel like you’re racing on a motorbike. “Ooh la la la” is a chill reggae track produced by American songwriter Bazzi, who also wrote the relaxing anthem ending the album “Oasis.”
The track “24/7” is a slow and sensual R&B song with a sexy chorus that fans will be obsessed with. The track “Bad Dream” brings the electric EDM vibe to the album. “Gravity” is a funky-groovy track that will have you dancing like it’s the 1970’s. And with the intense track “Damage” we get Sehun’s legendary “E-X-O.”
Every song on the album correlates to each of the members’ superpower concepts. The sweet and slow track “Smile on My Face” goes with Lay’s healing power. Suho said, “It has the underlying message of ‘to not be sad when we part.’ We sang it while thinking of EXO-L.”
During their Twitter live stream, besides being extra hyper and excited, EXO also announced that they will be doing a group reality show. After the EXO-CBX sub-unit did their reality show earlier this year, the members wanted to do one with all of them. So expect more news to come of that soon!
“There is no one who is going to get in EXO or EXO-Ls’ way or bother us this year,” Xiumin told fans, “We will protect you.”
Translations courtesy of Twitter users @byunificial, @baeksrapture, @trulybbh, @LoeyBerryTrans, and @_b_bh0506.