EXO’s ‘Call Me Baby’ Song Review

Despite losing two members and various controversies, EXO is still one of the most popular K-pop boy groups, at least until Big Bang makes its eventual return. Thanks to its immense popularity, just about whatever EXO releases is bound in some way to be quite successful. With this sort of safety net and the fact that they are an SM Entertainment act, a company known to be innovative, I still expect them to go a relatively safe route. This is probably because their safest song, Growl was also their most successful and because SM need some stability during this turbulent time.

Call Me Daddy, sorry, Call Me Baby therefore was surprising to me in its understated yet strangely structured whole. It is in short, a new version of Growl with a few added bells and whistles upon first glance. Yet further inspection offers some more unique aspects to the song.

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Call Me Baby jettisons the genre and crazy structure bending of EXO’s previous songs like MAMA and Wolf, and keeps the simple instrumentation of Growl with a slightly updated song structure. This seems quite fitting given this comeback has been seen as a kind of rebirth for EXO after Luhan and Kris’ departure. The newest title song holds onto EXO’s most successful elements and lets go of now irrelevant parts.

The most notable element from before is the RnB beats that carries the song; it is instantly recognisable and fun to any listener. The horn riff that follows it is equally satisfying and recalls the earlier work of Justin Timberlake. The horns accompanied with the strings, which come in later, are the extent of the aforementioned bells and whistles. Instrumentally and musically, Call Me Baby has little else to offer listeners looking for a new style of music from EXO.

Luckily for EXO and its fans, Call Me Baby is also the group’s most interesting single vocally. As a K-pop fan I can’t really complain that there aren’t enough techniques used in songs, as K-pop is a very diverse genre of music.

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But if I were to ask K-pop acts to focus on certain elements of vocalization, it would be harmonies or vocal rounds. While Call Me Baby doesn’t exactly use these, the song highlights the members vocal talents and matches them to their respective strengths. The song also has varied vocals all at the same time as melding the members vocals together in new ways, ranging from the falsetto chorus “call me baby” to contrasting raps with screams. It adds a great deal of interest to a song that at first listen could have been left alone and seems like a very simplistic choice to be a group’s comeback song.

The chorus, if you can call it that, also takes on a slightly more complex form. Depending on how you see it the chorus either kicks in very early or has a long pre-chorus which contains the “call me baby” parts. It all makes for an interesting structure as there is no discernible chorus or hook whatever way you look at it. This again provides a slightly more challenging listen than first anticipated, something which SM Entertainment specialises in (see all of the songs from f(x)’s Pink Tape).

Call Me Baby has a number of things that warrant more than one listen but does that make it a great song?


Call Me Baby has the elements of a great, traditional SM song and a great weird SM song but comes out on the other end not really shining with either. It exists in a kind of dull middle-ground with nothing but a few interesting features to prop it up. It doesn’t play with the form enough to make a comment on pop music and doesn’t have a good enough hook to be an ear worm. Lyrically it has nothing to offer either, just another guy pining for a girl. That being said I really like the vocal contrasting and some other stuff so it’s not the worst EXO single. But it doesn’t really seem like a title track either.

What’s your opinion of Call Me Baby? Leave your thoughts on the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Let’s Discuss: EXO Luhan & Departure Rumors

This isn’t the first time that it’s being said, but 2014 was not the best year for SM Entertainment. Kris leaving EXO, Sulli going on hiatus from f(x), and Jessica’s removal from Girls’ Generation are not exactly signs of a stellar company. And now there are rumors, mostly among international fans, that EXO’s Luhan will be leaving the group due to poor health, which isn’t good. Not that Luhan shouldn’t take care of his health, but the rumors themselves, and if they were to come true, are not good.

Why Are The Rumors Bad?

It shows panic among SM Entertainment’s audience. Other SM Entertainment idols have been sick in the past and have taken extended leave. SHINee’s Onew only recently rejoined activities after surgery, but there weren’t wide-spread rumors about him leaving the group. However, following the news that Girls’ Generation, one of the most seemingly-stable groups in K-Pop, is removing a member, SM Entertainment fans show that they no longer know what is what at the company.If fans cannot show full support for SM Entertainment, it is likely that SM will act even more recklessly than it has recently.

Following a downward spiral of f(x)’s Red Light promotions being overshadowed by Sulli’s dating and hiatus scandal, SM announced a new girl group, Red Velvet. Unlike the highly hyped debut of EXO, Red Velvet released its first song with little prior-fanfare, and a relatively sloppy, problem-plagued debut.

In regards to Girls’ Generation’s disaster, SM is continuing as usual with TaeTiSeo and individual promotions. But everything that the Girls’ do and every word they say is under strict scrutiny, and the company is likely to announce a comeback of one of its other groups to try and get attention off of the remaining eight Girls’ Generation members.

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SM Entertainment is often perceived to be the “worst” company of “the Big 3” Korean entertainment companies (SM, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment), due to its history with contract scandals and idols leaving the company. The company needs intense PR, but sudden member losses has become almost expected; EXO fans are practically counting down the days until another member announces that he is leaving, and Luhan appears the likely choice, due to his health issues.

The rumors are bad because it shows a complete lack of faith by fans in SM to manage its artists. SM fans need to support not only their favorite artists but the company, because the Korean entertainment industry is currently a company-dominated one. But right now, SM is in crisis mode and lack of support is making the company struggle anymore.

What oh nonon Luhan

via baekhyunniesbeagle

What If Luhan Actually Leaves?

If Luhan leaving EXO becomes reality, not just a rumor, SM Entertainment will find itself in serious trouble. Luhan is one of EXO’s three remaining Chinese members, and by far the most popular one. Luhan is so popular that he earned a Guinness Award for on Weibo- over 13 million comments on his account, double the amount of the next runner up. If Luhan’s health issues require that he, unfortunately, leaves the group, it would mean that SM’s EXO experiment has failed.

EXO has already failed in some ways, when the group became EXO rather than EXO-K and EXO-M. Fans wanted all twelve members together, but it meant that the split marketing campaigns were a failure, and fans wanted one, traditional K-Pop act.

Luhan’s absence would mean that only two Chinese members of EXO remain, Lay and Tao. Both, as all members of EXO, are immensely popular, but former member Kris and Luhan have definitely been the two most popular members of the EXO-M contingency. If Luhan leaves, EXO’s Chinese fanbase will reel and accusations of unfairness towards Chinese members will fly.

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Remember, initial reports of Kris’ withdrawal blamed his health. Luhan’s poor health condition has already been acknowledged by SM Entertainment, so the rumors are understandable. Hopefully, they will just be rumors and Luhan will get the rest that he needs.

via allaroundasia

EXO needs no more problems, and SM Entertainment needs no more headaches. Hopefully these rumors will be pointless, but if Luhan, or any Chinese member leaves, EXO is in trouble.

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[Picture credit to SMTOWN]