With EXO’s first studio album, the No. 1 World Album LP “XOXO” from June, it may have signaled a new era of boy-band boom.
First single “Wolf,” made waves it wasn’t until the immense success of “Growl” (Billboard’s pick for No. 1 K-Pop Song of the Year) that propelled the 12 members to top-tier status. The slick hip-hop/pop fare exploded immediately upon its release, conquered all major TV music chart programs, award shows and hit No. 3 on the K-Pop Hot 100. Just two years after their debut, EXO is now one of the most in-demand and successful K-pop groups to date with “XOXO” being South Korea’s first million-selling album in 12 years.
After pushing back the release and promotion of their new EP in respect to the Sewol ferry disaster, EXO dropped its massively anticipated five-track set titled “Overdose” (under SM Entertainment) on May 7. The album — initially slated for a April 21 street date — broke another record with presages totaling 658,710 copies. The totals were swelled by two versions released simaltaneously by EXO’s two, six-member sub-groups: A Korean version of the EP, recorded by the EXO-K, made up 372,160 while the Chinese version, recorded by EXO-M (the M standing for Mandarin Chinese), did 286,550.
The title track “Overdose” — a collaboration by American hitmaker extraordinaires the Underdogs (Beyonce, Britney Spears and Girls Generation’s “Mr.Mr”) and Korean songwriter Kenzie (BoA, f(x)) — is a heavy-hitting, urban-pop banger with hard rhythms of hip-hop, R&B hooks and electronic beats. The song uses the feeling of overdosing on a sweet drug as a metaphor to describe a man’s intense addiction to love.
The official music videos — released in both a Korean and Mandarin version — have collectively amassed more than 4.5 million views since its release with the first one million captured within 10 hours. As is typical for SM Entertainment acts (like Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, f(x)), EXO showcase the a highly technical choreography with mind-blowing precision in brightly lit video sets. However, the busy lighting ultimately acts as a distraction and shadows the group’s talent.
Prior to the release, EXO launched a large-scale comeback showcase on April 15 and lived up to its deafening hype as 8,000 diehard fans flooded the venue. During the event, the group ran through a string of songs and sat down to share details about their five new tracks: “Overdose,” “Moonlight,” “Thunder,” “Run,” and “Love, Love, Love.” Listen to a medley from the record below.
To keep the momentum flowing, EXO will restart promotions this week and hold their first solo concert, “FROM EXO #1: The Lost Planet in Seoul” on May 24 and 25. Astoundingly, the concert sold out in 1.47 seconds thanks to swift-acting purchases.
Check back to Billboard.com next Thursday to see how EXO-K and EXO-M fared on the charts with potential bows on the World Albums, YouTube, Heatseekers Albums and the K-Pop Hot 100 charts.