Debuts · k-pop · reviews

HOT SOLO DEBUT: EXO’s Xiumin Introduces Us To Something Brand New

Xiumin is finally here with his solo debut with his first mini album Brand New and title song of the same name.

While I’d absolutely kill for an EXO comeback I am absolutely hyped for every single one of these solo debuts and comebacks we are getting from one o my favorite groups and people in the world. I was so happy to hear Xiumin would be up next lending his voice to his very own solo album as I think he is pretty underrated and people should know he is great more as he is part of CBX after all! So him getting his solo debut is more than welcomed by me as Minseok is such a great vocalist and from its teasers it sounded like we were in for a real treat. Let’s review.

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Okay, so Brand New’s first few seconds had me surprised because I did not expect this hard hitting hip hop sample to come to us right off the bat. I was a bit thrown off. Turns out this little “put your hands up” chant is the post chorus of the song and it is also rather catchy after a couple of listens. This part does break the song apart a bit but with the combination of Minseok’s vocals it makes this song very SM sounding and it smooths it out. EXO makes anything work and this makes the song unique. Brand New has a lot of groove and I am so glad Xiumin decided to go with an upbeat song as a debut because it really suits his image and aura a lot! The song becomes catchier to me with every listen and I actually like the structure of it. The music video is gorgeous as well. This solo debut is a total success in my book.

The mini album is full of gems to be honest. From the title song Brand New to ballads we get everything and it all works. My favorite song from the album has to be Feedback by a mile. I love the atmosphere of the song how it is a bit more alluring and still groovy and so much focus is put on Minseok’s vocals. I swear this is an EXO song I hear Chanyeol in there somewhere. However, the album closer Serenity is also a banger in my book. This solo debut is a total success!

Ah, this was a solo release I was really looking forward to! Xiumin is a great yet underrated performer and vocalist and this seemed like such a cute and fun concept – what is there not to love? Xiumin has one of the loveliest, gentle voices that really suit laid-back pop songs and I’m so glad that is the direction he went in for this album. Brand New promised a lot from its highlights and teasers and I’m so happy to say that Xiumin most definitely did not disappoint and actually provided us with such a nice jam. Let’s review and have some fun. I am back from vacation and devastated, I needed something fun.

Brand New has this late 90s feeling to it that I really enjoy. The song does start of with the unexpected verse (which I’m sure is a sample but I cannot recognize of what song) but then immediately goes into the main melody of the song. I love this style for Xiumin and Brand New is honestly such a great track overall. Not only is the entire song very retro sounding but it also manages to put me in a good mood and keep my attention until the very end. I love the soothing, gentle energy and the almost dreamy atmosphere Brand New creates and Xiumin definitely sells the hell out of this song to me. I also rather enjoy the hip hop sample used and I think it gives the song a bit more spice and some unique energy to keep you going. The performance is also quite enjoyable with a fun choreography and Xiumin’s vocals performance is superb. Brand New most definitely met and exceeded my expectations – it has a great melody, a truly cute music video and most importantly you can tell this is a style Xiumin really enjoys pursuing making the song even more enjoyable.

The album is really enjoyable with Brand New being the strongest track on it. A b-side I was really looking forward to is Serenity which he already performed before during SMTOWN Live and the studio version is just what I needed right now. He sounds amazing and I love the EXO sounding instrumental and the overall atmosphere of the song. I think the style of this entire album really suits Xiumin and it doesn’t even stray away that much from the EXO sound too making it the perfect combination.

Super enjoyable release for me!

Header Image Source: SM Entertainment

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