It’s officially been four days since EXO’s Baekhyun dropped his track “Get You Alone” off of his upcoming Japanese EP. With the recent, hard-to-miss EXO formula of “drop a single, announce enlistment” that our of-age EXO members have been following, it seemed unavoidable: any day now, I’d wake up in a cold sweat to the news that Baekhyun was ready to shave his head and bounce.
Fortunately, four days have passed without incident, and I think I’ve been able to stop holding my breath long enough to really take a moment to appreciate his recently released track… now that it doesn’t feel like he’s saying “see ya later.”
As I began seeing teasers for Get You Alone cropping up on YouTube, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When Baekhyun departs from EXO, he does so in style–multiple styles, in fact, to the point of unpredictability. Though many listeners tend to strictly categorize Baekhyun’s solo works as R&B and rightly so, I think it’s important to view his work through the lens of pop. Its importance lies in the way his tunes test the membrane of what pop is supposed to be, technically speaking, while still fitting the famous formula that makes the genre what it is.
Where Baekhyun excels is his ability to consistently push the boundaries of what pop really can be.
Tiptoeing Outside of Boundaries
Since the release of UN Village in 2019, we were able to see Baekhyun’s soulful side from the jump. In his velvety voice is a unique quality that sometimes gets lost with the other talent and personalities beside him in EXO. While the timbre of his voice and his ability to croon those towering high notes can certainly make him stand out in a group setting, his diverse musical style as a solo artist is what really makes his style pop.
Baekhyun easily jumps from vibe to vibe with each release. From the groovy flow of UN Village to the alluring temptation of Stay Up; from his R&B-heavy Bungee to his moody collaboration with Loco for Young; to his sweet and sticky Candy to City Lights’ foreboding bonus track, Psycho, Byun Baekhyun has shown that there’s no mood he cannot achieve.
A Study in Sophisti-Pop
Not only did Baekhyun once again give us the ol’ switcheroo with this new single in terms of genre, he also changed things up with the language. Get You Alone marks the era of his very first Japanese extended play and what I anticipate will be his continued endeavor into experimental pop within the kpop-sphere.
The song begins with synths providing a rather funky bass line that carries the rest of the track through to completion. The distinct air of bell bottom body suits and v-neck tops that the bass provides cannot be denied. It puts Baekhyun on that disco wave that so many other kpop groups and artists have been riding for the last few months–including fellow EXO members Oh Sehun and Park Chanyeol with the funky EXO-SC single, 1 Billion Views.
Still, I find it hard to hold Get You Alone in perfect comparison against any of the other trendy, bass-heavy, disco-adjacent singles being released by other artists these days.
“Why,” I hope you’re asking, so I can continue to gush? Because it is still distinctly of-EXO. The soulfulness of the song is deep within its foundation, making it sound organic.
It only takes one listen of Get You Alone to pick up vibes from EXO-CBX’s Hey Mama! and make the connection. You’ll hear it in the beat, the aforementioned bass, and even the overall mood and melody of the track. Trace it right back to 1 Billion Views if you’d like. All of them make me want to throw on my best bell-sleeve top, chill in the back of a club at a dirty table with questionable substances on it until there’s enough room under the disco ball for me. Make of that what you will.
No matter how far Baekhyun pushes the limits of pop music, he never wavers, producing track after unique track with solid foundations, catchy melodies and an atmosphere that is unique to each one. This single is yet another testament to that. The production is excellent. The texture is perfect. While it’s not my favorite piece of work Baekhyun has ever released, Get You Alone definitely has earned its mark as the lead-in to what I anticipate will be a musically-rich extended-play.
Baekhyun’s first Japanese EP is set to be released on January 20, 2021.