Baekhyun's 'City Lights' album review: the EXO singer's solo EP hits all the right notes

Baekhyun may be best known for singing in K-pop superstar band EXO, but the singer and part-time actor is the third member of the group to venture out with a solo offering

Chris Gillett |

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Baekhyun may be best known for singing in K-pop superstar band EXO, but the singer and part-time actor is the third member of the group to venture out with a solo offering. City Lights is the first mini-album from the 27-year-old starlet, which sees him take a mellower approach compared to the energetic songs often associated with his band.

Baekhyun’s sweet vocals glide smoothly throughout the blues-tinged groove of opener UN Village, while the lyrics are full of romantic, moonlit imagery.

The rest of the record is similarly understated. Tracks like Betcha or the electropop Diamond feel incredibly laid-back, as the singer delivers velvety chorus hooks again and again over straightforward R’n’B rhythms.

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Ice Queen is even more relaxed, and Baekhyun’s knack for accessible melodies is at its peak. He could win over even the coldest heart with the elevating refrain, “In your heart that seems to burst/Burn away, yeah, yeah, yeah”.

The murkier tone of bonus track Psycho doesn’t fit well with the rest of the record, but it’s still worthy of making the cut, with pulsing subs, marching electro drums, and more serious vocal layers to boot.

It’s been four years since Baekhyun’s first solo track. This mini-album has been a long time coming, but it showcases his talents with a simple set of pop and tracks that allow his voice to shine bright.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge