Mark Twain once said that there are only two certainties in life, death and taxes. I’d like to add EXO’s Christmas ballad to that list. Every year since 2013 they have released a ballad at Christmas. Some have been sweet and romantic, some have been sad and touching, but all are becoming part of Christmas for me in a way that I wasn’t anticipating, until I saw that there was going to be another Christmas release this year. I was hopeful that it was going to be another slow, melodic ballad, and I was right. There is a Korean and Chinese version. I will be using the Korean version for this, as I am more familiar with the language.

For Life

Song

I always find that the more members a group has, the more the production team and songwriters need to be mindful that everyone gets a chance to sing. Of course, not every member is going to suit every part, and sometimes, a song part just fits someone better. However, sometimes I see groups where super talented members are often overlooked by composers over-reliance on the main vocal, or main rapper (BTS’ Jin, I am here for you, sweetheart!).This problem becomes more and more evident the more people are involved in a group, and unfortunately, that’s what’s happening here. Not to take away from the absolutely stunning job that the guys did, and they did a flawless job (vocals on POINT!). I would love to hear more from Sehun, or Lay, or Chen, in this song.

The vocals in this are the high point, and as with any EXO song, they kill it. The song sounds honest and a little emotional. With the tone of the song, you might expect the lyrics to be sad and mournful, but they aren’t. They are joyous and a little cheesy, but I think that plays to the honesty of the song. They are saying they love this girl so much that she has forever changed them. “A silence that was forever changed by the song of you” and that they want to listen to it forever, is a wonderfully romantic image. Who doesn’t want that grand, sweeping, fairy tale love?

Video

Oh man.


What a shitstorm this MV has caused online. Amongst the EXO-Ls (the EXO fandom), that is. They accuse SM Entertainment of splitting the views on the MV because of the 2 versions. They are “not supporting” this comeback because not all members are in the MV. There are accusations over who is a “true” EXO-L and who isn’t. It’s just a mess.

Which is a pity, as this is a decent MV, objectively.

Firstly, the three members of EXO that are in the MV look freaking fantastic. The styling is simple and classy, and goes a long way to complimenting the tone of the song.

I don’t think the MV  matches the tone of the song very well, though. The video seems to portray a cyclical relationship between 3 members of EXO and a woman, whom they all seem to have a love for. They seem to confess, only for her to leave them and move to the next member, but she knows she has made a mistake, and tries to rectify it, to no avail.

The imagery is almost dreamlike in parts, especially Suho’s part in the forest and the actress’ bedroom scene. The lighting is softly focused, and plays into the dream imagery perfectly. The subtle flickering city skyline on the windows behind her as she startles awake are hints that perhaps not everything is as it seems and she runs backwards through the “dream”. Eventually we come across our opening scene again, and the circle is complete.

 

Simple MV. Simple concept. Beautifully done.

I have to admit, I didn’t fall in love with this song straight away. I listened once for curiosity and went back to whatever else I was doing that day. But I started to feel guilty. EXO is not a group that I normally listen to. A couple of their songs have made their way to my playlist, and a friend of mine really likes them, so I thought I should give this song a far listen. And I’m glad I did. Great addition to their ballad collection.