Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

EXO – Don’t Fight the Feeling

Returning minus a few enlisted members…


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Juana Giaimo: “Don’t Fight the Feeling” is supposed to be a special release to cheer up fans while EXO members are away doing the military enlistment. If we take that into account, I think this song is a success. The first time I listened to it, I felt it wasn’t very risky and I really missed Chen and Suho’s more melodic and deeper tones. (Also, Chanyeol is singing more here and you can realize he is mainly a rapper rather than a singer.) But after some listens I actually stopped fighting the feeling (sorry, I know, that was a silly pun) and started moving along to it and discovered that there’s so much going on in the background! That bass seems to burst out of the speakers and I love how it’s full of backing vocals and harmonies throughout the song, acting almost like another instrument. And at the end, well, Baekhyun simply shows off his high notes and honestly I don’t mind a bit.
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Anna Katrina Lockwood: EXO have been prone to primarily releasing belabored sexy dirges the last couple years, which haven’t been exactly bracingly entertaining. “Don’t Fight The Feeling,” however, is fun as hell, zippy, energetic, and as upbeat as any EXO comeback since “Tempo” at least. Sure, there is an air of… cast-off-ness, not only to this comeback but the EXO project as a whole at this point, but that doesn’t entirely dampen the high spirits here. Kai in particular seems to be having a whale of a time, as is Xiumin in his first post-enlistment comeback. Pretty nice to see EXO-M’s CGI’d-in Lay also, joining us presumably from the Chinese speaking region of the Kwangya. There’s not a whole lot to this one — a chipper piano part, a minimal bass ‘n’ voice verse for DO to absolutely flex his vocals on, some Kenzie flourishes — it’s simply a standard SM boy group summer jam and you know what, that’s just fine with me. 
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Crystal Leww: “Don’t Fight the Feeling” is perfectly lovely when it is just zooming along but there is something so sexless about this — EXO is immediately missing the presence of Baekhyun. That, coupled with the fact that the chorus is just a little too close to the Trolls 2 theme song, makes this a disappointing turn from K-pop’s biggest sluts. Also, I cannot believe that EXO has to talk about the KWANGYA, too. Does everyone at SM work for aespa now? 
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Alfred Soto: Regard “Don’t Fight the Feeling” as a hopped-up repurposing of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” and it makes even more sense. 
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Edward Okulicz: Chorus from Justin, just a little bit woozier, pre-chorus might be a little “Rock With You,” drops from every song of the last 10 years. The transitions from the soft bits to the pounding chorus are almost too slick to believe; this is precision-engineered to please in every way possible, and does. With that said, it is curiously lacking in any actual personality, which is not something I expect from an EXO single.
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Thomas Inskeep: Very early ’10s turbo-pop going in about five directions. It doesn’t sound fresh, but it does sound shiny, and the boys of EXO sound great. But there’s just too much going on here.
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Michael Hong: Each time EXO tries to cut the momentum, be it on one of two trap breakdowns or the bridge, “Don’t Fight the Feeling” comes back stronger and brighter, the pause like a pit stop rather than a blockade.
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Nortey Dowuona: Solid faux Chance the Rapper/Lido style pop. The boys all sound cool and like they can hit notes. The rap verse includes a Juice reference, the pre-chorus has a fantastic synth chord progression. Bridge is wet and warm bass. Ticks all the boxes for a song… doesn’t feel like one, tho.
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Mark Sinker: As an asthmatic, all this densely performed breathlessness makes me very anxious. 
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3 Responses to “EXO – Don’t Fight the Feeling”

  1. crystal is right that exo is kpop’s sluttiest group (sorry to that one boy group produced by jaden jeong) but kpop’s sluttiest act has to be wonho, no??

  2. The fact that SM didn’t make Taeyeon and Shinee mention KWANGYA shows how much they respect them

  3. yes, the kpop sluts club president is definitely wonho (lol look at his ig)…i’ll make a list at some point prob lol

    and i don’t think that sm could force taeyeon to talk about the kwangya even if they tried. key seems to like the lil aespa girlies though – they might be able to get that one but please do NOT encourage them lol

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