Less than two months ago on Kim Chanryul’s Old School Radio, EXO’s Chen mentioned that he had been a fan of the indie duo 10cm, now just single member Kwon Jungyeol, since their debut when he was in high school. He mentioned he wanted to collaborate with him on an acoustic song to experiment within the genre.
That dream came true through “Bye Baby,” a funky, folk-inspired acoustic pop song that, despite being mid-tempo and cheery in sound, is actually about a man who keeps going back and forth on whether or not to end the relationship he’s in. His indecisiveness stretches to the point where he’s almost pleading for his partner to break up with him instead, with the lyrics going “Bye bye bye babe. Even if you say this, no one will think you’re a bad person. Bye bye bye babe. If I say that and coldly turn around, I would look like the bad guy.” In the end though, it’s bye, bye, baby.
The music video for the song is a simple, sweet, and aesthetically pleasing live performance of the track, very much in the same vein as fellow EXO member Baekhyun and miss A’s Suzy’s SM Station collaboration single “Dream.” The song very much feels like it could be overheard at a coffee shop, and the video completes that by being laid-back and without dramatics. With a full band behind them, the two artists boast their impressive vocals and beautifully harmonize together as they slowly groove to the irresistibly catchy chorus. At the end, the two even share a happy little fist bump.
Up until its release date, SM Station posted short behind-the-scenes clips of the creation of the song, which was co-produced by Jungyeol and written by both artists. The clips range from their first meeting, where Chen confesses his love for Jungyeol’s songs, to the age difference between the two (Jungyeol is 34, Chen is 25), and finally to writing lyrics together in the studio. The videos were a great way not only to attract attention to the song, but it was also fun to watch the charming and heartwarming interaction between Chen and his idol.
This isn’t Chen’s first writing credit; he has penned several EXO songs, including “Promise,” “She’s Dreaming,” and “Touch It.” He has also been dabbling in various solo activities. From the powerful Korean version of Alesso’s classic EDM track “Years,” to the cutesy R&B-infused “Lil Something” alongside HEIZE and the soul-destroying ballad “I’m Not Okay” for the drama Missing Nine, the wide variety of genres Chen can sing effortlessly truly shows how talented he is as it spotlights his impressive vocal range. “Nosedive,” his track with hip-hop group Dynamic Duo, is even nominated for an Mnet Asian Music Award for Best Collaboration this year.
With so many standout achievements, the next logical step in Chen’s career is a solo album, though that may be way off in the future given his current schedule as both a member of EXO and its sub-unit, EXO-CBX. For now, fans of Chen’s gorgeous voice can rejoice listening to “Bye Baby” and ponder which genre he’ll dominate next.