Join the CBX Circus
On March 25, EXO took to twitter to announce that their sub-unit, EXO-CBX, will be making their first official Korean comeback on April 10. EXO-CBX is the group’s first official sub-unit and debuted on October 31 with the single “Hey Mama!” The group’s name EXO-CBX is a shortened form of ChenBaekXi and comes from the combination of the unit members’ names: Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin.
Since their debut, the group has released two mini-albums, one in Korean and the other in Japanese, and several OSTs for popular dramas like Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, Live, and even the animated Running Man.
It’s going to be a busy few months for CBX. Last week, CBX flew to Japan to begin filming their portion of an upcoming EXO television program. The group will then participate in their Korean comeback before flying back to Japan for the release of their first Japanese album, Magic, on May 9. Following their Japanese album release, CBX will then head out on their Magical Circus tour in Japan and hold eight concerts in Yokohama, Fukuoka, Osaka, and Nagoya from May to June.
Need a quick way to get up to date with EXO’s cheesy, retro-inspired sub-unit in time for their comebacks? Let’s get started!
The Debut: “Hey Mama!”
During EXO’s third concert tour The Exo’rdium, Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin appeared in a segment called “Reservoir Idols.” The video was outrageously silly and featured the members trying to act like bad boys as they pestered their poor leader Suho in different, hilarious ways. In the video’s background played a previously unknown song that ended in the three performing choreography along to the tune, which got fans suspecting that a Chen, Xiumin, and Baekhyun sub-unit was quickly approaching.
CBX’s unit was confirmed in October of that year with their debut single “Hey Mama!” It’s a funky, retro pop song that is all about turning a boring night into a fun one. The song’s message is most noticeably seen in its music video, where the members appear in boring, stressful situations to make the mood lighter. The video has the members hijack a 1970s-inspired news broadcast to begin dancing, throwing around colorful chalk, and cheekily singing lyrics into the camera. Shots of the members looking bored in their stuffy office jobs are also juxtaposed with exciting choreography and drinks between members in a club. As the song says: “everyday is a party day!”
The rest of the album sounds allowed CBX to carve out their own niche of retro songs that aren’t typically found in EXO’s repertoire, including the disco “Rhythm After Summer” and the R&B ballad “Juliet.” The video seen in Exo’rdium was also later released online as a special video for EXO-CBX’s song “The One.” If fans haven’t seen it yet, keep an eye out for a familiar, feminine face toward the end of the video—no spoilers!
Japanese Debut: “Ka-CHING!”
In May 2017, CBX made their Japanese debut with the single “Ka-CHING!” It was an interesting choice; lyrically, the song deals with the idea of money and how it can divide people based on how much they have. It’s surrounded musically by a large brass band, electronic backbeat, and sirens. Weirdly enough, it works well together in an explosive chorus that is hard to stop singing along to after first listen.
The most noticeable thing about the music video is its clown concept, something that likely contributed to the theme of CBX’s upcoming tour. Given that it is a Japanese single, the music video shared is a shortened form of the official video, and features the members dancing alongside elephants under a circus big top and also in a casino.
Interestingly enough, “Ka-CHING!” and its theme of the importance of money are very different from the theme of the rest of the album, which is focused on a more mature, male perspective on love. The album features some fantastic tracks that all hold their own merit; “Girl Problems” is a standout that perfectly encapsulates CBX’s flirtatious charm and “Diamond Crystal” puts the members’ vocals in the forefront of a gorgeous, heartbreaking ballad. If “Ka-CHING!” wasn’t flashy enough to catch a listener’s attention, then the rest of the songs on GIRLS will easily convert them into a fan of CBX’s catchy, bubbly, and exciting sound.