Annyeong! For this Bands for Noobs, I’ll be doing a follow-up of my previous blog post EXO-K for Noobs and will now be posting EXO-M for Noobs. Since the band was originally 12 members split respectively into two sub-groups that release in South Korea and China, I figured it would be fair and more efficient to split it up into two different blog posts.
EXO-M’s debut was simultaneous towards EXO-K’s debut. Both of the sub-groups also released singles History and What is Love before releasing their debut song and music video, Mama. EXO-M not only releases singles in Mandarin, but they release the same album as EXO-K with the only difference being the language.
With EXO’s first full length album ‘XOXO’, EXO-K released their Korean ‘Kiss’ edition, and EXO-M, their Chinese ‘Hug’ edition. For their title song Wolf, and later the repackaged title Growl, EXO-K and EXO-M worked together to form EXO. Two versions (a Korean and a Mandarin) were both released, but all twelve of the original EXO members had a part in each of the songs. The rest of the album, however, remained strictly EXO-K and EXO-M. Since then, EXO-K and EXO-M have performed their title tracks together and then their album tracks as the sub-unit, which lead to joint promotions. You can see all of EXO on Korean variety shows such as Weekly Idol and on Chinese variety shows such as Happy Camp.
In 2014, following EXO’s comeback release, Overdose, EXO-M member Kris left the band and filed a lawsuit against SMTOWN. The former member claimed that they (EXO) had been forced to work slave contracts and that their had been discrimination against the members. EXO continued their promotions with Overdose without Kris.
Later that same year, EXO-M member Luhan left the band and filed a lawsuit against SMTOWN, claiming once again, that they have been forced to work slave contracts and that there had been discrimination against members. Following their 2015 Call Me Baby release, EXO-M member Tao suffered an injury and was unable to participate in all of the promotions. It was widely publicized that Tao’s father wished for his son to return to China, and after months of back-and-forth between media companies and SMTOWN, Tao left the band as well and filed a lawsuit against SMTOWN, supporting his former member’s claims that they had been forced to work slave contracts and that their had been discrimination against members.
As of currently, negotiations have failed between SMTOWN and all three of the former members. SMTOWN claims that their contracts are still void, so their Chinese promotions are not allowed. Despite this, all three of the members have released solo tracks under the name’s Luhan, Z.Tao, and Kris Wu.
Zhang Yixing (Lay)
- Healing Unicorn
Lay is known as EXO’s healing unicorn, most likely because of his ‘super power’ concept in their 2012 Mama debut. He is the one remaining Chinese member of EXO-M, and despite facing much discrimination and hate from Korean (and even some international) fans, continues to promote with and support EXO. He is known to be a talented dancer, and fans mostly recognize him because of his infamous dimples. He is often seen as EXO-M’s ‘clueless’ member. See why here.
Xiumin is the oldest member not only in EXO-M, but in EXO as a whole. He is Korean, but promotes with EXO-M. He is said to be the only member in EXO with monolids and members have called him ‘baozi’ because of his round face.
Chen is known for his incredible voice as well as his high notes. Fans especially notice his prominent cheekbones and defined jaw line. Here is an example of Chen’s talent. (Listen especially around the 3:05 mark.)
Wu Yixing (Kris) (Kris Wu)
Fans often associate Kris with his badass image. He was the leader of EXO-M. He speaks fluent English, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese. He now releases as a solo artist in China and has made quite a name for himself in the mando-pop scene. Listen to his new single here.
After his 2014 break from EXO and SMTOWN, Luhan made a name for himself through his appearances in movies and television episodes as well as releasing singles in Mandarin. It has been said that is to become a member of the Chinese version of Running Man. He was known for his pretty voice in EXO-M, but has played with his concept since becoming a mando-pop solo artist. Listen to one of his solo tracks ‘Good Good’ here.
- Kung Fu Panda
Though his leave from EXO and SMTOWN is rather recent, Tao has already released a few solo tracks under the name Z.Tao. Fans call him a ‘panda’ because of his naturally dark and puffy eyes. He is especially skilled in martial arts, as shown in several broadcasts and even through EXO’s dances. Despite his tougher image, he was shown to be less than a ‘badass’ through many occasions. Fans can recognize him with his unique laugh, and his former members often said that he was infected with ‘prince syndrome’. When asked on Chinese variety show Happy Camp which member he would like to walk on the beach with, he replied with “can’t I go alone”, making fans and the MC’s laugh. Listen to one of his solo tracks here.
Listen to some EXO-M’s releases here:
(I’ve included less than the EXO-K blog post simply because if you look up one, you can find the other.)
Some reviews I’ve done for EXO-M: