Back in the Fall of 2019, I started listening to Baekhyun. He is a member of the ever popular kpop group EXO and I never really got into his music but was a fan of his group’s sound. One day, his solo song UN Village was recommended in my YouTube page and I thought, hey why not give it a listen. At that moment, it was the coolest kpop song that I had ever heard. To this day, three years later, I still listen to it on at least a weekly cadence. I would say that Baekhyun is my favourite artist right now. I would even go as far as to say that he is the artist that represents my mid 20’s. Not because I relate to him, rather because he is just so freaking cool.
The man is considered a genius and a natural in his industry. He’s a smooth dancer, he is great in interviews, and he has one of the best voices in all of Korean pop music. I freaking love listening to his voice, it’s strong – yet gentle, he can go high, he can go low – it’s so dynamic but it is uniquely his. When you hear him sing, you know that it’s his tone and his talent is truly one of a kind. But talent is everywhere and sure he might be exceptionally talented but there’s more to it than that. The direction of his music, the vibe and energy is unmatched. His music is so suave and sophisticated. It reminds me of crooners of the past like Frank Sinatra. There’s something very classy about his music that is so alluring to me. All that plus he just happens to be so handsome. If I were into dudes, he would be my type.
The quality of his albums are also unmatched. From his first album City Lights to his third and most recent album Bambi – he really allows for his vocals to flourish. Typically in pop music, after the single – most songs on an album kinda suck. Not for Baek! I could listen to the first song of City Lights all the way to the last song on Bambi without a single skip. The quality of every track is such quality. He can do energetic pop songs, ballads that make you want to slow dance, and sad songs that keep you in your feelings.
And I know that for non-kpop fans, a Korean pop recommendation might seem a bit weird, but I think Baekhyun is actually a really good entry point for kpop because Baek’s sound is not what you conventionally hear in kpop. He doesn’t sound like BTS or BlackPink or Twice – it very much is his own sound and I can say that as someone who almost exclusively listens to kpop. Give the man a chance. At the very least, check him out live and you can hear how truly great his live vocals are.
If I’m being completely transparent, his music is not relatable to me at all. He sings about relationships with women, he sings about romance, and he sings about heartbreak. I’m not really that dude. I’m not great with women, I don’t have this long history of scorned lovers, and women that don’t work out with me – I actually end on pretty good terms. But when someone asked me the other day, what is it about him that I like so much – it’s simply his talent and work ethic. It’s amazing that a man get be born with so much talent, yet also put so much into his craft and never falter. He doesn’t believe in only himself, he believes in the process, and the work. He is passionate about his profession. And in this current era of me not knowing what I love in this world, I really admire his drive for performance. Baekhyun is him.