EXO’s Baekhyun and rapper Loco got together on the motivational “Young,” released today (Aug. 31). As the second single out SM Entertainment and SK Telecom's new digital singles project Station x 0, the groovy electro-pop track urges youth to pursue their dreams.
The song revels in the vocalist’s expressive tone and Loco’s rhythmic style as it critiques societal norms, such as education, that make "Young" people turn away from their own distinct paths. "Find the way from you want from today on," Baekhyun sings. "Let yourself be more free, yeah do some foolish imagining/ you are still so young." Loco serves up similarly-themed verses, rapping about how his decisions to veer f the straight and narrow have led him to where he is.
A cinematically-shot music video released on the same day ties into the song’s motivational lyrics, with the pair presiding over — and eventually overturning — scenes in spaces that evoke the feeling classrooms and assembly lines.
Criticizing South Korean youth culture has long been a mainstay K-pop since its earliest days, with acts like prototypical K-pop trio Seo Taiji & Boys and the first K-pop boy band H.O.T. incorporating meaningful messaging into their songs. The industry largely moved away from such lyricism in the late aughts and early '10s, but has seen a resurgence in recent years.
Both Baekhyun and Loco are popular collaborators in South Korea; this year saw Loco's "Don't Give It To Me" with Hwasa Mamamoo go to No. 1 on the Gaon Music Chart, while each year since 2016, the EXO member has worked with other vocalists in the Korean music industry to release multiple pop ballad hits. Baekhyun recently peaked on the Social 50 chart at No. 2, the highest-ever for a solo K-pop idol.