Baekhyun of K-pop group EXO dropped his first album City Lights on Wednesday (July 10), and the six-track EP puts the focus on the singer's lush vocals amid a variety of smooth alt-R&B songs.
Fronted by the ambient vibe of “UN Village,” the single puts forth Baekhyun (Byun Baek-hyun) as a lover looking to spend time romantically in the moonlight in the Hannam-dong neighborhood of Seoul, with the title coming from the area dubbed “UN Village" that is known for its exclusivity and wealth. After kicking off with echoing, sleek, siren-style synths, the song grooves along with rattling beats as Baekhyun lays forth his addicting verses, leading into the creeping strings of the chorus as he lulls the listener into his depiction of a lover's night. Old-school feels permeate throughout, most notably during a mid-song bridge that distorts his voice as if heard over the radio as he expresses his yearning.
The song was released through a predominantly black-and-white, cinematic music video that features the K-pop star as he roams the titular neighborhood, emoting his feelings as he sings the seductive tune.
The single is followed on the album by the sensual "Stay Up," featuring rapper Beenzino, and the upbeat, tropical rhythms of “Betcha,” around which fans have created a viral challenge. The cool, laid-back tones of “Ice Queen” and the jazzy, synth-pop feel of the falsetto-infused “Diamond” arrive next, with the album closing out on “Psycho,” which Baekhyun has previously performed at concerts. Throughout the EP, the singer’s expressive vocals relay a wide array of emotions, with the production frequently layering different recordings atop of one another to show the wide range of Baekhyun’s tone and artistic style.
While City Lights is Baekhyun’s first solo EP, he has released several solo tracks and collaborations in the past. Last year, he scored his highest entry to date, No. 84, on the Billboard Artist 100 chart with the release of "Young," a collaboration with rapper Loco.