April, and a flower: A masterpiece

When I first heard that EXO’s Chen would be releasing a solo album, I wasn’t sure what to expect. He has one of the strongest voices in K-Pop, so I was hoping for at least one good ballad. I ended up getting that and more, as all six tracks are some of the most beautiful ballads I have ever heard.

Listening to the April, and a flower album for the first time was almost like an out of body experience for me. Chen’s voice is magical, no matter how he uses it. It has incredible power, while still having a certain amount of softness to it. Each song tells a story, and even if you don’t speak the language, Chen sings with so much emotion that you can still understand.

One of the songs off the album that demonstrates all these qualities is Love words. In the line, “I’m gonna throw away all my petty little self-esteem, fill it up with awkward love words,” he tells us about forgetting pride and making up with a significant other. As the song starts its last minute, Chen sings softly, slowly building up to his heart stopping notes for the line, “Always, saranghae (I love you).”

The music video for the title track, Beautiful goodbye, is shot in a plain, focusing on Chen, a pianist, and veiled dancers. The setting and neutral color palette gives the video a raw feeling and provides the perfect background for the emotional song. Chen sings about trying to end a failing relationship as painlessly as possible, promising to never forget the love that was once shared and wishing happiness for the woman. Though the song does not have a powerful note like Love words, it still shows off the dynamics of Chen’s voice. In the chorus alone, he switches from singing with his full voice to a higher and more breathy place.

April, and a flower allows Chen’s voice to shine like never before. EXO is a pop group and focuses more on energetic songs with less challenging notes. Even when EXO does do ballads, there are still eight other members that need lines, two of which are his fellow main vocalists with nearly equal abilities to him. Chen has the highest range in the group, but rarely gets to show it in their main tracks. This album gave Chen the opportunity to show us all the full extent of his vocal talent, and he did not disappoint. April, and a flower is truly a masterpiece.

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