Matters of the heart have always been a point of pondering, wondering and musing for every artist. Be it an emotion of love or a heartbreak, countless words have been written to explain the inner workings of one’s mind on such matters. Songs that strike a chord with the listeners become a benchmark and the album we will be talking about today, might just fit into that category. Over the years, we have seen cinematic and over dramatic representations of love and relationships on screen, but these days, that narrative is changing. Artists are drawing more and more inspiration from the life they observe and themselves experience. Such instances increase the listener’s ability to relate to the track, because somewhere they might have had a similar experience. EXO’s D.O. is one of those artists who are able to depict real-life happenings through a lens of understanding, empathy and wisdom. His latest EP Expectation chalks the journey of a person who fell in love, lived in that love and also got heartbroken in that love.
EXO’s D.O. makes a soothing return narrating love and loss with sophomore EP ‘Expectation’ – ALBUM REVIEW
Have you ever felt that despite liking a person, something just does not sit right? Do you wish you had someone who would understand you in a way you expect them to? If you answered ‘yes’, then ‘Somebody’ by D.O. is the track that hits the spot. In the song, D.O. sings about having someone who understands their partner, even if there is no fiery outburst, a love that is calm and peaceful is enough. Love does not need to be an explosion of gestures, emotions and gifts. Sometimes, what one truly needs is a safe space within a person, someone who would shine light on the darkest corners of the heart – “I want somebody, even if it'd take long/I want somebody, even if passion's not fiery”. The reverb of guitar strings and percussions punctuate the indie feel of this song.
Making an entrance with very folk-like tunes and continuous acoustic guitar rhythm, the music in ‘Wonder’ reflects the amusement expressed in the lyrics - “One by one, the day will come true/It's like a novel to me/Miracle of meeting you”. The song does complete justice to a crush one has and the questions that pop up in one’s mind. The upbeat nature of the music brings out the innocence in the lyrics.
3. I DO
Using the same animation style from his first solo single ‘That’s Okay’, D.O. brings back the joyous feeling in ‘I Do’. The track is all about confessing one’s love to their partner. The cactus that was his partner in ‘That’s Okay’ makes a comeback in this music video, but as a car accessory. It would not be wrong to say that the mix of emotions he had in ‘That’s Okay’ have been sorted now, and he has opened his heart to a new experience and love. The cactus is symbolic to his past experience but not a roadblock in his new path. While ‘I Do’ is a confession song, it is gentle in its approach. There is expectation, there is wait, but there is no rush to actualize those feelings “You can keep your wishes to yourself/Tell me only when you're ready, I can wait/I wish I could see your heart/Like stars in the sky”
‘Lost’ begins with a low-register and progresses to anthem-like tempo. Different people react differently to a loss of love. It is not necessary for every song to be a ballad or an acoustic rendition. It can also be an upbeat musical track like ‘Lost’. The song speaks about the residual feelings and the ‘what-ifs’ after a breakup - “I'm lost, I'm lost, now, I'm lost in you/It just goes around endlessly/To you and to break up/I can't move on”
5. ORDINARY DAYS
Days are bound to be ordinary. It is the people, emotions and experiences that make it special. In ‘Ordinary Days’, D.O. sings about those ordinary days which the protagonist now goes through because that extraordinary element is missing in his life. It would have been a pity if there was no ballad by D.O. in an album all about love and heartache. It fills that spot and introduces the listeners to a lover’s lament underlined by static acoustics. “Before I know it, I feel excited again/When I fall asleep while picturing a new day/Tomorrow comes again”.
6. THE VIEW
Shakespeare compared his lover to a summer’s day, and here we have D.O. singing about the protagonist comparing his lover to a beautiful day view in the concluding track ‘The View’. He smartly uses the rhyming of “view” and “you” to lament about missing someone - “I wonder if I'm to blame/I still see you in my memories/ 'Cause you are the view, I miss…/I miss, I miss you, the view”. The rattles paired with rhythmic guitar strums and sprinkles of the drum set create a melancholic atmosphere when the song is played.
When played individually, each track of D.O.'s second EP Expectation presents a micro-story of each stage of love. ‘Somebody’ and ‘Wonder’ are about the initial butterflies and nervous anticipation, ‘I Do’ is about wondering if the other person reciprocates the feelings, ‘Lost’,
‘Ordinary Days’ and ‘The View’ are about the after-effect of that expectation of falling in love. While the love was not successful, it was bittersweet.
The tracks express the ache without any residual anger or resentment. The protagonist has come to terms with the reality but somewhere the innocent heart still expects for the reality to change. Even if it is just a crush, one-sided love, or a broken relationship, the hurt is no less. D.O.’s uses beautiful imagery and analogies to express the love, the hurt and the after-effects. The beauty of D.O.’s music is that he does not resort to grand alliterations when it comes to the lyrics. His words are simple, yet very profound.
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