XOXO (subtitled Hug & Kiss), the first full-length studio album by SM Entertainment’s 12-member rookie boy band EXO, has reached number one on the Billboard World Album Chart this week. Critically-acclaimed, the album has already reached number one at various online music charts as well, including South Korea’s Soribada, Naver Music, and mainland China’s Baidu.
It has been nearly 14 months since the group last released new music material. Their last album, the debut EP MAMA, was released on April 9, 2012.
EXO, consisting of eight Korean members and four Chinese members between the ages of 19 and 23, debuted under SM Entertainment’s label in April 2012. The band was separated into two subgroups, the Korean-singing EXO-K and the Mandarin-singing EXO-M, to target different markets. The two subgroups released their debut album, the extended play MAMA, on April 9, 2012 to chart-topping success in both South Korea and mainland China.
Unlike MAMA, which was released in two language versions recorded separately by EXO-K and EXO-M, XOXO is a joint collaboration between the two subgroups. Both groups participated in the Korean and Mandarin-language recordings of the album.
A school-themed music album, the promotional campaign for XOXO began on May 16, when yearbook-inspired teaser images were released online. Both the Hug (Mandarin Chinese) and Kiss (Korean) editions were officially released on June 3.
The album’s first single “Wolf,” which was first unveiled on YouTube on May 30, is a dub-step inspired rap song that tells a tragic love story between a werewolf and a beauty. The four-minute long music videos of “Wolf,” available in both Mandarin Chinese and Korean, have accumulated over 5 million views on YouTube.
The album’s side-tracks “Baby Don’t Cry”, “My Lady”, “Black Pearl”, and “Let Out the Beast” were previously teased by the group at their 100-day showcase last year. The all-rounder pop album also includes bubble gum pop tracks like “3, 6, 5”, “Peter Pan”, club-themed tracks like “Heart Attack” and R&B ballads like “Don’t Go.”
XOXO Album Cover and MV Making
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