EXO – “DON’T MESS UP MY TEMPO” Album First Listen + Review

I am genuinely petrified to listen to this album. “Tempo” was so good so my expectations are high. I also feel like those expectations might be met so I’m scared of that option too!

Ugh I just need to do this.


ALBUM: Don’t Mess Up My Tempo


Available on Spotify and iTunes!

EXOs fifth studio album Don’t Mess Up My Tempo was released 2 November 2018 with title track “Tempo”. Their last Korean release was for Universe back in December 2017 so it’s been almost a year since we got a Korean album from them making this particular comeback highly anticipated.

I’m a bit all over the show at the present moment. While I will post this maybe a week after I hear the album, I’m still recovering from “Tempo”. Who would have thought the song was going to be as great as it is. I still find zero fault with it. I also think it’s super unfair to have it has the first track in the album. Super unfair. My opinions on the song haven’t changed so if you want to read my initial impressions on the album, see (here).

Second track “Sign” gives me goosebumps as soon as I hear it due to the dubstep sound – it sounds super dirty! I hear a build happening in the pre-chorus which makes me genuinely scared. The chorus sounds true to the verses which is nice. I don’t know if I was wanting the drop to be harder or more than it was but I like it any way. The demonic voice heard in “Tempo” makes another appearance after the first chorus which is nice for continuity sake. The harmonies are back and I can’t help but think 2018 must be the year of the harmony! The verses have barely any melody, just the pulsating dubstep sound. Wow, this is a super strange song and can tell it’s going to be one of my favourites.

Third track “Ooh La La La” sounds a little coffee shop-esque but is also warped and muffled at the same time. I also think they promote with this song. The beat introduction is really nice but the melody is super weird. But I can’t help but enjoy it because of how off-beat and clashy it is. The vocal progression in the chorus is really nice. The bridge is particularly nice – they show a lot of different things here which resemble moments in “Tempo” so I’m getting some nice continuity in this song as well. I don’t know what this song sounds like but I do get vibes of earlier EXO songs fused together. The song almost sounds experimental. It’s a calming song but in an uncomfortable way because of the weird melody.

“Gravity” reminds me of “Lucky One” and “Power” straight away. I also can’t help but feel like DAFT PUNK had something to do with this song, it sounds like it’s on their album and I’m geeking out a little bit. I’m a little iffy about this song as I go into the first chorus. I do like some aspects but I am a little on the fence. If it gives you any kind of perspective, I’m also not a huge fan of “Power” or “Lucky One” – they’re just not songs I’ll choose to listen to but will if it plays during shuffle. The introduction of the bass after the first chorus makes me pay more attention – I’m a sucker for a solid bass moment. With this new instrument introduction I’m starting to pick up on some nice funkiness which makes it easier for me to enjoy. Sehun’s verse and the beat change are my favourite parts for sure.

“With You” has similar moments to “Gravity” in regards to that DAFT PUNK sound. This song is very house though which immediately makes it different from anything else on the album. It does remind me of “Stay” from their Universe album. Although very house sounding, it is chilled out. It’s not a ‘Hana’ sounding song at all but I like it. Maybe my music taste is changing or this song just fits in really well with the rest of the album, I’m not too sure. Chanyeol rapping with zero beat is really nice but the beat change!!!! This song is experimental as well. Maybe the entire album is going to be entirely electro-pop, harmonies and experimental as hell. I’m loving the album so far!

Sixth track “24/7” is whistling in the intro….I hate whistling. I like how they alternate with the high notes in the first verse, its super creative. It’s chilled out but I’m not sure how long it will last for. It’s like an R&B slow jam – there’s nothing too similar to the previous songs genre wise so I’m surprised at that. It doesn’t sound like it shouldn’t be a part of the album though, I think it fits perfectly. Chanyeol is no longer a rapper for me, he’s a damn vocal!! The chorus’ are almost entirely falsetto which I, of course, love! It’s relaxing me and it might be fast tracking to another favourite.

“Bad Dream” sounds like “Fall” from the Universe album and I’m given goosebumps!! And they won’t stop! It sounds like a slow jam but is very much electronic and is super sexy. The beat is weird and surprising but I still love it. The weird high melody moments in the background are so strange but they do add a certain level of catchiness. I think it most definitely falls under the electro-pop umbrella but the break downs make it almost sound R&B. Wow, I love this song and I’m getting goosebumps in the chorus. The break down at the end of the bridge is my favourite part.

“Damage” sounds heavy hip hop which is strange. Chanyeol starts the song off sing-rapping which is nice. The background instrumental through the verses sounds like a circus/carnival. I like the chorus a lot with the hard hitting percussion that sounds more ‘slappy’ than what I’m used to from EXO. The background chants are really cool and I can’t help but think it’d sound awesome with fan chants. It has a certain amount of theatricality that “El Dorado” has so I’m getting flashbacks. The break down at the bridge reminds me of “Tempo”. OMG THEY DID THE E-X-O!!!

Ninth track “Smile On My Face”, purely based on the title seems like it would be a ballad. One second into the song, I know I’m right. EXO ballads are my favourite so I’m in heaven right now. Chanyeol singing makes me soooooooo happy!!! I’ve had goosebumps the whole time. The chorus is make me upsettttt! I love this song so much! Although it doesn’t have the specific traits of my favourite EXO ballads, it’s simplicity and lyrics make me emotional. Kai’s verse is really nice. I’d like to hear his voice more as he does have a different sounding voice than the rest of the group. This song is so beautiful, I wonder how many EXO-L cried because of this.

Last track “Oasis” sounds really nice and the stop and start technique with the music gives me goosebumps. It sounds like it has potential to break down but it doesn’t which actually makes me like the song even more. This song in a live performance would be amazing. I like the vocal moments in the chorus a lot but the bridge had me covered in goosebumps from head to toe. This has to be one of my favourites as well. I know I have a lot for sure.

This album is exceptional. I haven’t loved an entire EXO album before but this one is instantly loved. They’ve shown an improvement musically and I love the direction they’ve gone in. I’m just so impressed with their songs, individually and collectively – I’m just so proud of them. I’m going to have to buy this album ASAP. Good job, babies!!!

RATING: 9/10

What did you all think of Don’t Mess Up My Tempo? Did you have any favourite songs? Let me know down below or leave me a message on Twitter!


Bye guys!


2 thoughts on “EXO – “DON’T MESS UP MY TEMPO” Album First Listen + Review

  1. It took me a few listens but I like it a lot now. Overall, most of EXO’s music just isn’t my taste but I do support them because what I like form them in the past are songs I LOVE! The rest of their new album is pretty good – some tracks actually caught my attention first time around over Tempo so I’ll have to go back and re-listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always loved their title songs but their B sides have always been a little meh for me. The more I listened to them the more I started to enjoy them. This album however, I immediately love. I’m not sure if I’m just used to their b sides now, my music taste is changing or it’s just down right amazing. I’m so happy with the sound of it!


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