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Review:EXO Combines 90's R&B With K-Pop For The Album 'Miracles In December'

By Adrienne Stanley | December 09, 2013 05:41 AM EST

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On December 9th EXO released the much anticipated holiday EP Miracles in December. Miracles in December generated such wide spread interest that the album had received over 400,000 pre-orders prior to the official release. Miracles in December was released in two languages, supporting both Korean and Mandarin Chinese. This is the second EP for EXO and it reflects major growth amongst the group which debuted in 2012.

Whereas EXO's first EP Mama was a testimony to the diverse musical styles the group was capable of performing, Miracles in December places a stronger emphasis on nineties influenced R&B, Hip Hop, and down tempo ballads. Miracles in December contains five songs with the digital release containing an orchestral version of the title track Miracles in December.

Miracles in December was released as a single on December 5th. The track is unique from the rest of the album in that it is only features vocals from four of EXO's members.  EXO-K's D.O and Baek Hyun sing with EXO-M's Chen on the Korean version of the single.  Baek Hyun, Chen, and EXO-M's Luhan provide vocals for the Mandarin Chinese version of the title track.

My Turn To Cry, the fourth track on the EP, was first released as an audio teaser on EXO-K and EXO-M's official websites. My Turn To Cry relies heavily on devices such as four-part harmony as well as vocal rounds to create a single that is an aural delight. The song is a throwback to nineties R&B groups like Boyz II Men who capitalized on the vocal strength of its members with instrumentation that would often play second fiddle to complex vocal harmonies.

The Star displays more of a hip hop feel, while still maintaining a musical backdrop that is very much New Jack Swing. The song is also a slight departure from what Western audiences normally consider to be a Christmas song, but it conveys the upbeat nature of couples during the holiday season.

The First Snow is one of the most recognizable songs as a Christmas single on Miracle of Christmas, complete with jingle bells and descriptions of the wonders of the holiday season.

One of the songs which rounds out Miracles in December and makes the EP such a strong example of the implementation of R&B in K-Pop is Christmas Day. The single evokes a very sensual tone as it compares the subject of song to Christmas Day. Christmas Day is a song which strongly exhibits how far EXO has come in the short period of time since their debut.

Miracles in December is a special holiday release more so than a comeback album, however the complexity of the album supersedes many of the comeback efforts of other artists in 2013. Miracles in December balances the morose nature that has become a standard for Korean holiday albums with upbeat tracks that all audiences can get behind. With EXO displaying full effort on their holiday release, fans of the group have a lot to look forward to from the group in 2014.

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