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10 Must-Listen K-Pop Songs To Hype You Up For EXO’s D.O.’s First Solo Album

Look into D.O.’s finest vocal moments before d-day!
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) YOUTUBE/EXO, YOUTUBE/KBS WORLD TV
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It’s finally coming, the moment that all of us EXO-Ls have been waiting for—EXO's main vocal D.O. (whom I shall address throughout this story as Kyungsoo like what the rest of his fans does) will finally drop his first solo albumEmpathy! It’s been nine years in the making, including a year and a half of waiting for him to get discharged from his mandatory military service. 

As much as we’re all waiting impatiently for this to happen, there’s still a few days to hype yourself up even more. What better way than to reminisce and look back at all the songs that made us fall in love with Kyungsoo and his vocal talent in the first place? This list compiles Kyungsoo’s finest moments on certain B-sides, covers, solo releases, and more.

Let's take a trip down the past nine years with Kyungsoo and EXO, and have a closer look at his best vocal hits:

 

1. "Boyfriend" by Justin Bieber (cover)

When this Justin Bieber cover came out, I was just like every other EXO-L out there who’s seen this video—utterly floored. Stunned. Sh00k. However you want to call it. Kyungsoo has always been known to be great at English pronunciation when he does these covers, and this one was definitely no exception. What else is great about this (apart from having Chanyeol on guitar, which was an extra treat), is hearing Kyungsoo sing indulgent lyrics like “If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go,” making everyone’s ovaries ~explode.~ Kyungsoo fanservice is extremely rare, and if you’re used to eating Kyungsoo crumbs like me, then this video is one very sweet birthday cake. It's god-tier level among all the songs that an EXO member has ever covered!

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2. "What Is Love" by EXO

This was the first ever track that EXO has released way back in January 2012. The Korean version, performed by EXO-K (really mainly Kyungsoo and Baekhyun), was a standout and a preview of what exactly this group was capable of—and what Kyungsoo was capable of as well, vocally. His voice transitions from note to note smoothly in this R&B song, melting into the guitar melody in the background. He also hits some high notes incredibly well. Check 1:47 of the music video to see what I mean.

3. "That’s Okay" by EXO's D.O.

Ah yes, which EXO-L in their right mind could ever forget about Kyungsoo’s sudden enlistment announcement in 2019? He was 26 at the time and still had a couple of years before the usual idol enlistment age. “That’s Okay” was his parting gift of reassurance and comfort to his fans, which came out as an SM Station single on the day of his enlistment. It’s a soft and easy-listening acoustic track that was so popular when it was released, that multiple idols promoted it and made covers of it, including IU herself.

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4. "Thunder" by EXO

“Thunder,” from EXO’s album, Overdose, is so spicy and sensual that it’s hard to believe EXO was performing this before they were even in their mid-twenties. Kyungsoo opens the track and the quality of his voice is further amplified by the song’s minimalist production. You’ll probably be dead by the time you hear his vocal run by 0:04! And don’t get me started on the rest of the Kyungsoo ad libs on this song.

5. "For Life" by EXO (English version)

I’m not going to say much about “For Life” except for the fact that a lot of EXO-Ls and Kyungsoo stans worldwide have probably cried to this song at least once in their lives. The English version is particularly popular and dreamier, thanks to its marriage-material lyrics like “Baby all I wanna do is spend my every second with you.” This is the song to play at your wedding Especially if you’re a Kyungsoo stan. It just sucks that none of us are marrying him, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to dream!

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6. "Baby Don’t Cry" by EXO

“Baby Don’t Cry” is usually performed live by EXO-K’s vocalists, Kyungsoo, Baekhyun, and Suho. Each of them have their own killing parts in this classic EXO ballad—Baekhyun’s high notes, Suho’s soft voice, and of course, Kyungsoo’s runs and adlibs. If you’re crying while listening to this song, you’ll most likely be crying even more because of how perfect everyone sounds, regardless of the lyrics.

7. "Tell Me What Is Love" by EXO's D.O.

This song was written by SM Entertainment’s Yoo Young Jin, one of the most respected producers and vocal trainers in the K-pop industry. Just so you know how much of a bigshot this guy is—he’s recognized as an “architect” of the K-pop genre, creating iconic songs for staple artists like H.O.T., Shinhwa, BoA, TVXQ, and more. The K-pop legend was so impressed by Kyungsoo’s vocal prowess that he decided to hand him his slow jam R&B banger “Tell Me What is Love,” which Kyungsoo first sang at a special solo stage during EXO’s Exology Chapter 1: The Lost Planet concert tour. The full song was eventually released as an SM Station single with Yoo Young Jin singing with Kyungsoo. It’s nearly five minutes full of Kyungsoo runs, high notes, adlibs, and all around quality vocals. A classic, which probably solidified Kyungsoo’s legend status as well.

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8. "Goodbye Summer" by f(x)

From f(x)’s critically acclaimed Pink Tape album, “Goodbye Summer” is one of the few tracks where we hear Kyungsoo harmonizing with female vocalists. And alongside fellow skilled SM Entertainment powerhouse Luna, a Kyungsoo in his early twenties sings about high school romance and unrequited love. It’s the perfect song to reminisce about all those fleeting summer flings and teenage angst felt through adolescence, except heightened with Kyungsoo’s stunning voice as your own personal soundtrack. It also happens to be the only song from another K-pop group that he’s featured in.

9. "Oasis" by EXO

“Oasis” is basically the Kyungsoo song (he usually has at least one on every album) from Don’t Mess Up My Tempo. He usually sings with a lot of passion, but it seems like he amped this up by a hundred on this track. It’s no wonder that the song is one of EXO’s most beloved B-sides of all time. Kyungsoo also named this his favorite on the album, and what can we say? The man knows a good song when he hears it. Our king has taste.  

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10. "My Lady" by EXO

A brief preview of “My Lady” was used for Kai’s teaser in late 2011. It was such a good song, fans were wondering why it wasn’t on EXO’s first mini album, before it finally showed up on their debut album, XOXO. Kyungsoo opens this sensual bop with his silky vocals, and the line probably started every fan’s fixation of him singing the word “baby” in most tracks he’s on. But apart from that, it’s definitely one of EXO’s best R&B songs and Kyungsoo has a large amount of lines on it, and deservingly so since it suits his voice perfectly.

Honorable mentions:

"Sweet Lies" by EXO

While Kyungsoo doesn’t have as many lines here, it’s always nice hearing him sing in Justin Timberlake-esque falsetto and playing the persona of a bad boy. A rarity, indeed.

"One And Only" by EXO

As the top comments say, Kyungsoo’s sensual vocal runs start at 3:09. You’re welcome.

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"Paradise" by EXO

Best listened to when you’re feeling a little flirty. Kyungsoo is literally saying he wants to get close to you in this song. Send help.

"My Answer" by EXO

Another classic yet underrated ballad mostly performed by the main vocal trio.

"What U Do" by EXO

A funky, upbeat, and fresh song (Kyungsoo’s favorite off The War) where Kyungsoo *growls* his lines during live performances. Probably should have been an EXO single.

MORE PLAYLISTS FOR YOU, K-POP STAN:

10 K-Pop Songs To Listen To After A Breakup

10 K-Pop Songs That Are Guaranteed To Brighten Your Day

10 Feel-Good K-Pop Songs For Your South Korea Trip