Can you believe it’s been 10 years since EXO’s debut?
Apr. 8, 2012, is a life-changing date for EXO’s dedicated fans—also known as EXO-L and Eri—since it marked the beginning of the South Korean-Chinese boy group’s domination in K-pop and the global music scene. The group has witnessed a ton of record-breaking moments and painful hardships, yet they remained strong.
As we celebrate EXO’s 10th year, allow us to take a trip down memory lane by listing down our favorite 14 b-side songs.
Take note: The list only covers their songs as a group. The sub-unit and solo tracks of Suho, Xiumin, Lay, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, and Sehun will not be included.
1. Artificial Love
Artificial Love might’ve been buried in the EX’ACT vault, but it has a panty-dropping and alluring groove that makes you want to party all night. The song is a refreshing change of pace from EXO—due to their R&B-heavy discography—that allowed them to explore their vocals in hip-hop and deep club beats. Plus, who can forget its live stages?
2. She’s Dreaming
“She’s dreaming / You’re asleep in me, I can’t help but smile / I’m just looking at you because / In the morning as if nothing happened / You’ll wake up,” EXO’s vocal line sang on She’s Dreaming. Perhaps, a song we need to hear as a reminder when it comes to our idols. That no matter how we manifest our idol to fall in love with us, it will never happen. And Chen’s lyrics are the best way to bring us back into reality.
Romantic, haunting, and mesmerizing—Moonlight is the quintessential R&B greatness that EXO is known for. Kyungsoo and Baekhyun’s melodic vocals complement the song’s lush harmonic tempo, and the hints of the electric guitar are the perfect amount of edge it needs.
4. Touch It
Sometimes, all you need is a groovy, reggae-inspired bop to charm new fans, and Touch It is a definition of a stan attractor. The song opens with a reggae-inspired groove as Chanyeol and Sehun launch into a banter-like rap, before EXO’s vocal line pulls us in completely with their charmingly, playful parts.
5. Lights Out
Lights Out is a song where vocals were the hero and the piano instrumental plays a supporting role. Pushing aside their powerful high notes and eargasmic riffs, EXO’s vocal quartet shows how to take things slow and let their voices do all the work. The song feels like a warm hug in tough times and an escape from loneliness.
The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-esque approach in music is not new, yet EXO’s Jekyll is a fresh take on the overdone angle. The song follows a grim approach with the rap line and vocal line trading one-punch barbs on the chorus. While it’s engulfed in a horror-inspired production, the group’s R&B roots give it the character it needs.
7. Ya Ya Ya
Ya Ya Ya is an ode to SWV’s You’re the One, where you can hear snippets of the classic 90s song in the melody. The song acts as a response to the hit song, where EXO croons “Baby, imma give you some / Because you give me some.” A little surprising change of pace at first, but it’s a track that deserves attention.
8. No Matter
An underappreciated song in EXO’s discography, No Matter treads on the sing-talk route while main vocalists Kyungsoo and Baekhyun’s delicious voices brighten up an already bright track. Add playful lyrics, satisfying adlibs, and Kyungsoo’s sugary sweet runs, and you’ve got a track that deserves love.
9. Love, Love, Love
A song that sounds disjointed at first, Love Love Love is a clever image of being hopelessly in love. EXO’s signature vocal runs paired with groovy verses and melding instruments sound like a recipe for disaster to outsiders, but the satisfying chant of “‘Cause you’re my earth, air, water, fire” at the chorus brings its many elements together.
10. Peter Pan
Listening to Peter Pan on EXO’s 10th year is akin to watching the Reply trilogy. You look back at your youth, you cringe at embarrassing moments; and when the group launches into the chorus of being someone’s “Peter Pan,” you remind yourself how far you’ve come. Time and again, EXO has proven their earlier hits are a reminder of how much they—and their fans—grew up well.
11. My Lady
Was it Kyungsoo’s panty-dropping “She’s my baby” or was it Baekhyun’s “I’m running into your heart” that made us scream louder? It’s hard to compare—but My Lady is searing vocal perfection that can attract fans at first listen. The two-part chorus takes listeners into a climax where you’re left wanting more.
Don’t get us wrong—Call Me Baby was a satisfying comeback song. But we believe that it should’ve been promoted alongside Exodus as a double title track. The rhythmic beat takes listeners on a head-bop loop, without losing the elements of a classic EXO title song. Plus, the catchy “Dangerous, dangerous, she’s so dangerous” is an earworm that stays in our fangirl hearts.
13. Girl x Friend
Girl x Friend goes both ways—it makes us swoon until the last note and makes us question the universe why we can’t date them. While the track was meant to be a winter release, the upbeat melody and kilig lyrics remind us more of spring. Once again, EXO’s voices took center stage as they deliver the balance of swoon and sex appeal.
14. EXO 2014
Perhaps, one of EXO’s most heartfelt songs, since it was released after a drastic member change amid other heartbreaks. EXO 2014 feels like a promise to fans—and particularly to each other—that no matter what happens, they’ll remain strong. The track finds itself between ballad and R&B as the members show their determination to continue and you can almost see them crying.