EXO-L’s and bunnyzens, our time has finally come. After much anticipation and years of impatiently waiting, our favorite and oh so talented leader Suho has made his official debut as a soloist. He just released his first-ever solo album and it’s honestly even better than anything we could have ever hoped for or dreamed of. Every single detail was carefully chosen and resulted in the most flawless final project imaginable.
Where can we begin? Well to start off, the album title being Self-Portrait is very fitting. Not only is it a reference to the work of famous Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, but it also signifies that this album is an accurate representation of who Suho truly is as an artist. He is an extremely multi-faceted individual: he is simultaneously Suho, leader of EXO, Kim Junmyeon, Suho the actor, and now, Suho the solo artist, as well as much much more.
In addition, SM Entertainment confirmed that Suho contributed to writing the lyrics for all 6 tracks on Self-Portrait. This means that we truly are getting the full picture of all the complex emotions that he feels and are able to get an idea of what goes on inside his creative and genius mind. Perhaps the cherry on top is the album covers for both versions, which were painted in a style that is very similar to Van Gogh’s post-impressionist style. The beautiful brush strokes and the bright splash of colors really bring the album to life and are a perfect representation of the subject they portray.
It honestly still feels like a dream and we can’t believe that SM finally let Suho release his own personal project. Not to mention, it doesn’t seem real that he was actually allowed to provide so much creative input. If we’re still asleep, then we never want to wake up from this fantasy! So without further ado, here’s an analysis and review of Suho’s masterpiece, Self-Portrait.
I want you
Please come to me quickly
Due to the everlasting fluttering,
I can’t even draw you in my dream
You ’re the color I’ll never know…
O2 is the chemical formula for oxygen and was chosen to be the title because the song tells about the meeting between two soulmates who need each other like humans require oxygen. The song starts off quietly and calming, before washing over you like the waves that Suho sings about. It really feels like we’ve been transported to the beach, where we can feel the wind in our hair, the sand in between our toes, and feel the cool sea salt breeze on our skin while listening to the sound of seagulls.
This song helps you to escape your troubles and the reality of the world we’re living in. Suho’s soothing vocals provide a feeling of serenity, of peace and tranquility. As soon as you hear his voice it instantly fills up the atmosphere of the room and provides a blanket of warmth, comfort, and security.
I was not enough but you fill me I was like winter but now I’m warm
Without even a word you change me
You were too far away but now you’re in front of me
I’m being colored by you
My stained heart is getting wiped out slowly…
To start off, the title track of Suho’s first mini-album is titled ‘Let’s Love’. At first glance, this may not seem like anything special, but EXO-L’s will tell you otherwise. This is a very sentimental and special phrase that all of the EXO members frequently chant together when they’re performing on stage, in order to greet their fans. It symbolizes the bond and affection that the members have not only for each other but for their fans and the music that they make as well. Suho’s title song is named after a phrase that is so personal for many fans and it’s such a sweet gesture to acknowledge the important people who have supported him since the beginning of his career.
The music video is filled with paintings on stained walls, broken furniture and guitars scattered around the room, and a lone chair that is a bit reminiscent of Van Gogh’s oil painting of his bedroom. At times it feels like Suho is a museum curator taking us on a tour as he talks about the history of each work of art. His beautiful visuals are highlighted in the glow of numerous lights, and the shards of glass flying around his face and surrounding his feet create a stunning dramatic effect as he effortlessly nails soft and beautiful falsettos. The best part of the song is when he sings “You’re my dream, you’re my dream” while wistfully looking directly into the camera. It’s enough to make anyone’s heart flutter, and it almost feels as if he’s telling EXO-L’s that this is it, he’s achieved what he’s always wanted, which is to make music and to make his fans happy. EXO-L’s really are his dream, and no sweeter words have ever been written.
Made In You
I just need you Cuz you know that without you
The me of now doesn’t exist
So I I ’m made in you
Girl you make me one of a kind
I’m a star meant to shine only on you
I I ’m made by you
The reason I shine Is because the sun called you looks at me…
‘Made In You’ is a rich and mellow feel-good song that will sweep you off of your feet and have you dancing in the rain. Every time Suho opens his mouth, birds sing, flowers grow, and the sun never stops shining. This song whisks us all away into a fairy tale as he serenades us while we ride off into the sunset. The lyrics tell of a beautiful and selfless love and is about two people who were made to be together. He eloquently gushes about how his lover makes him a better person, and how together the two of them are unstoppable. Suho promises his unwavering faith and affection as he thanks his lover for sculpting and painting him into a masterpiece. Leave it to Junmyeon to always know just exactly what to say. He really is the only man ever.
Hidden from the dark
Into the curtains
You’ re the universe that’s stopped in time
(To me) A song
That was pouring and whispering
It shines in the distance
In my memories of everything…
You’re a broken star
The darker it is, the more you shine…
This title is another example of Suho paying homage to Van Gogh who inspired much of the aesthetic for this album, as it is also the name of arguably his most famous work of art. Out of the entire album, this song is probably the most emotional. The slow beat and melancholy melody are sure to evoke at least a single tear from you. Suho’s strong and powerful voice pierces through the haunting and chilling instrumentals like an angel reaching out to save you when you feel lost and alone in the dark. The lyrics are so raw and genuine, to the point where you can truly feel his heart aching, his longing, and the pain, anguish, and numbness that he experienced. Once you close your eyes and let yourself get lost in Suho’s voice, you’ll be able to see how he shines like the brightest star amid a dark starry night sky.
There’s no meaning without you
Just like every color got tangled together I feel it turning into black
In the scenery outside of the window without you
Just memories that became a blank space…
One of the best parts of this song is that there is nothing more than just simple drumming and piano. The star of the show is Suho’s silky smooth heavenly vocals. Although the beginning starts off a bit gloomy and sorrowful, it develops into a bit more hopeful and promising tone. The crescendos really help to build up the anticipation and create suspense until the song reaches its climax. The lyrics seem to demonstrate that our reflections or who we are are determined by our past. Although we may go through difficult encounters or have falling outs with other individuals, every experience we went through makes us the person we are today. Each mistake or interaction we’ve ever made is an additional color or brush stroke on the canvas of our self-portrait. We can’t run or hide from our past, even if we try to color over it, the memory still remains.
For You Now
Even if you didn’t add anything Just by staying by my side
It would have given me strength
I regret it again
Following your back
And slowly matching with your footsteps
I dream of us walking together like this…
‘For You Now’ is a very nostalgic song. In it, Suho and Younha seem to be contemplating over things they didn’t say or do, as it continues to fill them with regret to this day. Having a female artist featured on the song helps provide another perspective which adds more dimension to the track and helps carve out the lyrics more. Their verses complement each other and make us feel like they are answering each other’s’ calls. Younha and Suho’s voices blend and harmonize very well together, and effectively create the wishful and reflective mood for the track.
This album means so many different things to different people. For Suho, it’s a chance for him to shine outside of EXO. For once, the spotlight is entirely on him and we get the unique opportunity to appreciate and bask in the glory of his underrated vocals. He is more than just the glue that holds EXO together. He is not simply the calm, wise, guiding figure for his younger members. He is Suho, the writer of ‘O2’, “Let’s Love’, ‘Made In You’, ‘Starry Night’, ‘Self-Portrait’, and ‘For You Now’. He is his own person, worthy of all the praise and acclaim in the world for the beauty of the masterpieces that he has created and shared with us.
So whether you’ve heard of Suho before through EXO, of if you haven’t, please give his debut album a chance. We promise he won’t disappoint you! You can order the album right here. Self-Portrait debuts on March 30, on Vincent Van Gogh’s birthday.
Let us know your favorite song off of Self-Portrait in the comments down below or tweet us at @TheHoneyPop on Twitter!
Featured image source: SM Entertainment via @weareoneexo on Twitter