EXO's KAI invites fans to sink their teeth into the juicy, drama-worthy storytelling of his newest release
From the moment of its highly-anticipated release, Peaches drew fans in with its ethereal melodies, dreamy aural textures and captivating storyline, all wrapped up in an enchanting atmosphere reminiscent of KAI’s first mini-album, KAI. Released one year to the day of his eponymous debut, Peaches swept in to further prove that KAI is as much of a force when solo as he is on the stage with EXO.
It began with a dramatic flourish on November 30th, 2020. KAI lit up the world stage, soaring high to #11 on the US Billboard World Albums chart. The mini album attracted attention all across the globe with single, "Mmmh," a danceable but seductive album opener that set the stage for the rest of its equally as alluring tracks.
From "Amnesia," a downtempo, soulful number with swooning romantic undertones, to bass-dense, nightclub-worthy tracks like “Reason”, KAI showed straight away his total versatility and creative spectrum, leaving us hungry for more.
Peaches is the delicious answer. As if picking up where its predecessor left off, it sets a similar mood to his first mini-album right from the start. It’s dreamy and a bit sultry, rich with drama-worthy storytelling and persistent beats that pull the listener along for the ride all the way through to the last notes of the final track.
Peaches seems to tell a tale of an idyllic relationship that the speaker slowly comes to understand isn't at all what he believed it to be. The dawning realization and resulting emotional struggle unfurls at the perfect pace through each song:
The sound of ocean waves lapping at the shore adds summery flavor to the delicate synths in the opening seconds of the album, leaving the listener feeling as if they’re daydreaming on some distant beach beneath a sky painted yellow-pink by sunset. This hypnotizing introduction captures the listener's attention and puts them in the shoes of the song's subject—listening, entranced, to his tempting sweet-talk.
The lyrics themselves fit the sound of the music, inviting feelings of a lazy summertime nap, where everything else in the world seems blissfully far away. With lyrics like I'm your bad hobby and It feels good to be the bad guy contrasting the softness of the lyrical promises and references to juicy peaches, a unique feeling is conjured. There’s the sense that all of these sweet nothings could end in heartache, but those silky-smooth words of his convince you that it just might be worth the risk.
Percussive sounds reminiscent of bongos kick off "Vanilla," continuing that sleepy island atmosphere of the opening track. Gentle synths create a path for KAI's soft vocals along before those synths leave the backtrack to bleed into KAI's own voice, giving it a synthetic color and turning it into an instrument itself.
Much like the musicality, the lyrics, too, follow a similar theme of flavors and taste, now describing the love interest as warm vanilla. A versatile flavor with endless ingredient compatibility, vanilla serves as the perfect metaphor for the honeymoon phase of a new fling. The familiar taste of something sweet that never loses its appeal and can be changed up by sprinkles and chocolate and strawberries hints at the novel excitement of a new relationship.
Throughout its sticky-sweet lyrics, you also get the sense that the singer's efforts have backfired--he's the one falling for the girl instead of the other way around.
"Domino" cuts right to the chase. Both the tempo and KAI's vocal style instantly grow bolder. His lowered voice supported by the hefty bass paints an entirely new picture and mood, as do the lyrics that match the power of the beat. Now that the singer is in deep, he's ready to convince her to get as wrapped up in him as he is in her. He wants to be her sole focus, much as she has become his.
Positioned in the center of the album, "Come In" works with "Domino" to serve as a counterweight for the light, floaty nature of the tracks on either side of them. A confession of love starts this optimistic sounding groove, and like the title suggests, the speaker asks the subject to "come in" to him, to admit her feelings like he has just admitted his.
Returning to his mention of juicy peaches and warm vanilla, he states he "tend[s] to get tired of sweet flavors quickly," but his interest in her never goes stale, and because of all that she is, he senses he is in danger of falling for her completely. If only she felt the same.
See what I mean by drama-worthy? What happens next?!
To Be Honest
Seamlessly combining elements of both sounds displayed so far in the album, "To Be Honest" features those earlier airy vocals with prominent bass as featured in Domino. The musicality falls perfectly in line with the theme of the song. All that attraction combines with his referenced desire for the two to actually get serious with one another.
The finale of this musical story, "Blue" feels like a journal entry, written in reflection on the short-lived relationship. Melancholic undertones and dreary lyrics reflect the speaker realizing that what he thought the pair had wasn't real at all. It hints that the conversation attempted in "To Be Honest" was not fruitful, that while he thought he was the one in control, it had been her all along. Sadly, he is left to realize that he was alone in his feelings.
A rollercoaster ride of attraction, love, and heartache, Peaches is a mini album that shows KAI's versatility, both in sound and in lyrical content.
Bringing the Story to Life
On December 12th, 2021, KAI's first Beyond Live solo concert, KLoor, was broadcast. A combination of the words "KAI" and "Floor," KLoor put emphasis on the stage as an integral part of his performance, relying heavily of the famous special effects of SM Entertainment's Beyond Live concert series. With the help of this vibrant setting, KLoor easily wrapped the listeners up in the moment as he took them through the story, song by song, in real time.
See what all the well-deserved hype is about by grabbing a copy of Peaches for yourself here at the SM Global Shop!
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