BAEKHYUN’s back with his third mini album, Bambi, just in time to usher in spring with his perennial voice. The EXO and SuperM member has been quite busy in between groups comebacks since debuting as a solo artist in 2019. With three Korean albums, a Japanese extended play, and several OSTs (Original Soundtracks) under his belt, the man is a gift that keeps on giving. Equipped with his robustly distinct vocals at the helm, BAEKHYUN has returned with a dynamite tour de force album, offering up six new songs that cement his status as one of the most gifted R&B musicians of his generation.
BAEKHYUN made his solo debut on July 10th, 2019 with the mini album City Lights. Led by the groovy funk title track “UN Village,” BAEKHYUN employed high-profile music producers including Darkchild, The Stereotypes, Cha Cha Malone and LDN Noise. His debut was an immediate home success, topping South Korea’s own Gaon Weekly Album Chart and Monthly Chart, certified 2x platinum with sales over 576,000 copies, making it the best-selling solo album in Korea since 2003. Internationally City Lights performed exceedingly well too, topping iTunes charts in 76 countries and nabbing the number five spot on Billboard’s World Albums Chart and number four on the Heatseekers Albums Chart. BAEKHYUN won three first place trophies while promoting on music shows and additionally won a coveted Disc Bonsang at the Golden Disc Awards.
His first album a bona fide hit, BAEKHYUN returned to the studio and soon released his follow-up Delight on May 25th, 2020. Comprising of seven songs this time, BAEKHYUN collaborated with producers Kenzie, Mike Daley, Omega Deez and Colde. His title track “Candy” is a personal favorite with its memorable hook and infectious melody making for a sweet combination. Delight broke even more records, surpassing 730,000 pre-orders making it the most pre-ordered album by a soloist in South Korean history. It claimed the number one spot on iTunes in 70 countries and once again topped the Gaon Weekly Album Chart and Monthly Album Chart. BAEKHYUN became the first solo artist to go 3x platinum with sales exceeding 971,000, eventually surpassing one million copies in July – a first for a Korean soloist since 2001. Delight became BAEKHYUN’s second Top 5 record on Billboard’s World Albums Chart, while “Candy” placed first on three more music shows. BAEKHYUN was named “Best Male Artist” at the Mnet Asian Music Awards for the second year in a row, and also took home “Album of the Year – 2nd Quarter” at the prestigious Gaon Chart Music Awards.
The in-demand singer certainly had a busy 2020 as in addition to Delight, he contributed to no less than four OSTs as well, releasing moving singles for the hit dramas Dr. Romantic 2, Hyena, Record of Youth, and Do You Like Brahms? He also participated in SM STATION’s Our Beloved BoA project, covering his labelmate’s fan-favorite ballad “Garden In The Air” to much acclaim. BAEKHYUN kicked off 2021 with his very first solo concert aptly titled BAEKHYUN : LIGHT, broadcast online through the NAVER Beyond LIVE platform. He was the first soloist to hold a concert in this format and amassed a whopping 110,000 viewers from 120 countries. Not one to take a break, BAEKHYUN made his Japanese debut on January 20th with a self-titled extended play consisting of six new tracks. Lead single “Get You Alone” was released in advance, and fans got to see him perform it first at his solo concert a day earlier. BAEKHYUN was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of Japan for over 100,000 copies shipped, and impressively took the number two spot on the Oricon Weekly Albums Chart.
Hot off the heels of Japan, BAEKHYUN’s newest Korean album, Bambi, dropped March 30th. Supported by the title track “Bambi,” BAEKHYUN is already shattering his own records, with pre-order sales reportedly over 833,000. While serving up his now signature R&B sound, I like how this album further expands his palette by incorporating more piano and guitar for a jazzy, adult pop vibe. “All I Got” kicks off with a jaw-dropping vocal run making full use of BAEKHYUN’s powerful pipes, apropos for lyrics that boast “I’m giving it all I got.” The technical control as he pirouettes between falsetto and full belt is just stunning and imbues the song with strong, emotional conviction. “Cry for Love,” with its spare yet booming bassline, makes similar use of his passionate vocals as he croons the chorus with a certain haunting elegance, lamenting how he “used to be so in love.” His weighty delivery of the lyrics are quite affecting, destined to the leave the listener with a pensive empathy.
“Amusement Park,” which was previously released digitally back in December is included here as well. Its frothy coffeehouse sound fits perfectly, the soft guitar and strings accompaniment complementing BAEKHYUN’s honeyed vocals making for a track that falls somewhere between ballad and midtempo. I especially enjoy the bridge with its repeated “Merry-go-round” refrain providing a simple yet effective climax to the tune. Opening number “Love Scene” is even more laid back, beginning with beguiling, minimal production before enriching itself with a bluesy percussion and acoustic guitar in its second verse. I love how we get to hear BAEKHYUN utilize his lower register here, his rich baritone adding a new texture that’s equal parts sultry and soulful.
The jazzy, piano-led “Privacy” is perhaps his most experimental track yet. You can just picture him in an underground New York speakeasy, singing effortlessly to the adoring crowd while he plays the keys with finesse. The chorus is especially effective, its syncopated rhythm allowing BAEKHYUN to steer the song at a fluctuating tempo with just his voice, playfully signaling a paramour “Don’t hide it from me… Hold me close.” Anchoring the album’s coherent theme of love is title track “Bambi,” a delicious slice of R&B pop. Its seductive lyrics are sung with a tender passion, BAEKHYUN cooing “Bambi-bam, Bambi” softly at the hook with an air of gentlemanly care and affection. The music video sets a cool tone as well, BAEKHYUN dressed in a black and white suit, gloves, and a wide-brimmed fedora, invoking a Michael Jackson-esque persona as he dances the fluttering choreography with an agile focus.
As BAEKHYUN prepares for his approaching military enlistment, he has certainly left fans with a treat for the eyes and the ears. Bambi perfectly showcases his artistry as a man in his late twenties, older, wiser, and unmistakably more confident. He conveys the mature nature of the songs with a compelling emotion, taking his R&B sound to greater heights throughout the six-song set backed by his effervescent vocals. This is an artist to watch. And as we patiently wait for his return from service, Bambi reassures us that the best is yet to come.
BAEKHYUN The 3rd Mini Album ‘Bambi’ is available in two types: ‘Photo Book Ver.’ and ‘Jewel Case Ver.’ ‘Photo Book Ver.’ comes in two versions and includes a photo book, lyric book, folded poster, sequence film, clear card, postcard, and photo card. ‘Jewel Case Ver.’ has two covers and comes with a lyric book, AR clip card, and AR photo card. Pre-order your copy today at SM Global Shop, available now with Regular Shipping or Early Shipping.