Finally, after his long-awaited return, on April 4, EXO’s leader and soloist SUHO returned with his second mini-album, Grey Suit, and with it he brought the meaning of coming back to a new level. Grey Suit takes listeners on a sentimental and nostalgic trip of the artist’s time away from fans. With an honest heart or as SUHO says, “transparent”–and a couple of literary references from a children’s book–SUHO painted the grey world with colors for this comeback.
In 2020, with the release of his first solo album Self-Portrait, his work was autobiographical. With its release SUHO laid out who he was as a person. The rock ballads and the Vincent Van Gogh-inspired album art resulted in what his fans consider a masterpiece. With Grey Suit the story changes. In contrast with his previous work, for this album, the colors faded. The album tells the story of a grey man finding his love and with it, the color.
Grey Suit marks SUHO’s return from his 18-month hiatus due to military service. The album contains six tracks in which the artist participated on the lyrics. The album varies from genres like modern-rock and indie-rock, mixing urban noise and bass sounds.
“No More Grey” SUHO Takes Off His Grey Suit
The title track, “Grey Suit” is a folk-rock song with a sweet melody written by Cho Yoon Kyoung and SUHO. This song encapsulates the entire album. “Grey Suit” is a sentimental journey. It takes the listener through various emotions as the lyrics discuss being stuck in a grey, cold period. But once you meet your lover, the world blooms with color and has meaning again.
During his comeback live, SUHO talked about how he felt seeing his EXO members have great comebacks, while he felt stuck in a black-and-white room. But as he met EXO-L again, the color returned to his life.
As explained by SUHO throughout the weeks before the release, the album concept is inspired by MOMO, a novel written by Michael Ende. This book was gifted to SUHO by a fan and it holds a special meaning to him as he related to the novel. The book revolves around MOMO, a child with an amazing ability for listening, and The Men In Grey. Curiously enough, SUHO named the album after The Men In Grey, who play the role of antagonist in the novel. Their job is to steal time from people and by doing this, the life of the person turns gray and meaningless.
The meaning behind the song is deeper than what meets the eye. With the story of The Men In Grey, SUHO fully opens his heart to fans. Throughout the song, he makes them his savior. Lyrics like “you are light” and “with you the frozen minutes melt like a miracle” reference MOMO who has the ability to bring happiness into the meaningless lives of the world consumed by gray.
A New Start And New a Horizon In Music
The album opens with “Morning Star,” written by Gila, NODAY, oiaisle, PARKMOONCHI, and SUHO. The track, as described by SUHO, is a modern-rock song that talks about waking up from a long dream and looking forward to meeting the ones that waited for you. The song talks about his heart filling up as he dreams of holding a concert with fans “Waiting for the morning star,” he sings, as the story shifts from holding onto the dream to the time of meeting finally being near. SUHO’s sweet voice carries the song and the listener through each verse with brightness.
The third track, “Hurdle,” is rock, with heavy electric guitar and bass-influenced melody. The song has a wilder and sexier feeling to it and is written by Gila, NODAY, oiaisle, Park MOONCHI, and SUHO. For this record, SUHO experimented with his vocal tone, bringing an interesting sound that differentiates “Hurdle” from any other track of the album, highlighting SUHO’s experimentation with his voice and different sub-genres within rock. The lyrics talk about chasing your lover while dealing with the hurdles of time as he runs. “Time is still it’s like a hurdle / you’re not by my side/but I’m running now,” he sings.
“Decanting” opens up with subtle ambiant sounds setting the mood for the track. When the music picks up, the sound of the electric guitar sprawls, reminiscent of wine filling a glass as the first verse starts. The alternative rock track is heavily influenced by Blues and was written by BYMORE, John OFA Rhee, oiaisle, and SUHO.
In the song, the word “Decanting” refers to finding the beauty in waiting and how waiting is also a form of love, if it makes you happy. SUHO describes it as “giving time to wine to meet the oxygen in the air.” However, the lyrics take a more mature twist: “time moves slowly as if you were slowly approaching to unbutton a button / Chill it, babe cool down / Set it at the right temperature, you have to inhale endlessly.”
The “Guardian” Of EXO-L
With the fifth track, “Bear Hug,” the atmosphere changes. Written by Gila, NODAY, oiaisle, Park MOONCHI, and SUHO, the song’s tempo is slow and nostalgic, giving the listener a sentiment of comfort. Written for those going through a hard time, in “Bear Hug” SUHO tells listeners, “Don’t worry about anything / The voice that bothers you / Don’t listen.“ The music arrangements and SUHO’s voice express so much emotion that even without knowing the lyrics, the atmosphere of the track can transport the audience to a place where you need to be.
The album closes with “Moment,” a song for EXO-L, written by Moon Sulli and SUHO. The track refers to the small moments in time that will last forever in your memory, and when you think back to them they shine brighter. “After spending the day, a memory It’s going to be more brilliant. In all those scenes, I want to smile,” read the lyrics, as the memories with fans make him the happiest.
With his work on Grey Suit, SUHO proved to be a skilled lyricist and versatile singer, as he took on new challenges and experimented with his music. Each song is a love letter for EXO-L, who make him complete. Grey Suit holds an incredible meaning to SUHO as he showed his transparent heart with each song. This album marks a new era for the idol, and there is no slowing down.
With EXO’s 10th anniversary nearing, more things are coming for the SUHO and his bandmates. To keep up with his work, follow SUHO and EXO on social media and listen to Grey Suit on Spotify and Apple Music.
Want more music? Read about Jackson Wang’s surprise mixtape here!