Stans of K-pop boy band EXO rejoice! The group released their new EP Don’t Fight the Feeling this week, with Chinese member Lay Zhang returning to the fold for the first time in years.
Zhang has been hiatus from most of the group’s activities since 2017, but has become one of the most popular singers and entertainers in China in the interim, with hit albums like Namanana and appearances on TV shows like Youth With You and Street Dance of China 3.
His return coincides with the return of popular Korean members of the group Xiumin and D.O. who had just completed their mandatory military enlistment in South Korea. Other members of EXO, Chen and Suho, were unable to take part in the EP because they are currently completing their military enlistment.
It’s the first new music from EXO in eighteen months, since they released Obsession all the way back in 2019.
The music video for the lead single on the mini-album was posted to YouTube yesterday and has already been viewed over 19 million times. It’s no surprise, considering the level of loyalty that the group’s fans have for EXO.
The EP has topped charts around the world, including in China, where it has reportedly gone triple platinum on QQ Music.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by Lay Zhang (@layzhang)
A post shared by Lay Zhang (@layzhang)
Chinese fans of the group are delighted at the return of Lay Zhang to the EXO line-up. The hashtag, #Lay Zhang Participates in EXO Return# has been read 770 million times on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, with many netizens expressing their surprise and joy at his return.
BTS, EXO and Co in the PRC: The Highs and Lows of K-Pop in China
EXO is one of the most popular K-pop groups of all time. Some of China’s biggest stars, such as Kris Wu, Luhan and Huang Zitao, were also formerly part of the group, though all three left in the mid-2010s.
Cover image via SMTOWN/YouTube
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