On teasers released so far (starting with initial teasers on 5/31)
First off, there are multiple ways to read this particular image.
The easiest is to just follow the arrows; this way, you will easily read “EXO Act 3″ , as shown here. It’s easy to get distracted by the letters present but, just eliminate them as you pass through them, and the graphic is a simple but intelligent and creative way of creating a new logo to represent EXO.
Explicitly, start at E, then you have E - X - O. Next, start at A. You already used X, so you get A - C - T. Another method is going E-X-O 3 A-C-T or EXO III Act (The Roman numeral III helps it make send in English without making 3 a cardinal number.)
We can also examine the rest of the images for further hints, as opposed to taking this face value of hinting at just the name of the album (more on this later).
If we play “follow the letters” again, we get the word “Exact.” Why would they crop the “logo” in this manner for an emphasis on the word Exact? What does it have to do with the comeback? Could it be a reference to “exact” choreography, an “exact” number of songs, or “exacting revenge”? Conversely, it could also refer to general precision, accuracy, or perfection. Maybe there is exactly “one way out,” perhaps playing on the maze concept from overdose and the dark + “monster” concept they are going for. There is exactly one way to properly read through the logo and understand it, both in the original and in this cropped version. Very interesting.
Now we also notice some distinct visual peculiarities here . The T and E do not connect in this version, and we have one completed triangle (ACX), and two incomplete triangles (incomplete triangle EXT and incomplete triangle AEX). The juxtaposition of one complete triangle along with two incomplete triangles, especially since it is identical to the original with the very exception of the E-T arrow, is very telling. With this arrow, there would be two complete triangles, not just one. That has to have been on purpose. Future teasers might help with understanding the significance, but I think these details are important to note now and just recognize that they are probably significant. If they do become important, I will add onto this post explaining why.
Alright, this one is straightforward. EXO-3. They are probably going to do a Japanese release, so there’s 3 languages. This is their third full album, and you could say it’s the third frontier in terms of breaking into the Japanese market full force w/ a full Japanese album. Guess how many meanings for EXO-3 that is? That’s right: 3! Also 3 * 3 equals 9 :~)
On yet another note, tilt your phone or laptop screen back a bit. Do you see that this image is faded from the original logo, but the “Exact” one isn’t? Perhaps that was meant to emphasize the … exactness with added sharpness, or maybe it’s meant to highlight what I mentioned above and how it relates more towards the origins and intentions of this release, rather than the actual concept itself. It’s really early into the teasers and comeback season, so I can only say with confidence (rather than certainty) that this probably has to do with emphasizing the whole set of “3s” EXO has going on this release.
There are two ways of approaching this. Separate analysis, or analyzing them in conjunction with the different versions of logos under which they appeared. I like to be thorough, so I will do both.
Let’s start with separate analysis. Lucky One appears in black writing against a white background, and being printed so small, does give the viewer a feeling of “good” associated with the word Lucky One, rather than a sinister one had it been the inverse. Similarly, “Monster” is visually reversed, as is the connotation of the word. We could guess then, that since the title is called monster, and given EXO’s discography in general, that the song may be about a guy who wants to be his girl’s lucky one, but is instead a monster. This is again early to call but I’m feeling this one. There are also possibilities such as “He is the lucky one, but I am a monster,” “You are the lucky one; I’m just a monster,” and so forth in the chorus and/or bridge. They could even flip it around and at the end realize the girl is the real monster, but EXO love pining and angst, so that might not be the case. Still possible, though.
Now for analyzing together. for one thing, these images also appeared:
Monster is associated with EXO-3 and Lucky One with E-X-A-C-T. Why? Lucky One is still given a notion of purity, and monster still looks tainted with a shade of gray rather than black or white. So this probably adds more to the sense of EXO’s Third Act being associated with darkness and taint, and perhaps the one they yearn for being pure – especially relative to them. Maybe the Lucky One is someone who gets him exactly right, someone who knows him so well, someone with a lot of accuracy and precision in finding out about his true monstrous nature–and fighting him about it.
Maybe for the sake of simplicity, too, EXACT is just a short moniker for “Exo Act 3.″
Back to what I mentioned earlier: the album name. The name of the album is probably something along the lines of EXO Act 3 or “EXO: The Third Act,” etc., with SM talking about promoting “the third chapter of EXO”! By third chapter, SM means EXO’s third full album: they already told news outlets that this will be a full album, and the other two preceding full albums were XOXO and EXODUS. The rest were EPs or singles. EXO puns were going to get annoying the third time around, generally speaking, so this is a new direction that will keep fans interested.
You may have scrolled through this post looking for a tl;dr! Well I have you covered! Basically, this is EXO ACT 3, EXO’s third full album, and they are immensely playing up dark and light contrasts with a focus on EXO probably being the dark aspect in the song (rather than it being the object of their affection). The intentional typography in the teasers so far lends credence to how much we should pay attention to details in the teasers, but the simplicity in some regards also means we shouldn’t think too hard (you could literally follow arrows to get EXO’s possible album name, seriously; dark background with the word monster? Very direct. Don’t think direct is bad). Implicit and explicit visual connections help us recognize the potential for 3 versions: chinese, japanese and korean; the third full album; and breaking the third frontier by releasing into the japanese market. Additionally EXO M also had three members, so they can be alluding to that as well; I don’t want to reach and state that EXO might release a third subunit, but it’s bugging me and might be on the horizon even after this comeback. SM plans ahead anyway, so they could be teasing in advance even now. Let’s anticipate teasers to come!
Bonus: you can read the word “exactos” in the image as well, and as a free etymology lesson, “exāctōs” (Latin) is the accusative masculine plural (!!!) form of the word exactus, which is the passive perfect participle of exigō : “drive out.” Perhaps, exo being a group (plural) of men (masculine) are driving out a monster (or demon?) from themselves and praising someone for being a lucky one for not being possessed ! (etymology lesson here)
This new teaser image was just released! This is most likely a four-leaf clover, intended to play on the concept of luck: four leaf clovers are considered incredibly lucky, as they are rare variations of the typical three-leaf clover. Each leaf separately represents faith, hope, love and luck. Additionally, if you start clockwise from the top clover, then the 4th leaf is the “lucky one,” and fittingly so, it’s the only leaf that appears distinct from the others. (It’s lucky to even exist, since apparently 4-leaf clovers are an estimated 10,000 times less likely to appear in nature).
Usually all four leaves have clefts in the middle ! Or you would at least draw all four with the line shown above. However, only making the 4th leaf have it perhaps emphasizes the fourth leaf and how lucky it is. If we have to follow clockwise to get that, then maybe this comeback will be time reliant and we will definitely have to keep on our toes for teaser releases at different time periods until their comeback on June 9th !
I also think this might be SM’s way of creating two logos (the other being EXO ACT 3 above), especially if EXO will have a repackage!