EXO - Power
It's been just under two months since EXO last came back, but SM seems intent on pushing them hard to dominate the latter half of this year. "Power" is the title track that heads the 4th repackaged album from the group. LDN Noise masterminds yet another EDM production for SM, proving themselves to still be competent and more than capable of providing quality beats and keeping them from sounding too similar. Ko Ko Bop was the last track from EXO, and I was not the biggest fan of it, so I was curious what kind of direction they would go with this repackage.
"Power" promotes a heavy bass that thumps throughout a majority of the song, emphasizing it even further during the chorus. Electronic fluctuating wubs accent the chorus as well, contrasting the deeper sounds of the bass tastefully. The pre-chorus drops that weighty bass just long enough for the listener to recognize that the chorus is about to come, and then immediately returns at the exact same pace to keep that sensation of high energy going. All of this builds up to a fitting ending of the song that is reminiscent of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger."
I can't lie, LDN Noise has been absolutely killing it with their takes on fusing an EDM-based sounds and translating them into uniquely defined K-pop songs. They've rarely been a miss for me out of everything that I've heard from them, and this continues to be the case with "Power." That pounding bassline in tandem with the cascading sounds of miscellaneous electronic beeps instantly had me hooked. I swear that SM has gotten the better of me every time that they've done a repackage for EXO's albums, and I'm proud to say that it's happened once again.
The video for the song takes very clear inspiration from comic books, featuring drawn depictions of the ongoing story of EXO being superpowered beings of some kind. "Power" seems to show the actual origins of how EXO came to inherit their abilities, though it does this with an incredibly goofy, ludicrous portrayal. There's a clear budget differential in this music video when compared to others from SM's gigantic library, though it does well enough to play it off with humorous content. It's essentially Power Rangers meets EXO meets X-Men all mashed into one video with the boys pretending to be a rag-tag crew simply trying to stop a machine from ruining a planet.
I think that the video is clearly one that isn't meant to be taken too seriously, and I personally enjoyed how over the top its cheesiness was. The bit where they sing about taking shots while the video shows them firing guns off was a particular favorite moment. The sort of scrappy team that they pretend to be in this video is pretty clever if it's meant to demonstrate how the group used to be back during their early days before they were known as EXO. I'm still somewhat confused about the cat in the music video, and I'm even more confused that SM put another sock-puppet item into a video. I was honestly hoping that would leave after Rookie, but I guess they liked it enough to go for it another time. Hopefully it's the last we'll see of them, though.
"Power" has a gummy hook that immediately infected me as I was listening. It's so simplistic to sing along with that it easily gets stuck in your head even during your first time hearing it. My only gripe with the song is that I feel it will be a fairly short-term effect for me. The song is catchy, but I don't feel like it has that staying power to keep me coming back for years to come. The video is a very different direction than everything we've seen from EXO, as nearly all of their music videos have a serious feel to them (exceptions being Dancing King and possibly lightsaber... and Wolf if you think about it that way). It's awesome to see a more direct attempt from SM to explain the story behind the concept of EXO and their origins, rather than giving fans random bits to work with. EXO is always going to be a group to watch, so I look forward to seeing what they have for us later this year. (They're slated to release a Christmas album, and everybody knows Miracles in December was incredible.)