Dec 7, 2015

EXID Comes Back With A "Hot Pink" Mess

I love the story of Exid, I really do. The group debuted in 2012, which was arguably the busiest year ever, and they along with many other groups fell into the unknown. Their single "Every Night" was probably their most famous one but even that didn't seem to get them anywhere, and neither did their 2013 comeback with "Up & Down", until one fancam of member Hani made them an overnight sensation. Nowadays everyone knows about Exid and I couldn't be happier because I was one of those people jamming to "Every Night" back in 2012. However since the success of "Up & Down" I've beginning to note a theme with their comeback tracks and I'm not sure I like it, but "Hot Pink" has to be the messiest one by far.

It's worth noting that I by no means dislike the song, because I think it's super catchy and really fun to sing along to, but that goes for their title track music in general as of recent. However it doesn't change the fact that this song is kind of a mess from start to finish, and the first time I heard it eyebrows were raised at multiple occasions. Exid did receive criticism about how "Ah Yeah" was basically a "Up & Down 2.0", which I agreed on and did find a bit disappointing (although I understood that they wanted to follow up with something that was similar to their breakout hit), so the fact that this new comeback title doesn't sound exactly the same is a good thing. Though there are still too many similarities, such as the inevitable sing-along hook, line distribution and overall structure of the song.

The instrumental might not be the same so the general feeling is slightly different, but this isn't a new formula they're trying out and they're certainly not showing any signs of musical development and growth. I get it, they've found their niche and are willing to milk it for all it's worth but by each comeback this concept gets less and less interesting and exciting and more and more repetitive. So while "Hot Pink" is a fun, sexy song (although with very strange transitions and a abrupt ending) I feel like I've seen the exact same thing multiple times before and it's just not that great anymore.

Unfortunately the same goes for the video, and not only because it's worryingly familiar. All of their recent videos have had pretty sexual themes, with "Up & Down" being the most obvious one with the phallic imagery, various sexual innuendos and objectification of the members' bodies, but this new one definitely takes a spot right behind it. What "Hot Pink" fails to do is, among the blatant sexual suggestions, is to be witty and funny. The MV for "Up & Down" was incredibly self-aware and also very tongue-in-cheek in a teasing kind of way, and the creative way the props and sets were used definitely had impact in the video's overall pleasing result. Although it was objectifying to a certain extent the members made it very clear in the video that they were not in a position of submissiveness, both by judging from the lyrics and their actions throughout the video. "Hot Pink" on the other hand is, if I may say so, quite tacky.

"Ah Yeah" had a pretty clever video with a great message that again, put them in a position of power, and especially their actions in that video showed them taking control which I admire them for. I guess you could say that the same goes for this MV, as the lyrics are definitely confident and feisty, but there is one major misstep that kind of ruins the video for me. The scenario as presented is Exid working at a dodgy gas station called "Tiger Gas" were they sell exclusive "Pink Oil", and Solji and Hyerin are even out on the street scouting costumers for their pricey gasoline. Can you see where I'm going with this?

A sexy Hani pulls the cars in, L.E fills the cars up with gas, or should I say pink oil, and Junghwa is in what looks like a room (or possibly basement) filled up to the walls with this pink liquid. What I'm taking from all this, and what's made pretty obvious with the set-up as well as suggestive imagery of putting gas pumps into fuel caps in return for pink "Tiger Gas" coupons is that there's only one reasonable explanation: you guessed it, Exid are in fact prostitutes. What pretty much confirms my theory is that in the end the cops show up to arrest the girls, which means they are up to no good, no good at all.

I have honestly no idea what their company was thinking when they thought of this idea. I mean sure, having the girls being sexual, sexually objectified even, and doing videos full of innuendo and phallic imagery isn't always a great idea as it can often be a bit tasteless, but having them act as actual prostitutes? I'm shocked that more people aren't reacting to this, because no matter how hot they look or how playful the tone is I can't overlook that they're portrayed this way. Prostitution shouldn't by any means be glorified in this kind of manner, knowing what the actual sex industry can look like, and idols like these girls shouldn't have to play these roles no matter the intention.

On the other hand I will say that the video is aesthetically great because it is, but it's hard to look past its nature. However I'm going to try to give you the best objective review I can provide. The "pink" theme is very apparent, as many of the sets are bright and neon colored, with plenty of pink shades thrown into the mix. It's not badly shot or edited either, and the girls look gorgeous despite some questionable styling choices (looking at you Hyerin). What this MV succeeds in the most though is looking like a high-quality production when it obviously is quite low-budget. This MV is what I mean when I say that videos with a low budget still can look great with the right attributes (like sets, props, styling but also camera work and editing).

However I were to summarize this comeback the outcome would still be more on the negative side, because the cons unfortunately outweigh the pros. The song is catchy, yes, but it feels like a rehash of their earlier songs with some out-of-place verses thrown into it, and most of all it doesn't give us anything we haven't heard before in some form.

The video is the most disappointing however, as it had all the right tools to be a fun, flirty and sexual video without any illegal activities, but that wasn't the direction it took. The choreography was tragically underwhelming as well as it's one of the laziest ones I've seen all year, and it (like the song) fails to utilize this group's abilities. Although I love the pink and I love Exid this comeback isn't doing it for me. Hopefully by next time we'll be seeing something fresh and exciting, because this certainty isn't it.

Song: 3/5
Video: 2,85/5

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