I never really loved EXID‘s “Up & Down” as much as I loved some of their previous tunes, but I eventually conceded to the brilliance of the song after Hani fever swept the nation. I don’t know if my eventual “Up & Down” stanning was completely real or if I was just swept up in the excitement of EXID finally becoming relevant, but I do know one thing: I fell head over heels for their new single, “Ah Yeah,” from the first spin.
“Ah Yeah” is officially billed as the sequel to “Up & Down” (something AOA should’ve done with “Short Hair”), and just like any good second act, it takes everything that made the original good and turns it the fuck up.
“Up & Down” had a lot going on production wise, but “Ah Yeah” is bigger and brassier to the point that it feels like about four different songs in one. The whispered, bass-heavy intro screams Salt N Pepa’s “Push It,” while the retro rush on the chorus could be the opening theme to an ’80s action-adventure series like The A-Team.
The lyrics to “Up & Down” were about a confused dude who takes a girl on an emotional rollercoaster from all his mind games, so “Ah Yeah” flips the script this time and plays it as a role-reversal. Now EXID are the indecisive ones, and this plays out in the production: Hani’s the temptress that bats her eyes and coos her lyrics over soft swells of house synths, then LE interrupts and lays down the law with an aggressive rap over quaking military drums. The two go back and forth a couple of times on the verses, with their dramatically different roles further adding to the song’s convulsive style.
It’s so in-your-face and a bit everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, but in the exact way that a big exciting pop song should be.
Now, I wish I could offer the same insight on the music video, but I don’t really get it. Are they mocking Korea’s strict censorship laws by referencing how their own choreography was altered for broadcast? I don’t know, but I did notice how EXID’s vocal duo Hyerin and Sojli got prettier through their new hairstyles.
I only really pay attention to the important things–like visuals!
Anyway, if you scratch “Whoz That Girl” and the whole Dasoni debacle, this is EXID’s fourth consecutive flaw-free comeback. Oh, and just like Hippity Hop, their new mini-album is AMAZING. I think it might have just snatched the title of best album release from miss A, 4minute, Rainbow, Nine Muses, and all the other great girl group EPs we’ve got this year.
2015 is officially EXID’s year. Everyone else can fight it out for second place.