Review: EXID – “Ah Yeah” Suffers From Sequel-itis

exid-gears-up-for-comeback-with--ah-yeah-

EXID has been enjoying their own unprecedented popularity as of late thanks to the viral resurgence of “Up & Down” and the internet’s love of Hani’s legs. With some momentum behind them, the group recently released “Ah Yeah,” the group’s first single since their belated-breakout hit. The good news? “Ah Yeah” is fairly reminiscent of  “Up & Down.” The bad news? “Ah Yeah” is essentially a busier version of “Up & Down.”

It’s not surprising that EXID would have sought inspiration from the group’s breakout hit “Up & Down” but what is surprising is how close “Ah Yeah” adheres to “Up & Down” musically. The horn riff is a bit lower and Hani starts the interplay between her and LE’s raps but the formula should be very familiar to EXID fans. The funky horns and and bass heavy verses work well when set against the warmer booming choruses but, again, this is a trick that the group used for “Up & Down.”

While all that makes for a pretty dynamic song, the chorus (while quite good in its own right) sounds like it belongs in a different tune altogether. Each vocalist is given a unique delivery whether that be through the very nature of what they bring to the group (LE), or different levels of vocal processing (Junghwa’s echo effect is used perfectly). As separate elements, there’s a lot to like but when everything is thrown together, the song starts to feel a little overstuffed. “Ah Yeah” sounds like a sequel to “Up & Down” and it falls for the trappings of many sequels – namely thinking that packing more elements into a familiar package will justify the existence of a second helping. “Ah Yeah” almost succeeds but it is oddly too derivative and too cluttered with different ideas to be a truly great single.

No, see the legs go in instead of out. Totally different.

No, see the legs go in instead of out. Totally different.

For better and worse, the video acknowledges how fractured the song sounds through its editing, lighting choices and sets. Smash cuts, strobe lights and insanely quick zooms work to disorient the viewer as Hani turns into LE who turns into Instagram-filtered Junghwa and so on. JAV-approved pixelation is used aplenty and while the final reveal is cute, there’s really nothing that ever threatens to be edgy or provocative so the pixelation effect only ends up adding to the stimuli excess.

Junghwa - Stealth MVP of this.

Junghwa – Stealth MVP of this.

The sets are quite varied from the office space of HR’s nightmares to the newsroom, VHS set and Junghwa’s… cam session? Like most everything in “Ah Yeah” the sets are nice individually but they don’t make for a cohesive whole.

As far as the choreography goes, “Ah Yeah’s” main dance move is a hip thrust that (stop me if you’ve heard this before) recalls Hani’s “Up & Down’s” signature move. The wardrobe is fine even as it’s also not particularly achieving any sort of look outside that of “What is trendy in K-Pop 2015.” The group looks fantastic even as Hani (quite understandably) basks in most of the spotlight. If there is one thing that is consistent throughout “Ah Yeah,” it’s allowing EXID to shine in all of its impossibly beautiful glory.

More Hani makes up for everything.

More Hani makes up for everything.

Long story short, if you’re a fan of EXID and loved “Up & Down,” you’ll probably love “Ah Yeah” because it’s essentially “Up & Down Part II – The Newsroom Edition.” Others may have a hard time mustering the same sort of enthusiasm for the single. It plays things a little too safe with their past single’s popularity and the various aesthetics and themes that run throughout can be overbearing considering that the video is only three minutes long. Hopefully, EXID will realize that as long as they have Hani and company, they can take risks slightly larger than “Ah Yeah.”

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6 comments

  1. thanks for reviewing ’em. like you said, the beat is like up & down, but i’m personally think it’s better. and i’m surprised that you don’t discuss the bipolar beat when hani & LE’s part changing back and forth, it’s masterpiece yo.

    Next, you should note that Dal Shabet’s “Joker” is coming out tomorrow. And yes, there is woohee with her legs. And Subin. And Jiyul.

  2. Yes, similar to their previous hit. There’s one scene from the MV that sums this up for me, where they dance under a title ‘Good Enough’.

    Also, “my hump, my hump, my lovely lady lumps”..

    1. The “Good Enough” thing stood out to me, as well.

      I took it as a joke but I wonder what the story is behind it.

  3. Also, sorry for double posting here, and an OT post, but Hwasa is freaking god here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC1bxu9M0aI

    worth reviewing, slug.

  4. junghwa’s verse is horribly jarring

  5. Victor Delacroix · · Reply

    I actually liked this one a lot better than Up & Down. While I did like that song, to me it felt just a tad too sparse and never really took off, just like most songs by upper-low-level Korean idols. Ah Yeah feels like it’s got much more professional impact behind it. I particularly like LE’s sections; they really help diversify the song structure and make it just that little bit different from Up & Down. To me, Ah Yeah is musically kind of like the Winter Soldier to Up & Down’s First Avenger.

    The video, on the other hand, was not quite as good. I thought the mosaic gimmick was effective enough, but it’s no match for the weird gender-bending and phallic imagery from the Up & Down MV.

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