EXID hit it big with their 2014 viral-fueled hit “Up & Down” and it wasn’t surprising to see them follow that up the following year with “Up & Down”-lite “Ah Yeah.” Considering that both were pretty successful for the group (according to ~Wikipedia~ “Up & Down” peaked at No. 1 on the Gaon Chart while “Ah Yeah” peaked at No. 2), it is not shocking to find out that the group’s latest comeback “Hot Pink” faithfully mines the same well.
To start with the positives, the ringing bell that binds “Hot Pink” together is great and gives the single a distinctive element that helps differentiate it from its past two uptempo dance beats. Much like “Up & Down” and “Ah Yeah,” “Hot Pink’s” repetitively chanted hook is worked hard here. Thankfully, there’s just enough variety sprinkled through the song to give “Hot Pink” enough to stand on between LE’s rap, some hilariously aggressive male backup vocals that sound like they’re out of some hip-hop tape for stay-at-home births, and Solji’s and Hyerin’s vocals. If one thing doesn’t work in “Hot Pink” it’s Junghwa’s out-of-nowhere verse that sounds like it was recorded for a different album altogether. While it’s nice to see an attempt at experimentation here, Junghwa’s sudden jump from hip-pop to sonic dreamscape is incredibly jarring and not smoothly transitioned to or from in the slightest (EXID’s previous single “Ah Yeah” was much better at transitioning between beats). Cut that out entirely and, for better or worse, you have a serviceable, catchy dance tune not unlike EXID’s previous two singles.
The video is similarly unwilling to deviate from EXID’s own perceptions of its successful formula. To the video’s credit, the colors in “Hot Pink” are amazing. Everything pops, from the blue hits on EXID’s convertible and the gas station floor to the hot pink that gives the video its name. The color saturation also helps make up for a rather stilted camera that largely decides to simply use the zoom function over actually panning anywhere.
The stiff camera direction does make it easier to appreciate the choreography which, in true EXID fashion, seems like it’s heavily designed towards going viral as fast as possible even if it sacrifices showmanship along the way. The simple leg pivot and hip thrust dance move is pretty easy to pull off and admittedly very memorable thanks to EXID’s EXID-ness but there’s not much to the performance that can’t be reduced to a gif.
Less successful is the “story line” where EXID lures unsuspecting drivers to their gas station with the promise of “Pink Oil” after which their fates are only ominously hinted at. Regrettably, the video ends right as it starts to get interesting as EXID stroll towards some cops while holding wrenches behind their backs. Exemplifying “Hot Pink” in a nutshell, the video ends up settling for something vaguely enjoyable rather than going for broke with something truly surprising (like EXID violently taking out some cops with garage tools).
“Hot Pink” more or less sticks to the script that has allowed EXID to thrive since “Up & Down” breathed new life into the group back in 2014. It’s not bad, but considering that EXID’s last couple of comeback singles have hit the same notes both musically and visually, it’s a little disappointing to see more of the same.