Never did I imagine myself uttering such a statement but it has happened – I have found something (someones, actually) that have actually filled the spot where Korean Pop group Shinhwa once was.
Rookie KPop group EXO has not been around long but they have been making their presence known since early 2012. Never have I seen a group continue to be popular for promoting and performing the same 2 songs for a whole year while increasing their fan base and anticipation for a comeback.
If you recall, I gushed about these boys when they were performing as subgroups EXO-K and EXO-M. For this round of promotions (and onward, it would seem), they are now simply – EXO.
Now if you’ve been with me for a while, you know I can’t stand soccer team-sized music groups *cough* EXILE *cough*. But EXO is different because they were first separate groups of 6, singing the same songs but in different languages – Korean and Mandarin. I was able to appreciate them as separate groups, learning about each members’ personalities, individual style and talent. So putting them together as one permanently was exciting and actually made sense given they were performing the EXACT same songs.
So why are they my new favorite even though I’m just getting to “know” them?
First of all, I didn’t feel this way when Shinhwa was a rookie group. They just kinda grew on me after a while and then I really loved them – plus those men are my age so it felt more appropriate, if you will, to love them as much as I did. I felt I could relate to them more. And not being much of a live music person, I even went to a KPop concert in DC years ago where I saw Shinhwa perform. It was amazingly exciting to see them live. It was crazy hot that day and these men performed in SUITS – well, that is, until the end. . .
Secondly, I was totally hyped up for their comeback release, “Venus”. I loved the song and the live performances were great but I was disappointed when it turned out that the song wasn’t as successful as I had hoped.
Fast-forward to the release of “This Love” during their 15th anniversary year promotions, where they are vogueing all over the place in paisley-ish suits and the song got heaps of praise.
Don’t get me wrong, a man can vogue if he wants, I just don’t want MY man vogueing. . .
I felt like with that song and video, the men I knew had changed. I loved Shinhwa for being the men that danced like MEN, oozing with masculinity through complicated and impressive choreography leaving me in awe of their talent.
With that new style, it felt like they were giving up a part of what I thought made them great.
So why does EXO now get the coveted spot in my heart? Well, each and every time I see these boys, they are WORKING IT. When they perform, you can see them put their heart and soul into their work and you can only imagine how much time, effort and sweat was put into the end result which is a catchy song and fantastic dance and vocal performances.
With the release of their comeback single, “Wolf” (which, to be honest, took a while for me to feel good about, now I LUV it!) EXO has proven again that they can comeback after a year and perform even harder than before when, at that time, they needed to prove themselves as rookies worthy of a successful career.
EXO’s album “XOXO” is one of the best that I’ve heard in a while. I put that puppy on repeat for hours and don’t get tired of a single track.
Now, with the teaser video for “Growl” released and seeing a bit of a different groove in this song, I look forward more and more to what SM has planned for these amazingly talented lads.
And I’ll be there every step of the way. Sorry, Shinhwa, I’ve moved on. . .