Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

EXO – Ko Ko Bop

So we’re in agreement that “Country Grammar” > this, then, right?


Thomas Inskeep: Do not, do not base your song around the childhood chant “shimmy shimmy ko ko bop.” Also, this palest-of-pale reggae “skank” isn’t a good look for EXO. Call this a swing and a hard miss.

Alex Clifton: If “Red Flavor” was the sound of breezy summertime fun, “Ko Ko Bop” is the sound of hot languid days. It feels impressively easy and relaxed. There’s something magnetic about this song that I can’t quite put my finger on–all the vocal performances are impressive, especially Baekhyun’s seductive intro (“shimmy shimmy ko ko bop, I think I like it”); the melody is gloriously simple and sticky without becoming overly repetitive; and the chorus is the kind I search for every summer, dancey and hypnotic. This is so close to being absolutely perfect for me except for the overuse of the tinny mosquito whine throughout, which makes this one difficult to listen to in headphones. Otherwise, I’ve found my song of the summer.

Ryo Miyauchi: Haphazardly thrown together, EXO can’t seem to figure out exactly what they want out of their take on the ever-so-ubiquitous beach-side dance-pop. If it’s a sensual rock to the rhythm they’re after, their dentist-drill breakdown kills the mood for any casual mingling. If they’re looking to pose toughness, they should know reggae strums do the very opposite.

Will Adams: There’s been some clamor over “Ko Ko Bop”‘s strong similarities — mainly for its metallic chromatic hook but I suppose also for being an EDM-reggae-trap mish-mash — to David Guetta’s “Light My Body Up.” Which, it should be noted, is a song I not only completely forgot the site covered but one I had written about and thus listened to at least a few times and still forgot. So it’s fair to say that “Ko Ko Bop” already has some cards stacked against it.

Anjy Ou: Dub music is such an underrated subgenre of reggae, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear it here — it’s a nice change from the soca vibes currently dominating the airwaves. So I was disappointed to hear EDM for a good chunk of the song. Dub is EDM’s granddaddy, but you can’t hear the family ties here, which makes the transitions jarring and the song disjointed. Plus it’s not even good EDM. With more restraint in that part of the production you could have called EXO’s performance laid-back, but it’s perfunctory at best. I’d rather listen to KARD’s 4th rework of their first single.

Jessica Doyle: Half of “Ko Ko Bop” invokes a song that is much better for being sweet but not saccharine, with a video that’s open-minded and open-hearted yet grounded in a particular place and time. And the other half invokes a song that’s better for being Monsta X’s “Beautiful.” But if I’m being honest, between this and “Lotto” I’m starting to develop a fondness for Sleazy Underachieving EXO. It’s almost possible to re-categorize them as underdogs, between the mass defections, Lay’s possibly-THAAD-inspired quasi-exile, the internal threat of the various NCT configurations, BTS taking over the role of omnipresent-group-to-beat, and the self-defeating styling here — Kai turned into Island Party Ken, complete with uncanny-valley abs; D.O. and Chen looking more lifeless with each comeback; Xiumin with .05 seconds of screen time; Baekhyun with a mullet. Really, though, we should be fearing EXO, not pitying them.

Reader average: [5.6] (5 votes)

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3 Responses to “EXO – Ko Ko Bop”

  1. Couldn’t find the time to blurb this but I would’ve given it a 6 or 7. Definitely understand all the low scores here… that drop is not the greatest thing ever. But even then, I’m such a huge sucker for how the final chorus comes together. The album is solid too, particularly fond of “Chill” and “Going Crazy”.

  2. ^^ I’m with Joshua. I honestly would have rated it lower, but I’ve listened to it like, 20 times on repeat over the past few days, so that counts for something (as I rarely do that with individual songs these days). And I’m willing to forgive the drop for the rest of the melody.

  3. Monsta X’s Beautiful is a song we should cover on this site

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