Hot off the heels of their Wolf comeback, EXO isn’t wasting any time on a follow up release. What better to follow up Wolf than a song called Growl? Aside from the loose name association, you’d hardly know that these two songs were released by the same group. Perhaps that’s because, well…Growl is much less of a train wreck than either of their past singles.
That’s right, this group has finally released a song that actually sounds like a song! No more genre-bending Frankenstein songs! No gimmicky dubstep in the name of being “edgy!” No over the top lyrics that came strait from a fantasy novel! Growl is a straight up song that showcases the best of what EXO has to offer!
Growl ditches the group’s usual penchant for over the top arrangements and overwhelming beats. Instead, they’ve scaled it back for a straight forward dance-pop beat. The bouncy syths and smooth rnb beat are actually pretty catchy and refreshing! It sounds very much like a cool rnb-dance track that would have come out of the early 2000’s era.
Now, I’m not going to lie. In a group of 12, none of them actually stand out vocally. In this case, without knowing names, or looking at color coded lyrics, any one of these guys could be mistaken for another. It’s especially noticeable in the chorus, when the group falls victim to the Super Junior treatment; their voices being run through so much vocal processing that their full unison begins to sound hollow and robotic.
However, their smooth delivery matches the beat perfectly. The chorus is catchy, funky, and memorable. The song’s arrangement keeps it moving forward with swagger and attitude. What’s shocking, is that the rap verses aren’t even terrible! In fact, they come a perfect time, and have enough bite to be tolerable! Even the vocal processing, while annoying, isn’t a terrible detractor from the song. Overall, this is definitely EXO’s best song to date!
We haven’t even talked about the group’s main selling point; the choreography. There’s no doubt that this group relies more on visuals and performances than they do on their vocals. Growl once again contains some fancy footwork and intricate formations. With each hit of the beat comes one elaborate movement after another for yet another attention grabbing dance routine.
I can’t believe that I’m going to say what I’m about to say….but even the music video is awesome! It’s a typical SM type “dance in a box” music video, and yet, it’s so well done that it doesn’t leave you wanting more. Done in “one shot, one take” style, with fluid camera pans and smooth movement, this simple style both matches the song perfectly, and emphasizes the choreography perfectly!
Final Score: 4/5