It’s Throwback Thursday once more! This time it’s EXO’s turn. Before “Kokobop” their last single was “For Life” which was released in December 2016. Since then, EXO-L’s had been eagerly waiting for a comeback from one of the biggest groups in the Kpop industry, and we got a phenomenal one in the case of “Kokobop”. Check out “All About: EXO” to get more information on what the boys from SM Entertainment have been up to!
|Lyrics & Music||9||Performance/Choreography||8|
|Lisa’s Opinion||9||Lisa’s Opinion||8|
EXO are one of the groups in the industry that have the luxury of being able to try different styles of music. Given their megastar status, it allows their songs to be hits, regardless of overall quality. However, this song is not undeserved of its success. Everything from the vocals to the instrumental breakdown work fantastically together and end up producing something that is uniquely EXO without sounding similar to everything else that is currently dominating the charts.
The line “Shimmy, shimmy Kokobop” had stirred up some debate online, with EXO-L’s stating that it’s a term used to dance before an oncoming war, given “The War” is the name of the album this song is from. Chanyeol has stated that it’s just a fun word that their composer created for the song. My own research shows that the term has been used in music as far back as 1957 with Little Anthony and the Imperials also having a song called “Shimmy, Shimmy Kokobop”. There is no inference of war in that song, so my conclusion is that it seems to be a nod to the nonsense filler words that were so popular in songs at that time. Of course, the dance move called the “shimmy” is ever popular, and EXO equally may be telling us to dance!
The opening instrumental section has a reggae-esque vibe to it, that instantly puts the listener into a more relaxed state of mind, thanks to the electric guitar riff. From the get go, this section indicates that this song is going to be slower, and more chilled out. Couple this with Baekhyun’s sweet vocals, the result is just the perfect summer chill out sound.
The vocals all work together in this song to further produce the air of relaxed, summery energy. The verse slowly moves into the bridge, and there’s a little more of a hip hop influence evident by the time Kai enters the song. The song shifts more towards this influence with Chanyeol’s rap, but still manages to maintain its reggae influence. With the instrumental break coming into the chorus, and the simple lyrics, it’s one of EXO’s catchiest songs to date. It’s got a languidity that is easily borne through the music, but the lyrics are more suggestive.
The lyrics in “Kokobop” are more demanding and more sexually suggestive than I expected for such a chilled out song. The lyrics focus on a girl slowly letting her guard down, and forgetting all the worries that plague her normally. The members urge her to let the rhythm flow through her, and just dance with them.Given that some of the lyrics are suggesting “leave everything to me”, and “to not be nervous”, it’s hard to imagine they are singing about just dancing.
“Ah woo, it’s our last night.
Ah woo, a night just for us.
Don’t be nervous and come to me, yeah yeah.
Leave it all to me, yeah yeah”
The video plays up the dreamy sound of the song, and we are shown images that can only make sense in dreams: cars flying, members floating etc. The shots of the set, at least those not in the dance scenes, are very bright. There is a hazy feel to it, and members are shown to be lounging around throughout the video. Indeed, the only part of the video that has any intense movement is the choreography sections. This is shown in deep contrast to the rest of the video, not only with the dark, empty set, but also the styling. In this section, the members all have either black and white on, a mix of the two, or a soft blue. Throughout the rest of the video, they are shown to be wearing bright colours and vibrant patterns.
There are some questionable hair styling choices in this video. I’m referring to Baekhyun’s bizarre mullet and Kai’s dreadlocks. I’m not sure why either of these styles were chosen. Both Baekhyun and Kai looked a million times better in the live stages of this song, where both of these styles were long gone. It’s a weird choice from SM.
“Kokobop” is another of the songs that I will never get tired of listening to. It’s got a cool vibe, it’s sexy as hell, and it has the “EXO” stamp all over it. It’s the perfect addition to their discography. The only thing that could have made it perfect for me is if they could have included Lay. I know the boy is busy in China (shout out to “Sheep”), but I need to see EXO as 9 again. It seems like it’s been far too long.
If you want to hear more from these talented guys, I would recommend “Lucky One”, “Wolf” (to see how far they have come!), and “Love Me Right”.