EXID‘s “L.I.E” is an interesting case in that they had a late breakout success with “Up & Down“, continued that with a similar melodic formula in “Ah Yeah“, but appeared to ride that same formula one too many times with “Hot Pink“. As such, like a lot of people, I was waiting to see whether EXID would stick safely to what they’ve had success with or whether they would deviate from their formula a bit with “L.I.E”.
If nothing else, they certainly seemed to go in a different direction.
The start of “L.I.E” is alluring, immediately getting into a sensual but lively instrumental and a vocal with Hani blessing us by actually singing in her range, which results in a sultry and sassy feel to it. Keeping things in a lower register instead of trying to go high, higher, and highest during the verses also seems to work for Junghwa, as her parts are no longer cringe-worthy and perfunctory just so they could get her visual in the music video.
By the time we get to the hook done by, of course, Hyerin and Solji, it becomes apparent that this is more of a ballad type of pace than what one would normally associate with EXID’s recent releases. Normally I don’t like these types of efforts all that much, but it managed to remain appealing through not sticking with standard quasi-ballad crap, and instead adding interesting bells and whistles to the instrumental while truly using a build to the song instead of sticking to a more monotonous pace.
Speaking of breaking the monotony, while I’ve never been a fan of LE‘s rap compared to how most others feel about it, her part does a lot of help alleviate concerns of losing interest part of the way through with both the instrumental switch and her acidic rapping quality that helps balance the rather savory tone of the rest of the track. Also, people complaining about the airhorns can eat shit. In this life full of misery, nothing makes me feel as alive as airhorns, both for the purposes of memes and jokes and because they let you know shit is lit.
Anyway, while this definitely isn’t in my wheelhouse in terms of genre, the fact that EXID managed to make it interesting and not make me immediately want to turn it off within the first minute is noteworthy. “L.I.E” is quite effective at keeping all the members to their strengths, which seems to help the overall sound.
The music video is clearly inspired by ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘ and EXID simply changed the concept into The Grand Bonerpest Hotel with their insane visuals.
What helped make it pop even more were the effective color schemes that weren’t so out there they were necessarily comical, but were colorful enough to give the music video some life beyond the girls themselves.
While the music video was visually nice, I did wish there was more choreography to it.
When it was included it looked great, but there were rarely any opportunities for it, and I was surprised they didn’t utilize that more or find a way to weave it in more naturally instead of just including more zooming closeups.
Also, the music video was like … super subtle, man.
JUNSU OPPAR’S MIND IS INNOCENT YOU HARLOT
As soon as I heard the previews going down the slow quasi-ballad route, I was prepared to hate this. But every member played their role perfectly in this song, the concept was beautifully executed, and there were enough quirks and twists to what could’ve been a paint-by-numbers type of vocal track that it managed to keep me interested for the duration.
I can’t say that “L.I.E” is the type of song I’ll seek out or that I necessarily look for from a group like EXID, but it’s one of the few tracks in this genre that I wouldn’t turn off if it came up on the radio. Not the most ringing endorsement ever, but between that and the well executed concept, this comeback is no “Up & Down” or “Ah Yeah”, but I’m definitely more interested than I was with “Hot Pink”.