[Review] EXID strike retro gold with fun & funky 90s-inspired “LADY”

EXID are still unfortunately without member Solji, but with their recent comeback with “Lady“, the group certainly seemed to keep things rolling along with a retro comeback hit.

How one feels about “Lady” will likely boil down to how you felt about New Jack Swing in the 90s. Given that most, me included, have fond memories, this will likely connect (at least with international audiences) because this is a well-executed effort in that style. The song immediately hits you with retro sounds and the “call my ladyyyyyyy, come back to me, back to me, back to me, boy” shout, which immediately grabbed my attention as a listener and EXID made sure to never lose it. The instrumental has that funky rhythm one wants, and the inclusion of a horn section is just cheating in terms of pandering to my tastes.

LE may not be my favorite Korean female rapper like she seemingly is for many, but much like the chipmunk voice of AOA‘s Jimin (not a comparison of their skills, relax), when you hear her distinctive style you just know it’s an EXID track. That brings inherent value to the group in terms of making their song recognizable, as it provides a comfortable feel no matter what. While her rap sections can lack diversity and thus at times feel forced into EXID tracks (“Hot Pink” stands out), “Lady” seems perfectly suited to her. LE masterfully sets the whole atmosphere, and her flow is particularly compatible with this sound, as this seemed like an effort build around her strengths.

The rapping segues into a nice pre-chorus that has both powerful and seductive vocal qualities to it, and aside from the whistle note (good luck with that live), seems to allow Hyerin and Hani to thrive in their comfort zones. The chorus that follows is relaxed and bouncy that relies on the hook repetitions of “lady lady lady” and “baby baby baby“, focusing more on creating something groovy rather than serving are a marquee moment, as those come in the pre-chorus and are sprinkled in elsewhere in the song instead. Another strength is the effective use of call and response, which is both appropriate for the sound, and is utilized throughout to ensure things never get bogged down.

There’s going to be no points awarded for creativity here, but who gives a shit? Solji is still missed, as it’s hard to not let your mind drift to where she would be inserted, but the end result is still an endlessly repeatable throwback hit. All of these words is just an extended way of saying EXID executed on “Lady” extremely well, and the first impression the song has left on me is that it’s their best single since “Ah Yeah” three years ago, which is a good place to be.

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