[Review] EXID switch things up on potential Korean swan song “Me & You”

Though the girls have more or less denied it, there’s a chance that “Me & You” may be EXIDs final Korean title track — at least in the group’s current incarnation. This speculation comes after members Hani and Jeonghwa chose not to renew their contracts with Banana Culture Entertainment. Cross-agency reunions are not unheard of in K-pop, but more often than not this kind of contract-related news doesn’t bode well for a group’s future. If EXID’s time is indeed limited, they’ll be leaving behind an idiosyncratic hole in the girl group landscape that will be difficult to fill.

As far as (potential) swan songs go, “Me & You” is a defiant blast of bombastic instrumentation and attitude-infused performance. What surprised me most is its YG Entertainment-esque structure, where a beat drop takes prominence over a full chorus and the entire track builds up to an extended, chant-like climax. This isn’t a structure that I associate with producer Shinsadong Tiger, nor is it a sound that seems particularly cutting edge in 2019. Regardless of how I’ve rated EXID title tracks in the past, it always felt like they were pushing things forward. “Me & You” seems decidedly backward-looking.

However, while the central beat drop of “Me & You” has a very recycled feeling, the girls mostly make it work. The song has energy to spare. Its dancehall verses are a bit meandering, but EXID’s charisma steers us through the murk with an effortless sense of cool. The explosive pre-chorus takes full advantage of their vocals (avoiding the shrill arrangement that can sometimes mar their title tracks), and the chant-heavy finale really does feel big and bombastic. It also stretches across more bars than I expected, coming across as a natural evolution of the three minutes that came before it, rather than a tacked on afterthought.

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