The Korean entertainment industry has been virtually inactive since the Sewol ferry disaster, but things have slowly started picking up again as of this month. The first major music release since the tragedy belongs to EXO, who finally dropped their 2nd mini-album yesterday after it was delayed by almost a month following the Sewol incident.
The album's title track, "Overdose," was produced by American hitmakers The Underdogs, who in addition to working with Chris Brown and Britney Spears, were also behind Girls' Generation's recent hit, "Mr. Mr." While The Underdogs are from the States and "Overdose" is a hip-hop song underneath all the gloss, it's still a very K-pop take on the genre of urban music -- making it bigger, catchier, and more complex than it would be had an American artist recorded it.
There's a lot going on in "Overdose," from blasts of trap-style 808s to Guitar Hero riffs and robotic swells that sound like old Transformers dancing. It's organized chaos with one foot in the world of hip-hop and the other stuck in bubblegum, like the kind of song Justin Bieber should be recording at this point in his career as he tries to make the transition from teen idol to legitimate superstar.
Like all EXO songs, the lyrics are tailored to the 660,000 fan girls that have already pre-ordered the album, with EXO once again singing about chasing after a crush -- they've just replaced the animal metaphors with drug ones. Considering that it only took 10 hours for the official music video to hit 1 million views, EXO's carefully-crafted plan to take over from Super Junior and TVXQ as Asia's biggest boy band is clearly working.