Although EXO debuted in Japan last year with a reworking of Korean track Love Me Right, Coming Over marks their first original single recorded in Japanese. In general, SM groups have a strong track record when it comes to their j-pop releases, and given that EXO is currently the agency’s most successful act, one would expect Coming Over to be a momentous pop moment.
The reality is that it is… and it isn’t. On its own, the song is a strong slice of funk-influenced dance pop. It fits right in with the lighter side of the group’s sound, bouncing forward on a delicious riff of rhythm guitar and a driving, high octane drum beat. When the chorus hits, with its swirl of brass and layered vocals, it punches with the kind of unbridled energy that marks the very best pop songs. So why, then, does the track fail to make as big an influence as most of EXO’s Korean singles?
I think it’s mainly due to Coming Over‘s melody, which is serviceable but not particularly groundbreaking. It’s an odd choice to kick off the song with an extended rap segment rather than the expected melodic verse. To a certain degree, it disorients the listener and actually makes the second verse sound like a bit of a throwaway, as it doesn’t measure up to the energy of the initial rap. The chorus is strong, if simple, but it’s forced to stand on its own without the support of an equally effective verse, pre-chorus or bridge. Coming Over gets by on sheer energy, and the fact that the guys are so dang good at delivering this specific brand of euphoric funk pop, but it’s not a patch on modern classics like Love Me Right and Call Me Baby.