With the exception of last year’s Lotto, EXO‘s repackaged title tracks have always been stronger than the release that preceded them. This trend continues with Power, even if the song is ultimately too tame to rank among their absolute best material. Most fans will likely be discussing this comeback’s hyper-colorful, self-referential music video more than the actual song, but listening to Power apart from its visuals is crucial. Without all the manic sound effects laid over the top, the track is much easier to appreciate.
Produced by LDN Noise, Power is one of the most straightforward EDM releases SM Entertainment has given us in awhile. But with EXO’s more recent title tracks being anything but straightforward, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes all you really want is a solid, energy-boosting sing-along guaranteed to pump up a crowd. Power certainly fits the bill, propelled by an unrelenting electro beat that recalls old-school Daft Punk just as strongly as current dance music. There are no tempo-shifting breakdowns or genre mash-ups to muddle the efficiency of Power‘s party-minded attitude, and that’s surprising given LDN Noise’s tendency to experiment with sounds.
To be honest, a little more risk-taking would have bolstered Power‘s overall effect. There’s no doubt that it’s a rollicking, insanely catchy ride, but taken as a whole, it feels less dynamic than expected. By filling its space so completely and uniformly all the way through, the song misses the opportunity to build towards a proper climax. The guys have already untethered themselves from any sense of subtlety this time around, so why not cram the track full of as much bombast as possible? I’m thinking of an example like TVXQ‘s Catch Me from 2012, which was also heavily EDM-influenced. That track felt monumental because its compelling structure told a story. Power is just one long thumping of sledgehammer dance beats without reprieve. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it results in one of the best k-pop singles we’ve heard in weeks. But given some tweaking, it could have been a masterpiece.