When writing about EXO’s excellent album track Gravity, I mentioned that I never judge their albums before hearing the repackage. After all, some of the group’s most iconic singles (Growl, Love Me Right) were the products of repackages. Even last year’s high-energy Power improved The War album by giving it an extra shot of anthemic heft. So as much as I enjoyed November’s Tempo, I was hoping it would eventually be paired with a more upbeat title track. Instead, Love Shot echoes much of what we’ve heard from SM artists this year. It’s solid, but lacks the kind of impact that groups like EXO used to deliver each and every time they made a comeback.
Love Shot’s biggest draw is its vocal arrangement. The guys sound fantastic, and the layering on the chorus is lush and exciting. But impressive vocals are par for the course when it comes to EXO. You could hand them any style of track and get a reliably polished performance. Taking this aspect out of the equation, I’m not sure there’s enough here to mark Love Shot as anything more than a solid b-side. Its instrumental holds a few effective tricks, like the dramatic percussion that punctuates the pre-chorus, but feels oddly subdued for a song that was described as a “dance track.”
Ironically, my biggest gripe with Love Shot is also its strongest moment. Its chanted, chorus-esque hook is another example of underdeveloped melody taking the place of what should have been a robust refrain. This segment feels more like a pre-chorus, promising a secondary hook to really sell the song. Instead, Love Shot kind of lurches from moment to moment, never really finding a climax. The track was composed by much of the same team who wrote NCT Dream’s We Go Up, which suffered from a similar lack of melodic imagination. This pattern makes me hope SM Entertainment will throw their weight behind a new crop of composers next year. Love Shot is certainly no Lotto, but the group deserved a more memorable song for such a momentous, pre-military-enlistment comeback.
Exactly my response. Instead of being overwhelmed like I was with their previous releases, I was just whelmed. At least I didn’t automatically hate it, like I did with Lotto. Love Shot’s strongest parts are the verses. I’d like see exo do something goofy and fun, like Power with a bit more silliness. We had a funky, bed-squeaky comeback and then another sexy repackage. I know they’re good at sexy, I want a change of pace. Thanks for this review!
I’m curious, what did you think of the other repackaged tracks?
I think Trauma is pretty solid, though I’m not yet sure if it’s on “buried treasure” level. Wait is a fine vocal-driven ballad, the likes of which we’ve heard from EXO quite a lot this time of year.
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When I clicked on this I was like oh how cool he’s going to have the same response he always does with EXO repackages…how wrong I was!
hahaha Tempo is the first EXO song in a long time to not even make my playlist but this is already at the top. Its got a slow sexy groove and the production is excellent. It’s more like The Eve as a fully realised comeback to me. This doesn’t stray into NCT territory as its got a nastier feel. I find this the superior repackage and I think hilariously too KokoBop is definitely top 3 EXO songs for me and found Power to be generic and treaded territory. It sounds like it belongs on Chris Brown’s Forever album. It’s pleasant but I found Kokobop to me a bit more mesmerising.
We agree on so many things about EXO, just not the finer points haha
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