With over 2,900 songs on my iPhone’s “K-Pop Singles” playlist, I thought it would be fun to add a bit of unpredictability to my song review posts. So as a result, we have the “Random Shuffle Review” feature.
The rules are simple. I fire up my playlist, press “shuffle,” and whatever song plays first gets the full Bias List treatment!
Year Released: 2012
Coming off a series of mega-hits, producer Shinsadong Tiger went about forming his own agency in 2011 and scouting talent for a new girl group. Given his remarkable cachet within the industry, it’s kind of surprising that EXID weren’t an out-of-the-gate hit. They gained some attention with their debut, but struggled until the viral breakthrough of 2014’s inescapable Up & Down.
That’s a shame, because the group’s 2012-13 work is quite underrated. Whoz That Girl marked their official debut at the start of 2012, and quickly established their quirky pop sound. The group has always leaned into retro influences, at times designing entire comebacks around 90’s pastiches. Girl is very much in line with what was happening in 2012-era K-pop, but its stomping electro-charged beat carries its share of nostalgic appeal.
EXID are well known for their strong vocalists, but in later years their arrangements would occasionally render their choruses a bit shrill (at least to these ears). In contrast, Whoz That Girl succeeds on a cool, confident performance that draws from the best of their voices. The verses offer a straightforward build and charismatic delivery reminiscent of peers like 2NE1 and 4Minute. The surging chorus is simple but effective, segueing into a standout hip-hop break courtesy of rapper LE. She returns later for an even better bridge, which utilizes hard-hitting breakbeats to thrilling effect. A last-moment key change keeps the song climbing as the girls rattle off some exciting power notes. Quickly after the release of Whoz That Girl, EXID would make some drastic configuration changes, losing three of its members and gaining two more. This makes the track something of an oddity in their discography, though it’s a sound they’d develop further with their next release.
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