I’ve been pretty hard on EXO-SC’s music thus far, but that’s just because I adore EXO’s discography and it’s been difficult to see any sub-unit get sucked into the dreaded trap-rap wormhole. I get that SC is designed to be different than EXO’s core style, but hip-hop can be so much more diverse than what Chanyeol and Sehun delivered across the majority of their debut album. Thankfully, 1 Billion Views (10억뷰) swerves toward the funkier side of the genre, enlisting a groovy disco beat and forgoing trap hi-hats completely.
This is an instant plus for me, and finally lets the guys shine on a track that feels more timeless than trendy. 1 Billion Views’ instrumental is all hazy synths, wah wah guitar and kicking percussion. If I had it my way, the production would have bumped up the intensity and given us a full-on funk workout, but I don’t think that’s the approach EXO-SC are going for. After all, it’s not really “cool” to try too hard. Instead, 1 Billion Views coasts along its rhythm, giving the duo plenty of space to deliver a sing-song hip-hop flow that feels refreshing — if repetitive. Their voices are at their best when layered over each other for a breezy, appealing pre-chorus.
1 Billion Views’ actual chorus is more vibe than melody. The song takes the easy route by resorting to a simplistic refrain rather than fleshed-out hook, but that laid-back approach fits with the general feel of this sub-unit. Female vocalist Moon joins the guys for an all-too-brief segment towards the track’s end, and probably should have been brought in earlier to lend added texture to Views’ chorus. Even so, I’m happy to take this easygoing disco funk over another lifeless trap “bop.” At least there’s some genuine groove here.
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