Taking all her singles into account, I feel like AleXa has been let down by her material. She’s talented and charismatic, and her videos surround her with an unlimited supply of effects and eye candy. But when you strip away all that gloss, the songs have been lacking in personality. Because of this, I was excited to see AleXa tackle a more upbeat concept. New single Xtra lets her showcase her appeal in a way we haven’t seen before. And, this proves to be a double-edged sword.
I’m a big fan of the vibe Xtra is seeking to accomplish. Rather than cut and paste retro synths, the track finds another way to embrace nostalgia through old school breakbeats and a groovy hip-hop base. K-pop has turned to this sound palette many times before, and it almost always results in a fun track. Apart from the squeaky refrain that opens Xtra, the instrumental goes down easy.
But, the songwriters can’t seem to let a good thing thrive on its own, injecting a series of eye-rolling English lyrics. Phrases like “on my burger and my fries, I was extra cheese yah!” think they’re being clever, but they just sound silly and immediately take me out of the song. Worse yet, they make Xtra feel like parody. Goofiness can work in K-pop, but I don’t think this track sells the energy. Thankfully, Xtra builds toward a satisfying chorus where AleXa gets to stretch her vocals a bit. The song could have done with more of this funky melody in place of its “excuse me, I need a doggy bag” cringiness.