I was no fan of EPEX’s debut, but the official description for first comeback Do 4 Me caught my attention. The song is described as taking influence from Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust, INXS’s Need You Tonight and Dua Lipa’s Break My Heart. That’s a musical trilogy that aims straight for my heart, and I love that the group’s team reached back as far as Queen and INXS for inspiration. In reality, Do 4 Me feels most like a Break Your Heart retread, but I’ll take it all the same.
This sound represents a pretty hard swerve from June’s Lockdown. I guess it fleshes out the storytelling EPEX are trying to portray. A desire to party after quarantine is something we can all relate to (or long for!), and it’s nice to hear the guys cut loose and offer something shamelessly upbeat. Like Dua’s song, Do 4 Me is built upon a sturdy bass loop that pulses with great dancefloor energy. The pre-chorus opens space as disco strings join the fray, and then we drop into a chorus that directly apes Break Your Heart’s bass breakdown. Pulling from Western influences is nothing new for K-pop. I’m just glad EPEX borrowed from a song and artist I happen to adore.
Like so many of their new-gen peers, the group’s biggest struggle is musical identity. The guys are solid performers, but there’s a lack of diversity in their vocal tones. Do 4 Me is bursting with character, and would have absolutely exploded with a more dynamic vocal line. I place all the blame on agencies when it comes to this flaw. They should be thinking about how their individual members’ voices blend and compliment each other. Instead, we’ve got a song that sounds as if it was performed by the same person all the way through. Luckily, Do 4 Me‘s upbeat appeal is strong enough to succeed despite this concern.