EXID's 2018 single, I Love You, marks the comeback of their vocalist and leader Solji, who was absent from previous comebacks due to complications with her health. The five-member group returns with their new single, I Love You, a single that harkens to the themes of 80's disco and pop culture with the overly-engineered synths, VCR effects, polaroids, extreme shots of saturation and color, as well as the amazing vocal performances from the girls.
I've been a big fan of EXID and am glad to see Solji is back for this new single. Today I'll be going through the single and analysing the composition, instrumentals, vocals, as well as my general opinion on the song as whole.
I actually have a physical edition of this particular K-pop release and have acquired the 1411Kbps lossless FLAC version of this song, since I love EXID so much and bought the album! I'll be listing the timestamps of I Love You through what I can see foobar2000 is reporting.
0:00 - Immediately the song begins with a very retro composition with a low synth, kickdrums, cowbells, and a fervid vocalist repeating "I love you" in a catchy and repetitive way. EXID are known for doing these repetitive intros and choruses so it is not surprise that they incorporate one here, and it works great as it gives a sense of intensity as to what is to come next.
0:18 - Hani's vocals are so present and warm, they're accompanied perfectly with the background composition and the flow is fantastic. I love the coldness of her voice complimenting the 80's theme of the song.
0:35 - The transition from Hani's verse to LE's rapping is amazing, it goes from this low and dark composition followed by a synth to turn the beat from warm & seductive to urban & hip, the beat picks up an octave along with the introduction of the cowbell. The kickdrums appear to have a lot more echo and body about them as well especially with LE's subvocals and echo effect underneath her vocals. LE's voice is naturally sexy and having double her vocals and a high-end beat is a great combination.
0:53 - Hyelin's vocals are amazingly presented here with the exponentionally higher-toned background composition with now super bubbly sparkly tones contrasted by the low-end bass, this is truly something I would associate with 80's disco. Hyelin's voice here sounds so beautiful and fits the composition so well.
1:00 - Solji's vocals are equally as beautiful as Hyelin's, the composition remains the same which emphasises the differences in their voices and focuses the listener on their own voices instead of the composition, which is difficult to pull off given the 80's influence and the emphasis on the poppy instrumentals, but they do it perfectly, especially when they have such trained vocals and singing. I also love how Solji's high notes are in perfect timing with the times in the instrumental where the synth reaches its apex. Great compositional design.
1:11 - I once again absolutely love how Solji's "I love you" lines are perfectly harmonised with the instrumentals, it adds body and elevates her already-stellar vocals so much and I love that. In fact, the remainder of the chorus also gives the members perfectly in-time synth elevations. I love this compositional choice and it really gives a retro 80's vibe.
1:44 - This simple kickdrum and synth combination to go with Hani's cold yet seductive whispery vocals is great, the vocals have a nice reverb around them and gives full attention towards her amazing vocal performance.
1:52 - LE's rapping comes in again and it's once again fantastic, her high notes are complimented by a vibrant echo which gives her voice some body and elevates her song above the composition, contributing to the vibe of the song.
2:01 - Similarly to the first verse, there's not a lot that's going on composition-wise, but Jeonghwa's vocals are amazingly vibrant and complimented by an echo effect, same applies to Hani's vocals later in the verse with her once again sexy whispery voice.
2:44 - This is where the song reaches its climax and its a happy one, the chorus' amazing hook combined with Solji's adlibs finish the song off so perfectly. What a great ending to an amazing song.
This is easily going into my top K-pop songs of 2018. The song is rich with talented vocals, amazing instrumentals, and even better composition and producer choices. Hyelin and Solji's vocals compliment each other perfectly, LE's rapping is as usual on point and elevated by the quicker tempo of the instrumentals, and Hani's luxurious vocals were a gift to the ears.
If nobody had told me (and mostly because I was born in '00) I would have never guessed this was a 2018 song, the song screams a time before EDM and productions heavily favoring electronics rather than raw vocal power and of course synths.
I love that EXID are not afraid to break boundaries of what music should sound like, or conform to the usual bubbly songs found in mainstream K-pop. EXID's I Love You is a perfect example of how music can be expressed by anyone and not locked down to a particular theme, pattern, or genre. This retro song is truly a work of art and the girls have done a fantastic job in making it.