Call me old fashioned or behind the times even, but I’m gonna put it out there anyway. I wish disco had never died. There I’ve said it. Go ahead boo and hiss, but I’m gonna stand by what I’ve said. Disco gave the world something that many of us post-disco babies never really got to experience firsthand (except when the DJ at you uncle’s wedding suddenly break out the Bee Gees or the original ‘Kung Fu Fighting’).
Luckily we now have EXO’s rendition of Nam Jin’s ‘With You’ on the program Immortal Song to help us rediscover the magic of disco. So lower the mirror ball, light up the dance floor and put on your flares, here’s what I thought of EXO’s 70’s throw back.
Can I start by talking about how much fun this song is? Seriously, it’s just so…uh, I can’t even describe how fun this damn song – scratch that – this damn performance looks and sounds. Even Sehun can’t help but crack a couple of smiles. They’re small but they’re there.
From the first line Chen is oozing sass, Baekhyun’s cheesing it up and D.O’s a doing it like the baby boss he is. God I wish this was actually an EXO song and not just a cover, imagine the concert performances. Seriously, how many people can watch this performance and say that the boys aren’t having fun and they themselves don’t want to get up on the stage and Saturday Night Fever it up with Kai, Lay and the rest of the EXO boys.
I propose the formation of a new EXO sub-group, EXO-D(isco) – a cheesier version of EXO in tight pants, humorously tacky blazer jackets and, dare I say, a fake Afro or two. It’ll be Eunhae’s ‘Oppa, Oppa’ all over again, or like when Super Junior went Trot with Super Junior T. What do you guys think? I’m all for this, though Kris might not be (might ruin his cool galaxy-hyung image), but other than that SMent should seriously consider this idea. If the audience reaction on Immortal Song is any indication, this is a viable money-making idea.
Okay, so enough about Disco+EXO awesome, what about the singing?
Well, I haven’t heard the original song, so I can’t say anything about how EXO’s performance stacks up compared to Nam Jin, but Baekhyun, Chen, D.O. (EXO’s powerhouse trio) and Luhan deliver solid performances, though it’s a shame that none of the other ‘vocalists’ got a line or two (Xiumin didn’t come second in that singing contest for nothing). Then again Immortal Song is a competition, friendly or not, so it’s in EXO’s interest to go with their strongest vocalists, which is why it surprised me that Luhan got a descent set of lines in the song. Don’t get me wrong, I think Luhan is a great vocalist and can hold his own, but his tone is so light and airy compared to the ‘powerhouse trio’ that it kind of sticks out when Luhan sings and is a little jarring after most of the song being dominated by the Baekhyun, Chen, and D.O.
The highlight of this song/performance, at least vocally, has to be Baekhyun’s ad libs (“Hoo”, “Yeah”, “Put your hands up!”). You can tell he’s having fun with it.
Why did disco die? Seriously, how the hell did the ‘seizing and gyrating’ people call dancing in clubs now replace disco? Just watching this routine makes me want to light up a mirror ball and dig out my mother’s old Bee Gees records. Simple, upbeat and fun that’s what social dancing should be, instead we’ve got twerking. Forgive me, I’m getting nostalgic for an era of dance I never got to live.
So the moves? A great interpretation of ‘classic’ disco. All those pointed fingers and wide stances in tight pants, what self-respecting fangirl would not appreciate that. But again I digress, damn it. It’s so hard to watch this routine and look at the moves without getting carried away by how much fun the boys are having with this, particularly Xiumin busting a move up the back during the dance break (I swear it looked like he was drumming Chen’s ass for a second there).
Talking about asses, Chen sassing away shaking his hips in that dance break makes me laugh every time, and I don’t know why Sehun insists on sticking his ass out like that. No one else is sticking their ass out that far. He the same damn thing when he performed ‘Marry You’ – along with Chanyeol and Suho, the poor bastards. Oh Sehun, stop trying to draw attention to your glorious Se-booty. Fangirl hearts can’t handle it.
Overall I really like this routine, why? It doesn’t take it self seriously, even if some of the moves are camp (that ‘nodding line’ for example). The whole thing is meant to be over the top, just like those damn red pants and patterned blazers, and the boys reveled in it, particularly EXO’s beagles.
No part of the routine stood out as particularly, weak or awkward, though Kai’s solo didn’t sit with me as well as the rest of the routine. I don’t know, it just felt a little stiff compared to the rest of the routine, though the slide was cool, even if the end transition wasn’t as smooth as it could have been. (Somebody didn’t grease up the floor properly.)
The absence of Suho, Chanyeol, Tao and Kris is made up for with back up dancers, who end up spending most of the routine as ‘stage fillers’, even though I don’t think they were really necessary. There were enough members performing that they could have covered any holes left by the missing four (if that’s the reason for the back up dancers). But then again they don’t detract from the routine, so I guess they can stay. Though I would have liked to have seen OT12 perform this.
Xiumin owned this performance for me. Right from the very beginning when he pranced on with D.O. and Luhan with that stupid grin on his face, I was sold. If there was one thing I was constantly told back when I used to compete was that you had to enjoy yourself on stage (or at least look like you were) if you wanted the audience to enjoy themselves. This routine is proof of that and Xiumin is it’s poster boy. He had me smiling from the moment he entered after Kai’s solo. Boy danced like he didn’t care what people thought of him and made noona proud, even if he didn’t get any singing lines.
As far as I’m concerned, Xiumin owned that dance – breaking loose in the dance break and leading the ‘wide leg march’ with his head cocked back like a boss. Sure Kai was smooth as usual and Lay’s dancing was sharp and on point, but Xiumin just felt in his element and so comfortable with the choreography that he could have fun with it (unlike his performance in ‘It’s still a dark night’, where I felt like he was thinking too much and at times unsure of the choreography). I just wish the choreographer had given him more time at the front of the group for this routine than he got, maybe even the opening solo. Sure Kai was good, but it would be nice to see what Xiumin could do with a solo, particularly in a routine that he was so comfortable with.
I have to say I was severely disappointed by the lack of mirror balls in this performance and there were no Afros either. A disco song calls for disco mirror balls, at least one Afro, and maybe a pair of flares big enough to put John Travolta to shame. But everything else about this performance was enjoyable, so I guess I can forgive them, but if EXO-D(isco) actually ever becomes a thing, I expect Chanyeol to be rocking flares and an Afro; Kris to be sporting the widest lapels the kpop industry has ever seen; and Suho to be dressed in the most shamelessly tacky blazer jacket ever made. I will not be happy with anything less than this.
SMent you know what I want, now deliver.
EXO x Disco is now one of my musical OTPs and nothing is going to stop me praying that it will one day become cannon. EXO-D(isco) will become a thing if I have any say about it, but I don’t so it will never happen. I’ll just have to keep watching this video and dream.
Needless to say I really enjoyed this performance and secretly wish that it was an EXO song and not a cover. EXO-D(isco) for the win!
For more Kpop Music & Choreo Reviews: “Burn the Floor”
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this review are those of the writer, Reiyezerwyre, and come from their own experience as a dancer. Thus, Reiyezerwyre does not claim that the opinions expressed in this review are authoritative in anyway.
About the Author: Reiyezerwyre has approximately fifteen years dance experience – thirteen of which have been spent involved in regular competition – in styles including, but not limited to, Ballet, Jazz, Hip hop, Tap, Contemporary/Modern dance and Traditional Japanese dancing.