EXO is an extremely popular Chinese-South Korean boy band formed in 2011. They’ve managed to gain broad appeal in Asia with their catchy beats and diverse cast, with members from both China and South Korea (wildly popular Chinese pop star Kris Wu is a former member). In “Growl,” the band showcases a darker, more masculine side in a way that is just so 2013.
The song, which has both a Korean and Chinese version (but only one music video), begins with the singers telling all of us just how dangerous and wild they supposedly are.
With every minute that passes
I become more wild and aggressive
最后厉害的男人 得到女人香 (that’s right)
In the end the most powerful gets the girl
EXO is trekking well covered boy-band territory here; most young, all-male groups have at least one song, if not a whole album, where they put their machismo and bravado on full display. It’s a proven, if not somewhat misogynistic, ploy to give a sense of danger to an otherwise vanilla boy band.
Unsurprisingly, the boys in the video aren’t as wanton as the lyrics suggest; they simply dance in suits in a basement/warehouse somewhere. But it’s fun — just like the song itself. Sometimes, with pop, you just need to ignore the themes and problematic undertones and just enjoy the beat.