Finally making their official comeback today is EXO-SC with 1 Billion Views. This new track is part of the EXO unit’s first studio length album, which also shares the same name as the song. The release of the music video and album today comes after EXO-SC teased us with the pre-release single, Telephone. Both Chanyeol and Sehun also had solo music videos (Nothin‘ and On Me, respectively) at the end of the week. I have yet to review them and hope to get to them soon. But we are hear to listen to 1 Billion Views, so let’s get to that first.
Right from the very start, I can already say that 1 Billion Views fairs better than EXO-SC’s pre-release Telephone. Though, it still does suffer some of the issues I had previously noted in the Telephone interview. Let’s start on the positive that 1 Billion Views had. The chill R&B instrumental had a more of a beat to it, which was quite nice. With this kick in the instrumental, the song is more likable. I would gladly listen to the song given that there is more colour to the song. Their vocal work, in this instance, was quite good. The chorus featured really smooth melodies and I really liked how the vocals and rap segue-way into each other. Their harmonies during the verses was definitely one of the stronger moments of the song. I also enjoyed Moon’s featuring towards the end of the song, as her vocals do compliment the style that EXO-SC went for. However, as mentioned at the start, there are some issues that EXO-SC just haven’t fixed up. First, the song suffers from that ‘more’ concept (i.e. I wanted more). I think we all know of the potential that Chanyeol and Sehun have. 1 Billion Views (nor any of their unit releases so far) just doesn’t seem to capitalise on this, which results in the song coming off dull-ish. Even though I praise the instrumental earlier, I also wanted more from this element. I wanted it to be rougher and a lot meaner, that way the song could get to that style that I wished for the duo to go with. I get it that EXO-SC’s style is more chilled than your average Korean release, but I find that this song also lacks character. Thirdly, I find the song to lack memorable hooks and lines. They were heading in the right direction, just it didn’t feel like there was enough. The lack of character and hooks in 1 Billion Views do contribute to a dullness. But it isn’t as bad as previous tracks, given the instrumental and its more positive aspects that I mentioned above.
The music video is set at an arcade that would be best described as a hole in the wall. It also incorporates a few modern elements including virtual reality and Instagram live broadcasts. I also noticed that there were a few viral trends hinted throughout the video, such as the In My Feelings trend. All of these elements seemed to make sense, as the duo sings and raps about thinking of their lover for the billionth time. It was a nice video to watch overall. I found the editing to be suitable for the song, smooth and sleek. No choppiness, which I am thankful for. I also note that some of the post-production effects that were added to the video should have made the video feel choppy (such as the coloured static in the background). But it ended up being quite smooth, overall.
What we saw in the music video choreography-wise seems to be quite good. Unfortunately, we don’t see much of the choreography (i.e. the verses), so I am intrigued to know what the duo have up their sleeves. But if the chorus of the music video was to be the basis of my thought, I think this will be a pleasant routine suitable for the music.
Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10