When news of Hani and Junghwa leaving Banana Culture Entertainment hit, even more eyes turned to their comeback with We and “Me & You”. Though members and the agency have refuted claims of disbandment, “Me & You” may be the only 5-membered music video we could be getting for a while. Receiving great attention ever since the first teaser dropped, EXID’s latest release had been especially anticipated, more so after the release of the catchy preceding title track, “I Love You”.
Composed by Shinsadong Tiger, Beverly Kidz, and EXID rapper LE, “Me & You” develops a unique sound, just as “I Love You” did, and steps away from EXID’s usual musicality which was seen in tracks like “Ah Yeah” or “Up & Down”. Following the rising industry trend of having a largely instrumental chorus, though, “Me & You” does little be particularly exceptional. The song definitely tries its best to be a blast of pompous energy with grandiose instrumentation, but falls short of its intention. Where EXID’s previous title tracks seemed to be an advancement in their discography, “Me & You” seems to be stagnant in its ability to develop EXID’s sound.
The stagnation is notably due to the execution of the chorus; the fundamental beat drop has a recycled feel to it, and the transition from the pre-chorus to the beat drop and eventually to the chorus is underwhelming. The percussions in the pre-chorus are wonderful. When combined with the intensifying vocals, they build up to give way to a bombastic chorus, only for listeners to be given a mostly electronic instrumental with a lack of vocals. The contrast in both intensity and instrumentals creates a dissatisfactory dissonance.
That being said, once one gets used to the beat drop, the song is pretty enjoyable. There are various redeeming qualities to the song: the composing and delivery of the pre-choruses and the chant-heavy finale that leaves a lasting impression.
Even though the repetitive hook makes a significant portion of the track, “Me & You” is balanced through the vocal/rap-focused verses. The pre-chorus — simmering with potential grandiloquent energy — plays a good hand by taking full advantage of EXID’s vocals, their strongest asset. The transition to the raps are done seamlessly well, as the base instrumental stays consistent and the major tempo changes are from the variations between the raps and vocals. This removes notions of disjointedness from the song.
The best part of “Me & You” is definitely the ending. It’s exactly what one would hope for from the song and the energy it aims to exude. I just wish the same intensity could have been carried to the earlier choruses. The chant-like finale emanates a lively, dynamic and powerful atmosphere and makes one want to get up on their feet and dance. It stretches across a few bars, and thus feels like a natural conclusion to the song, instead of a short, awkward hyped-up ending to save the song, an error many often make. The finale makes the initial 2 minutes and 40 seconds worth it.
Junghwa’s reiterated emphasis on “bam”, paired with the timed, pulsing instrumental elevates the outro; the instrumental during the finale is a combination of percussions and electronic sounds, which makes the transition to the outro choral instrumental more natural and impactful. The pacing of the vocals and the instrumental is also optimal to progress into the heavier chorus.
However, there’s no doubt that music video plays a compelling role in the overall delivery of a song. If you just listen to “Me & You”, it comes off as quite memorable and catchy. The music video, though, cancels out most of the impact the song would have had as a standalone. The song itself is pretty simple in its meaning:
No more me and you, this is it.
Who are you? We’re not a couple.
I’m not curious about you anymore, I’m good
Yet, for a break-up song, all we get is a few seconds of footage conveying the specific message. Only Hani is shown carrying a gun while wearing a wedding dress, which could be interpreted as the end of a serious relationship. Other than that, there isn’t much substance to the video at all.
Had it only been a video of them dancing on different sets and various solo shots of them singing, there would have been lesser complaints. But the fact that the music video opens with black-and-white frames of the members looking back at the camera with sombre looks — all clad in wedding dresses and flowers held down dejectedly, instead of upwards hopefully — suggests the potential of a light narrative. Moreover, Hani starts off the first verse while unzipping her clutch and revealing a gun, and that sets expectations of a plot, even if just a slight one.
The contrast between the monochromatic scenes and the bright red sets also feel slightly jarring and discrepant. It’s almost as if two different videos were joint together to create footage that was long enough for the track. On top of the obvious colour difference, there are neither similar shots nor similar camerawork for smooth transition from one set to the other. During the first few choruses, there are also some fast, erratic shots that seem out of place that do not emphasise the uptempo song or bringing artistic value to the video.
The combination of the instrumental of the chorus, the choral choreography, and the camerawork is what’s the most disheartening. The choreography during the chorus seems inadequately matched to the supposed energetic feel of the song itself. Unlike previous title tracks, where obvious movements accentuated the point dances, it’s the little steps in “Me & You” that are supposed to highlight the instrumental beats. However, due to the fast pace and subtle movements, the choreography feels underwhelming. The quick cuts of bridal dresses and florals don’t help either.
The music video is saved by scenes of the members in neon outfits. Despite the camera being “shaky”, the eccentricity of the camerawork makes viewers focus on the instrumental and feel the rave-like quality that the final set aims to bring. The direction captures the stronger points of the choreography, such as the hip-sway during the repeated “no me and me and me and, you”. With just neon outfits, dark lights, and appropriate camerawork and choreography, the final set is made engaging. It’s probably what helps to make the finale that much more exciting too. The darkened set is also smart in hiding LE’s absence from the dance scenes due to her ankle injury.
Another aspect that can be valued is the diversity of wedding outfits: from dresses to blazers to pants. Thank you, ladies. I appreciate the non-traditional looks of wedding outfits.That said, though, Hyerim’s use of a Maang Tikka-inspired headpiece does feel iffy; a Maang Tikka is a South Asian headpiece, usually integral for an Indian bride’s wedding ensemble. I wish it hadn’t been used at all, but I’m going to close one eye and take it that it’s borderline contextually accepted since they’re all brides, or were meant to be.
Overall, EXID and their creative team definitely made strong points with some aspects: solid pre-choruses and instrumentals, and a decent music video. However, pitting “Me & You” against previous releases and EXID’s full potential, the track and video seem underwhelming and dissatisfactory. It’s a shame, honestly, since a title track is meant to attract casual listeners to the album. As mediocre as “Me & You” is, We is just as not. It boasts great songs like “The Vibe” and “How You Doin’”, so even if the title track and video didn’t appeal to you, give the album a chance.