EXO Serves Up Reggae-EDM Hybrid 'Ko Ko Bop': Watch

EXO, "Ko Ko Bop"
Courtesy Photo

EXO, "Ko Ko Bop"

Over half a year since their last Korean single, K-pop behemoth EXO dropped their latest single “Ko Ko Bop” on Tuesday (July 18).

The lead song from their newly released The War album, “Ko Ko Bop” is a breezy dance tune from the popular K-pop boy band. Blending reggae rhythms and bass-driven dancehall and trap elements, the single is a smooth summer bop.

A sultry track about getting down and dancing without constraint, “Ko Ko Bop” features lyrics co-written by members Chen, Chanyeol and Baekhyun. The shimmering vocals are overall relaxed, driven by a soft wailing that recalls EXO’s 2013 single “Wolf,” while aggressive raps and sharp dance breaks propel the song to its end with a final proclamation of the titular phrase.

Like “Cherry Bomb” released in June by SM Entertainment labelmates NCT 127, EXO’s latest received inspiration from a children’s rhyme: “Ko Ko Bop” derives its title and main refrain from the clapping game “Down Down Baby.”

Both the song and its music video feature EXO as an eight-member act without the group's ninth member Lay, who is busy with his solo work in China. As a Chinese citizen, Lay is one of the few K-pop stars still able to promote in his home country despite ongoing tensions between South Korea and China.

The video for “Ko Ko Bop” is a hallucinogenic trip induced by rainbow-colored candies stamped with EXO’s hexagonal logo. In the surreal clip, tiny thunderstorms roll over cups and giant hamburgers soar through the sky, a la Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, as EXO sing, frolic and show off a bit of their body-roll-focused choreography.

“Ko Ko Bop” is one of nine songs from EXO’s new album. Their first album since last December’s seasonal EP For Life, The War is a slickly produced cohesive collection filled with a variety of sonic styles, beginning with the electro-pop jam “The Eve” and concluding with the orchestral midtempo frenzy of “Going Crazy.”

Watch the music video for “Ko Ko Bop” below: