EXO Shows Us Why Gambling is Bad (and Good) in “Lotto”

EXOLotto

Unlike most of the Kpop fandom, I did not enjoy EXO’s “Love Me Right,” “Monster,” or “Call Me Baby,” all that much, despite the fact they were incredibly acclaimed songs. In fact, EXO had completely fallen off my radar since nothing seemed to be quite as good as their first full album, XOXO. So when I heard that EXO was having a comeback with a “hip-hop” sound, I wasn’t too thrilled. Many know that hip hop as a general note is not my favorite genre out there, but I went into this song with an open mind. And, once again, I fall into the minority of people who actually love “Lotto.”

Instead of full-fledged hip hop, EXO opts for American music between 2008-2010 with the heavy use of auto tune and hip hop, almost trap beats in the background. It’s a problematic style choice, especially since it died in the United States after only two years for a reason. But, EXO surprisingly pulls this off very well. Their vocals are rich enough to begin with that the auto-tune doesn’t sound terrible, and they are able to keep the energy of the song as those voices take the lead for most of the song. The instrumental, as a result, takes the backseat while also operating as the train tracks for the song’s progression. It’s an incredibly catchy mix, and it’s one of the reasons I keep playing the song again and again.

One of the most interesting aspects of the song is actually the “cha-ching” that occurs multiple times throughout the song in strategic places, which adds to the smoky, almost dirty atmosphere the song creates throughout the song.

This atmosphere is further reinforced in the video, which is actually one of the best I’ve seen from SM Entertainment in a long while. Most of the shots here are dark and dingy – even the members look like they fit in the setting, from Chanyeol sporting a cut on his nose, to the constant sheen of sweat and disinterest the members show in the dramatic shots. The storyline is a coherent version of bad boys saving the girl, only to find out they’ve been set up and get caught by the police (take notes 24K). But what is most interesting about the video is the actual gambling we see in the video. There are only two kinds that show up throughout the video – illegal cock-fighting and poker, but the shots here reflect the disturbing atmosphere gambling can be. From the look on D.O.’s face as he watches the two birds fighting in a cage, to the way Kai puts a wad of money in a masked girl’s face on the poker table, the acting and cinematography of those shots is something to note.

EXO is finally back, and I can actually enjoy it for once. For me it was much stronger than singles in the past, and I thought they did this kind of song and video incredibly well. However, I feel like this kind of concept is also a one-trick pony, and I hope that EXO can do another experimental comeback on a different style of music I have yet to see show up in Kpop. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to replay the song for the twentieth time now, because it’s catchy as hell.

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