By Kendra Caesar
EXID are mind-readers. Either that, or they send us subliminal messages through their music. All we know is that after the release of their latest title track, “덜덜덜(DDD)“, left us shook. This comeback was much more special than the five members just putting out another mini-album.
In late 2016, EXID, shortened for Exceed in Dreaming, the leader and main vocal Solji was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and immediately withdrew from group activities. It was a shock to EXID’s fans, called Leggos, and the members as her presence was greatly missed during performances. Commenters were quick to claim that EXID would start to decline in popularity, but the thing they didn’t remember about EXID is that they’ve been through this situation before — not necessarily being down one member for activities, but being told they wouldn’t succeed.
The last major time it happened was after “위아래 (Up & Down)” was released; the group was on the brink of disbandment before Hani’s fancam went viral and saved them. So what do EXID do when faced with difficulties? They put out albums like Eclipse and then Full Moon.
Eclipse was the first album to only feature members LE, Hani, Hyerin, and Jeonghwa while Solji was recuperating. That mini-album included solos from LE and Hani respectively, a duet with Hyerin and Jeonghwa, and three four-member tracks that explored a more relaxed, R&B-influenced sound.
The idea of the album being named “Eclipse” was to connote the image of five members temporarily obscured by a shadow, thus their sound would be more mature and darker. Fans and critics of the album were impressed with its quality, highlighting Hyerin who held her own and alerted listeners to her role as lead vocal in the group.
Additionally, Jeonghwa showed notable singing improvement as evident by the amount of time she got in each song and how her voice perfectly complemented each part she was given. All of this, and yet Solji’s vocal prowess was still greatly missed. But never fear: the shadow of the eclipse has left and the bright light that is Solji’s voice returned, which makes Full Moon the perfect name for this latest mini-album. EXID continues to carry the mature sound from Eclipse but integrates Solji’s voice effortlessly, as if she hadn’t missed a beat.
Their title track, “덜덜덜 (DDD)”, which conveniently gives the listener goosebumps as soon as the beat drops, is titled after a Korean onomatopoeia for shaking or quivering, which the narrator mentions in the song is what the man they’re sick of is continuously doing as she shuts down his excuses. This is another power anthem that combines the line distribution of “Up & Down” and “Ah Yeah”, and different beats swerving us left and right like in “Hot Pink” and “L.I.E” to somehow create this fresh sound that’s instantly catchy and funky.
The rest of the album maintains the tempo that “DDD” sets: the following track, “Too Good to Me”, is the only other song featuring all five members, and is an instant throwback to ’90s house. Solji brings honey-like vocals to solo track “꿈에 (Dreamer)”, and youngest Jeonghwa absolutely shines on her own in “Alice“, a deep house fantasy trip down the rabbit hole.
LE and Hani team up this time for some fun with the ’90s R&B “Weeknd”, and last but certainly not least, Hyerin closes out the album with an emotional ballad perfect for the rainy days of autumn and winter, “서툰 이별 (Foolish)”.
Ever since the release of their first full-length album, Street, in 2016, EXID has made it a mission to freshen up their sound and explore genres beyond their surface. A song isn’t just “EDM” but deep house, or not just “R&B” but neo-soul, among other examples. LE has taken the reins on production, composing, and writing for a lot of the group’s work, which is an effort that definitely didn’t go unnoticed with music show wins and critical acclaim. She pays close attention to the members’ strengths and plays up to them, particularly when it comes to which genres to explore, which results in these rich and complex tracks that create a whole EXID album with no filler.
It’s a testament to the members’ ability to evolve and LE’s ability to produce according to their strengths that their albums are consistently great to excellent and keeps us wanting to hear more. And now that Solji is getting healthier, we hope there will be more! After all, a full moon means a new cycle…
Let us know your favorite tracks off of Full Moon below! Are you excited that Solji is back?