Exo’s “Growl” practice video + choreography
YOOOOOOO this is what I’ve been waiting forrrrrrrrrrrasdklf;jalskdfjalskdf. (Watch the practice video here.)
Overall I’m pretty indifferent about the song. There are some nice elements — the electric guitar, the chorus, the division of singing lines, Chanyeol’s rap break — but it’s not genius, and if you listen to it enough without watching the performance that goes with it, it gets boring pretty quickly.
But! Exo doesn’t need genius at this point. So far, they’ve been so esoteric a group that this is exactly the kind of radio-friendly, middling, run-of-the-mill dance track that they need to gain a bigger, more casual audience.
And “Growl” is exactly the kind of song built more for the eyes than anything, and having 12 people perform it doesn’t detract from it in a way I feared it would. Contrast that with “Wolf,” which was a song that was already nonsensical and super boy band-pop-y, and then made even more obvious and worse by the performances. There was no cohesion, it was chaotic and frantic. It was also super fussy — the wild movements, the sharp ad-libs — and all these combined together attack the senses unpleasantly.
“Growl,” however, is the complete opposite. It’s bouncy and playful without being stressful. More than anything though is really the dance. The switch-offs in routine between one set of six and another set of six is like a change of scenes in a theatre performance, and there’s a very musical performance feel to it. (Just like 2PM’s “Come Back When You Hear This Song” was!) The performance gives off a nice youthful vibe and feels like one of those low-stakes scenes in “You Got Served,” lol.
The dance itself isn’t overly complicated, but there are enough elements in it that make the overall package interesting and engaging. The formations and movements alternate between simple and overly detailed and finicky, which is nice! It gives you the chance to learn more upon repeat watches; it doesn’t lay it on thick.
To map it out a little: a lot of the movements in the verses are pretty straight-forward (spinning, hopping, pelvic thrusts, finger snaps, just five people “hanging out” around whoever is singing), but the choruses get much quicker and the sounds denser, which also triggers the same thing in the dancing (snappy legwork and armwork, getting down on their knees, dancing super in-sync to the beat of the song). The transition between the first verse and the second verse is also great, if not a wee bit detailed: the first group gets down on one knee, flips out their other leg, and then land on their other knee. They make their exit by sliding up and out, and the group in the back bounces up. So fun! Also, them playing with their hats! Kris the hat waiter :D
And then everything about the rap break is epic: SeKai getting their freak on with each other, the perfect triangle formation with 11 members, their half-drop-half-twirl of perfection. I would love for someone with a dance background to tell me what the f that movement is. The beat during the rap is also nice and clean, it sounds really old school hip hop.
I think the bridge is suuuuuper lame and kills the momentum of the dance a little bit with LuBaekSuChen filing out like slow, regal pageant queens, but it’s okay, my enthusiasm for this song’s choreography cannot be killed!!!
I’m so relieved they finally get to do a routine like this. It’s so fresh and age-appropriate for them. They really needed a song and a routine that kinda just lets them be boys. “Mama” forced them to fake being disgruntled and displeased with society, and the song’s overall concept kind of overwhelmed the choreography that came with it. And then “Wolf” required them to be more abstract and wild than they had the performance skills for. This is the perfect light hip hop routine that fits most of their sensibilities and dancing capabilities.
I think the same about this song and its choreo like I did for “Black Pearl” and its rap break: the unrelenting pace of the song forces all of them to be on top of their shit as dancers. So Tao and Chanyeol did really well with their raps in “Black Pearl,” but I attribute that to the beat of the song forcing them to practice the own rhythm, flow, and punches of their lines. Similarly with “Growl,” you need to have your moves down pat if you don’t want to make your team look bad because the pace is that unforgiving. Kris is a really good example of someone who did really well with this choreography: the beats are so snappy that he literally has no time to let his long limbs hang awkwardly and not keep up. (I mean, seriously, what the hell is that.)
Also? The song just has a better dancing beat than any of their other songs did. You’re never going to really JAM to “Wolf” or “Mama” or “History.”
SeKaiXing did SO WELL. I’m so impressed and in love.