Popping Cherries: A Newcomer’s Take on Exo’s “Wolf”
It’s been a few weeks since Exo dropped their comeback single, “Wolf.” And while K-Pop listeners either really love the song or really hate the song, sometimes our opinions are smothered in bias. So I got two of my good friends to watch the “Wolf” MV and give their honest opinions about it. 24 year-old Louisiana native Matthew, who’s already done a “Popping Cherries” with B.A.P’s “One Shot” and 28 year-old New Yorker Jen, who is totally new to the K-Pop world, join me in this howling edition of Popping Cherries.
Salima: This is Exo’s comeback after an entire year. Exo is a group from the biggest entertainment company in Korea and they had fans before they even debuted. They came out with 23 teaser videos. It’s 12 boys.
Jen: Are they hot?
Matthew: From what you’ve shown me about K-Pop, the guys usually look like girls.
Salima: *Ignores Matthew* After a year of their fans waiting for them to comeback, they came out with a song called “Wolf.” This is it.
Jen: So that’s a tree? It looks like a tree.
Salima: That’s a tree.
Jen: Woah. That was hot.
Matthew: Oh my goodness, that boy’s hair!
Jen: And his hair!
Matthew: This is interesting. The beat just switched up.
Jen & Matthew: *burst out laughing at howls*
Matthew: Are they seriously howling right now? Seriously?
Salima: Yes, dude.
Jen: Despite that… this beat is kind of awesome.
Salima: So these are the other 6 guys coming in. Earlier you only saw the first 6.
Matthew: Was that a wolf? That was so cool. It’s filmed very well and the special effects are on point.
Jen: Did he just say, “situation”? Because I think I understood that.
Salima: Haha yeah, he said “situation.”
Next: Kaleidoscopes, jazz hands, and Dragon Ball Z?
Jen: I’m confused by the change in colors. I mean, I wish I knew what they were saying. Because I feel like it’s very deliberate. When they turn from a white pristine costume into a blue zombie.
Salima: Can I tell you something? There’s no thought put behind it.
Matthew: But it’s edited so well!
Salima: Okay, fine, maybe there is thought but I’m not looking for it since I’m already a K-Pop listener. I look at these guys and I think, “People love them because they’re beautiful guys.” Maybe there are some hidden meanings that I’m not seeing because I’m not looking for them.
Jen: What do you think is the purpose of the kaleidoscope?
Salima: There’s a kaleidoscope?
Matthew: That giant thing?
Salima: That’s not a kaleidoscope – It’s actually a cool stylization of their name.
Jen: Oh I thought I saw this as the kaleidoscope. The song is catchy though.
Salima: It wasn’t catchy to me when I first heard it.
Matthew: This part is so great – where they shimmy their little jazz hands.
Salima: See, there’s 12 of them now.
Jen: [laughs continuously at the howling]
Jen: Wow, that’s hot. That’s like Wolverine/Dragon Ball Z
Jen: What’s up with the fur hat? Does it get that cold in Korea?
Matthew: That alto.
Jen: Now I feel like I’m listening to David Guetta.
Matthew: Listen to that harmony! Sounds good!
Salima: This song has grown on me. It’s so terrible, but so good.
Jen: I still can’t get over the fact that that one person is a guy. Are you sure that’s not a girl?
Salima: I’m positive.
Jen: Awoooo! That was straight out of “Thriller.”
Matthew: (Points at Kai) Is he the Predator?
Jen: Yes. They look like they’re in an alien spaceship. Why are they called Exo?
Salima: Funny you say that. As a group, they’re sort of considered “Exo Planet.” Maybe that’s why they’re in a spaceship? But it’s like saying “kisses and hugs” – “xoxo”
Matthew: Wow. That video was pretty cool.
Next: So what’s the final verdict?
Salima: What were both of your overall thoughts on this video?
Jen: I’m still incredibly confused. I think the set changes at least 10,000 times a minute. The costumes changed 10,000 times a minute, but there’s something absolutely beautiful about all these beautiful little boys chanting, “Wolf” [laughs].
Jen: There’s this really pure yet inner anger that comes out through the music and all their faces and all their emotions and really, it reminded me a lot of “Thriller.”
Jen: Yeah, you know that move, the jab step or whatever you call it?
Salima: Yeah, of course.
Salima: In terms of the idea of looking like girls…
Jen: I think that’s a very “Asian” thing anyway. A lot of Asian guys are mistaken to be extremely metrosexual or homosexual. My brother was a very pretty little girl when he was younger.
Salima & Matt: *burst out laughing*
Jen: He had problems with it all the time! So I can understand it. They’re pretty. They look clean and the hair…
Salima: What do you think about the braids Kai had in?
Jen: You know, it was like branches of a tree.
Matthew: The braids definitely made him look a little bit like Predator, not going to lie. It was a bit much. Cornrows are so, like, 1999. Every time I see that I think, “Eww, you didn’t grow out of that yet?”
Jen: What’s up with the baggy pants, man? Is that a thing in Korea?
Salima: Um, I think they were trying to be a little bit more hardcore, as is the SM protocol these days.
Jen: What do you call that, when the pants go way below the crotch?
Jen: Oh. I though we called those “crotch pants.”
Salima: What do you think about the song?
Jen: I liked it. I thought it was pretty catchy. The only thing I couldn’t deal with was the “Awoooo!”
Salima: Wait, so you didn’t like that? Or you did?
Jen: I loved it!
Salima: You loved it?!
Jen: Yeah because every single time “Awooo!” comes through, you get 12 boys suddenly banded together and they’re like a pack of wolves! It’s absolutely beautiful!
Salima: And Matthew, what did you think of the “Awooo!”?
Matthew: I thought it was absolutely hilarious. I laughed every time. It just felt like a couple of different songs. There were so many transitions. At the end I thought I was listening to David Guetta. I would have jammed it in the club. But the “Awooo!” caught me off guard every time! I’d jump, scared, and then I’d start laughing.
Salima: It’s very literal. It’s like, we’re going to do a song called “Wolf” and we’re going to howl.
Matthew: Shakira did the same thing with “She-wolf.”
Jen: That’s what I was thinking about the entire time! She howled in that one. She also looked very tribal.
Matthew: She looked very tribal!
Salima: Is it weird seeing 12 guys in a group dancing?
Jen: I would just never know who they are. I think that’s way too large of a group for any of them to be stars on their own.
Matthew: Well, that’s why there’s one in China and one in Korea, right Salima?
Salima: Yeah. (Points at Kai) The one guy you saw with the braids, he’s sort of like the leader.
Jen: Really? I didn’t think he had that big of a role in this one.
Salima: He’s their dancer and he’s their initial main guy. The company banked on him. When they did those 23 teasers I told you guys about, he was in a good bunch of them.
Jen: Is he a good dancer?
Salima: He’s a great dancer.
Matthew: I think they’re all pretty good dancers.
Jen: Backstreet Boys good?
Matthew: They’re better than the Backstreet Boys. The Backstreet Boys can’t dance. Their dancing is sort of a joke.
Salima: Would you guys watch more, after seeing this?
Jen: I would watch it if I had translations. Because otherwise it just seems incredibly random. But I love the showy-ness of it. The change of scenery. The last one literally seemed like the set of the Predator! They’re going underground trying to trap the Predator. It’s the same exact scene in Alien Invasion! I really liked it!