After another viral success with “Ko Ko Bop”, EXO has returned with their repackaged version of their “The War” album along with their fun electric track, “Power”. Already, the album has seen immense success, breaking the group’s own record in the UK iTunes Album Chart and gathering ten million views on Youtube in the first week. Unfortunately, due to scheduling issues, Lay is still absent in this promotion period but EXO-L were treated to a neon-fuelled music video which also brings EXO’s origin story to full circle.
The music video itself is only one part of the clever production behind “Power”, starting from the initial teasing period and its perfect timing with the solar eclipse back in August. Stating that “The Power of Music arises when the Eclipse occurs”, fans were already treated to a slew of throwbacks. In fact, from teasers to music video, it is a beautiful reboot of how EXO came to be. The Eclipse was a prominent symbol through their debut period, appearing in teaser videos featuring “Black Pearl” & “Angel” before finally being at the heart of the infamous intro for “MAMA”.
“When the skies and the grounds were one, the legends, through their twelve forces, nurtured the tree of life. An eye of red force created the evil which coveted the heart of tree of life, and the heart slowly grew dry. To tend and embrace the heart of tree of life, the legends hereby divide the tree in half and hide each side. Hence, time is over-turned and space turns askew…”
More references back to “MAMA” are also briefly shown in “Power” through its fun comic book intro. A hooded figure is shown looking over the world in the same robes as EXO appeared in during their debut. Two suns also surround them as a second reference back to the legend of the Tree of Life; “The twelve forces divide into two and create two suns that look alike into two worlds that seem alike.” Other references in the intro also include their live tour performances of “Heaven” where they dressed as musical elves and of course, the football helmet that was made infamous during the “Love Me Right” era.
The music video doesn’t just refer to the group’s origin but gives it a retro-futuristic feel; complete with laser guns and transformations that even the Power Rangers would be proud of. In the midst of the cartoon neon madness, a giant robot dubbed as RF_05 appears to have stolen the Power Orbs that holds EXO’s power – minus Baekhyun’s Orb of Light who remains absent in the majority of the video. The remaining members take it upon themselves to battle the enemy in order to gain their powers back but with only laser pistols at their disposals, they attempt different plans in order to do so. Each members appears to have a different personality; Suho trying to act as leader but immediately fainting at the sight of RF_05, while Kai stepping in to guide the team. Meanwhile, the robot’s attacks scares a timid D.O as Xiumin attempts to fry its circuits; failing dramatically as they are launched across the battlefield. Chen watches on as cheerfully goes about his own plan, meanwhile the members attempted to shoot it down.
However, with their Power Orbs in its possession, RF_05 can use its powers against them. Before long, EXO is backed into a corner and ready to take cover as Chen leaps into action to defend the group. Using the energy cable scavenged by Xiumin and his shield, Chen manages to reflect the robot’s beam against itself and destroys it to get the Power Orbs back. With them, EXO can bring their powers together and bring order back to their planet.
However, a retro sci-fi concept like this would not be complete without a classic morphing sequence. In true Power Rangers style, the group also have watches acting as morphers and bring each other them together in a final blow; which strangely enough is a white button-mashing kitten. As crazy as it appears on paper and in the video, the kitten has made a few theories come to light. Fans have noticed a silver letter “L” on its collar and have come up with different representations; referring back to the fandom itself EXO-L or the missing member, Lay.
Another theory soon comes after Baekhyun’s delayed appearance. The kitten plays with a switch that turns the group into multiple cartoon forms before Baekhyun picks it up to stop the chaos. With one final press of what appears to be RF_05’s control panel, he finally unveils the missing orb; the Orb of Light which gives him the power to create an eclipse; the same eclipse that harnesses the remaining Orbs and binds their powers to the other members. In this reboot, it is the eclipse that gifts them the power instead of the members being born with the powers through the Tree of Life. For fans it is a long awaited look back to the concept that was made famous during “MAMA” but rarely referenced in later promotions.
However, the story doesn’t end with the music video. In its epilogue, Baekhyun is seen crashing to Earth and plunges into the ocean as he stares up to the sky. The video suddenly ends, paving the way for multiple theories but with the repackaged album, there will be an accompanying graphic novel named “The War: The Eve” which possibly may reveal Baekhyun’s fate and the events after EXO’s rise to power.
Overall, the video is a brilliant alternative to EXO’s origin story, bringing together fun elements that only the group can display in their own signature fashion. EXO-Ls can also enjoy the nods towards their own hits and concepts while newly arriving fans are treated to a visual experience. Overall, the video goes hand in hand with the group’s new LDN Noise-produced hit making it just as feel-good and exciting, making this yet another memorable video from the superheroes of SM Entertainment.