Sexy Smoothe, but not Quite what I wanted . . .
Anyway, my bad feelings for SM Ent aside, I actually really like this MV. The boys don't look half as ridiculous as they did for Wolf, the setting is much more organic and therefore more appropriate for an MV released in the midst of an epic 'real-ish world' storyline, and the choreography is absolutely kickin'. It all bounces perfectly within the context of Growl's melody, exploiting the smoothe sections for sensuous moves and utilizing the sharper sections for quick aggressive movements. I especially adore the little skipping bits that move the boys and the camera around the warehouse, it's a nice throw to Wolf and it's a beautiful use of the song's bouncy beat. I love how the boys play with the camera and the 'scene' transitions are flawless. It feels very one-take-only in the best way.
Musically speaking, Growl is far superior to Wolf. Despite the fact that on it's own, that is not much of an accomplishment, Growl is actually a very good song. The harmonic development is fabulous and the raps work well to delineate the sections while utilizing a singular uniting bass-line (if you recall, one of my biggest problems with Wolf was that it tried to cram six different songs into one. There was just too much going on and nothing to tie all the different bits together. Growl does not have that problem). The track manages to squeeze a few different genres in, but it still doesn't leave a listener feeling lost. There's a great use of delay, and reverb, and echo, and the synth-piano contrast is very well capitalized on to set up the various sections. Also, it's not a carbon copy of anything TVXQ or SHINee has done, it's not exactly a revamp of anything EXO's done before! It's a miracle! Admittedly it does have a very similar vibe to EXO's previous release, but at very least it's original enough so that I can't imediately identify the track(s?) it's based on.
Also, this is the first promotion from EXO that I've seen in which the Korean Vers is treated with almost exactly the same level of care and attention as the Chinese version. Usually one or the other is dramatically better, and I usually gripe about it endlessly. This time, however, SM has actually done well. The Chinese version is still a bit better, but it's really a fractional difference. Only time will tell if that pertains to the other songs on the repackaged album (I'm hoping that the Korean version have all been magically remastered), but so far, this is the best release EXO has ever put out.