I’m only recapping the Korean version because one viewing was enough for me.
I figured this release was doomed from the moment I watched the teaser. Something in it pissed me right off and I hoped it wouldn’t be in the MV. No, I’m not talking about the autotune. Nor the song in general. Though the MV would probably be much improved if the song weren’t in it.
No, what I’m talking about is cock fighting. For those who don’t know or are too damn lazy to click a link, chickens fight to the death and people take bets on it. I grew up in a place where cock fighting is still a thing and neighbors raised fighting chickens in their backyard. So I am not here for this fuckshit, or any other form of animal cruelty, even if it’s fake (and those sequences had better be fake). In this case, it isn’t even necessary for the “storyline” (and I use that term very loosely). There’s nothing edgy or badass about animal torture. It’s just fucked up.
And no, I’m not a vegan who compares eating meat to racism or anything like that. I don’t give a shit what other people eat or how they choose to live their lives. I don’t like animal cruelty, and if you think it’s nbd and I’m overreacting, well, fuck off my blog.
I emphasize that I AM NOT BLAMING OR CRITICIZING EXO, THE GROUP, PERSONALLY. I don’t know how much input they have in the creative decisions being made, but I suspect not very much. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the MV director, SM, and all the other pairs of eyes this shit passed in front of who said it was OK.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s recap this shitshow.
“Lotto” is a terrible song. No, I’m not an anti and I don’t hate Exo. I have actually always liked Exo. I was more of an M fan, so my fandom fell off a bit when the traitors peaced out, but I’m still checking for the group and still bop to their songs (as long as those songs are good). And don’t any of you fuckheads try to bring up my VIXX stanning as if that’s the reason I disliked “Lotto;” you know damn well I will read VIXX to filth if it’s warranted and music show wins and shit are not required to validate my K-pop preferences. I’m a U-KISS stan; if I cared about that shit I’d have had a real problem a long ass time ago. “Lotto” is just aural guano. And no, it’s not because of the autotune. I have nothing against autotune when used sparingly and effectively. But when the vocals sound less like Exo and more like computers taking a shit, you’ve gone too far.
Speaking of fecal matter, let’s talk about this video. I’m not even going to try discerning a storyline, and I could give a shit about official explanations, because death of the author and not just my eardrums. This MV makes VIXX’s “Fantasy” look positively linear. We start with a girl running, probably because she knows what MV she’s about to be starring in. We’re immediately treated to scenes of the most clichéd gambling-related scenarios possible, from cards to craps (the game, not a description of this song) to cock fighting (ugh).
Despite the sparse sets and array of scenarios, this MV feels very claustrophobic. Perhaps it’s something to do with the lighting or color scheme or camera angles, but even the chasing/running scenes feel hemmed-in. Everything is swathed in harsh spotlights or shadows, because this shit is illegal, and therefore must be physically dark as well. A wild D.O appears, looking utterly demented, and I think I recoiled from my screen in shock. I get it, though. Filming this MV and recording this song would drive anyone to madness.
I can barely recognize Chen’s voice under all that autotune, and again I ask, why would you autotune Chen? It’s like painting graffiti on the Mona Lisa to “improve” it. At least they left his face intact.
Look out Eli, Exo’s coming for you.
The MV directors continue trying to distract us from this clusterfuck with Sehun stripper dancing and Baekhyun sporting some Fabio-esque open shirt realness, but I’m not that easy. It’s gonna take more than this to ingratiate me to this turd (the MV, not Sehun or Baekhyun).
Now we see the girl tied up and suspended from the ceiling, apparently unconscious.
OK, generally speaking, I’m not one to immediately cry “misogyny” at damsel-in-distress scenarios, as they are so common in boy band MVs and pretty much anything ever. But I’m definitely side-eyeing here because this particular imagery is so extreme and startling. It gives me this knee-jerk uncomfortable reaction and, like the cock flighting, just seems unnecessary. Earlier, we saw wolves circling the girl’s sleeping figure, and though we never actually see her harmed or attacked, the threat of particularly horrific violence toward her is something I find deeply disturbing.
The rest of this MV is basically a seedier follow-up to the “Monster” video. Exo fuck shit up and set money on fire. Chanyeol frees the girl and escapes with her, but then he’s stopped by the cops and arrested, and they take the girl away.
Um… guys? In this whole gambling/money/illegal activity motif, y’all know the implications of this shit, right? I mean I can’t be the only one who’s thinking that, right? Anyone? Bueller???
If it’s not deliberate, then this is in very poor taste. If it is deliberate, then it’s in very poor taste with a side of fuck you.
ETA: it has come to my attention that Chanyeol slipped the girl a cassette tape before the cops take her away. This makes zero difference in my personal interpretation, but it adds a wrinkle, so I found it worth mentioning. If we get any kind of continuation in future MVs/projects… well, I’ll be very surprised.
Yeah, I don’t even know what to say anymore. There’s just nothing I can mine from this debacle that’s positive. Actually wait, maybe I can.
That’s something, I guess.