I will begin my reviews with a review on f(x)’s newest album, Electric Shock. This is definitely the f(x) comeback that we have been anticipating for and it seems as though f(x) has delivered the usual goods, complete with almost-hardcore electronic tracks and a reggae-inspired track? No wonder f(x) is touted as the experimental K-pop group. Let’s begin, shall we?
Electric Shock is the catchy electro titular track and it’s a pretty decent one. This definitely would belong in clubs or summer beach parties had it been more hardcore and did not have obnoxious, saccharine chanting.
One of the most annoying thing about this song is that there are lots of chanting and not enough vocals. Don’t get me wrong, the members of f(x) can sing and, when given the chance, they really sing well. However, their defining tracks showcase nothing of their skill.
Another unfortunate problem with this song is that the chorus is underwhelming. The hardcore and ominous beginning is practically begging for some grandiose chorus (I would even push it and say that they should have added in some spastic dubstep bridge) but the chorus is unfortunately flat. Electric Shock’s chorus blends in with the song, which means the song itself lacks a unique identity. Sure, the “Electric nanananananana” part is defining but barely; you just can’t help but feel as though you have heard the same sounds from some other Kpop group’s songs. The entire song sounds repetitive and monotonous. You get the same solitary chord playing for most of the song with tons of chanting and dissonance and with a much-needed chord change in the bridges, where the f(x) members actually sorta sing.
The second and last song I would recommend is Let’s Try. Definitely a refreshing sound to hear after the monotony of Electric Shock as f(x) members actually showcase their vocals in this song. Yes, it’s hard to believe but there’s actually evidence of multiple notes being sung in this one. The feel is very light-hearted and cheery and the whole reggae feel is a unique sound that I haven’t really heard in Kpop. The awkward hook could have been overlooked had the song not ended with it. Nevertheless, this is definitely my favorite from their newest album.
The Rest of the Album
The rest of the album’s songs unfortunately did not appeal to me. A couple songs capitalized on and pretty much abused all of the flaws I listed above. A couple were too monotonous and forgettable. Either it capitalized on speak-singing or splurged on obnoxiously dissonant electronic beats.
f(x) is like one of my favorite Kpop girl groups but the songs they put out aren’t up to par. They have their shining moments but the reason why they lack the popularity of power girl groups such as Girls’ Generation or Wonder Girls is because their songs lack defining moments and their albums lack coherence. What makes albums great, in my opinion, is that there is this theme that binds the songs together and allow the listener to immediately be able to identify each track as belonging to the group. The albums that f(x) put out lack this coherence. Each track seems to clash with one another and title tracks are catchy, ominous, and interesting at first but are riddled with chanting and vapidness and the hardcore sound they strive to put out is immediately ruined by the squealing and speak-singing. There’s no “gee gee gee gee baby baby baby” or “I want nobody nobody but you” to make any of the songs by f(x) truly memorable.
f(x) can try to repeat an English word a billion times in each of their title songs but something is missing from their titular tracks. Every time I listen, it’s like I honestly want to like it because it just sounds so badass and so hardcore but then I continue to listen and it just falls flat, as though f(x) took me halfway to hardcoreville and ditched me to go back to the dark depths of monotonoustown.
Electric Shock [strong beats, energetic, ominous and almost hardcore]
Let’s Try [nice showcasing of vocals, reggae-feel, contrasts nicely with repetitive electronic tracks preceding it]
All other tracks [boring, repetitive, over-reliance on speak-singing and obnoxious squealing, over-reliance on electronic beats]