f(x)’s new album will be released next week on July 29th but they just released the music video for one of their tracks today so I thought I should review it. It has been quite a while since the ladies of f(x) has released anything (in fact, their last release was reviewed by me; how’s that for ancient?) so either they are playing it safe (since summer releases typically do well since k-pop listeners are younger and are not occupied with school then) or they are being incredibly gutsy (since a ton of top tier k-pop groups release their newest jams during this season so they got some fierce competition) for deciding to come back now. I’m incredibly split on whether they are playing it safe or being gutsy because of how divided I am on this release in general.
If I am to judge their pluckiness based on the music video, I would say that they are playing it safe as can be. The MV is just another SM-styled, “dance in different boxes and gaze emptily at fictitious objects” kind of video. Visually, this MV is sporting nothing new – bright colors, random objects (mechanical flowers?), fun choreography, closeups to blank expressions and pointing, flashy lights, and “virtual” backdrops. All in all, just a standard, unfortunately boring MV.
I say unfortunately because the song is daring and interesting, a stark contrast to the lackluster video. We start with an ominous guitar instrumental and some seductive crooning. The heartbeat of the song comes in a few bars later to mark the beginning of some speak-singing (“attention, boys”) that has been prevalent in f(x) releases. The pre-chorus exhibits something that I found musically interesting and different. You got the girls singing in a round for this part of the song (you know, like when a single verse and/or melody is sung at different times by different singers and the singers overlap) as a marching band beat carries the vocals along. Now, singing in a round has not been widely used in k-pop, as far as I have heard, so it definitely is a novel concept in this realm of music. I expected it to be a disaster but the round actually sounds really smooth and that harmony on “rum pum pum pum” sounds divine. Amber’s rapping seems to have improved (though I am no authority on Korean rapping) and the ad-libbing near the end was a welcome element. I just love the drums and the beat during the brief dance break and how the beat gets progressively stronger as the song goes on until the end when it tapers off to showcase what this song really capitalized on, which were the harmonies because the beautiful harmonizing at the end was definitely a nice touch.
Though the song itself isn’t catchy, it is edgy and interesting. Different. I would expect nothing less from SM’s experimental girl group. I wouldn’t find myself singing this song (well, maybe just the “rum pum pum pum” part) since it is not a friendly song to sing in that aspect (the harmonies are where it’s at for this song and you need multiple people for that!) but it will definitely be on my iTunes library once the full album releases next week.
The MV is nothing new so it sucks. The song has lots of elements that are new so it’s great.