Tuesday, June 21, 2011

f(x)'s Hot Summer - SM, You're Trying Too Hard

... or as Nigerians would say, your thirst is showing.

Now, I'm not going to comment on the whole "young-girls-acting-sexy-yet-denial-abounds" thing. That's old news, and besides, considering the song and video for the original track that f(x) covered here, I'm really not surprised. However something didn't quite sit well with me as I watched this video, and it only clicked when I watched the live performances to get a good look at Rino Nakasone-Razalan and Maryss from Paris's choreography: Amber looked much too out of place. We know she's the tomboy of the group and consequently has many fans going gaga over her boyish looks and deeper voice. But this was the first time she had been clearly placed front and center, as opposed to her usual position as the boy-girl on the side. Not only that, but usually f(x) doesn't show so much skin, even when the other girls wear skirts, so Amber's usual shorts/pants and jacket stood out more. Finally, her individual choreography was completely different from the group choreography. She looked like she'd been taking dance lessons from DBSK, while the other four girls were clearly in SNSD territory. Despite all this, she joined them in the cute-face making when not front and center.

Here's why I'm conflicted: they're clearly playing to her strengths and what suits her (ostensibly) true character, but why the vast differences all of a sudden? Why single her out instead of letting her integrate seamlessly into the group, which I felt they did fairly well in previous videos? It feels like tokenism, and I don't like it one bit. It's like, "We're your typical girl group, but wait! We also have this androgynous chick! Doesn't this make us edgy and cool?!" Yet I don't want to knock it too much, because she's getting some well-deserved attention, and killing the choreo. However, if the other girls weren't wearing 5-inch heels, they would have killed it too! It feels like they chose appearances (i.e. typical girl group with a twist) over execution, and the whole thing just feels clumsy, as opposed to the seamlessness that usually characterizes SM videos.

I'm annoyed that they're capitalizing on Amber's popularity in such an obvious way. I'm not sure if it's only with f(x) that they're this lazy, but let's just hope they step up their game. Being SM doesn't guarantee chart awards anymore, and the girl group competition gets fiercer every day.