Sunday, June 10, 2012

Not-Very-Quick Take: f(x) - Electric Shock (mini-album)

I've always thought that f(x) was a talented group with good performers, but I've also always been of two minds about their material. For example, I initially really liked "NU ABO", but I fell out of love with it after a while and haven't quite repaired our relationship yet. I also liked their Pinocchio album - I realize that it's a hot ass mess and not consistent at all, and yet that's part of what I love about it - they take any style and infuse it with their "f(x)-ness". What f(x)-ness is, exactly, I can't tell you, but I'm a fan of it and will take it in any form they give it to me.

Because of all the above then, I'm kind of sad that this mini is not as much of a hot ass mess. Defeated expectations, I suppose. But I'm sure I'll get over it because I think this mini is actually pretty good. It's consistent, which is nice, and it's surprisingly different. This is material that SM wouldn't try out with any other group, unlike the Pinocchio album which, despite my fondness for it, sounded a little like a collection B-sides from a host of other girl groups. It's like they took the f(x)-ness and translated it into music - loud, slightly grungy, almost quirky electro-pop. It doesn't quite make sense, but you love it anyway.

"Electric Shock" will probably leave a better impression with the MV, but for what it is, I like it. This is what I wanted them to do with "Mr. Simple" - take out the weird beat changes and just make it a straight up dance track. Maybe not as interesting, but at least you don't stop and go "wtf just happened?" at random points in the song when you're supposed to be dancing it up. The other songs are fun too - my favorite right now is "Love Hate". Among the writing credits for this song include two British songwriters that have worked with some of my favorite British artists (Ed Sheeran, Girls Aloud, Lily Allen, Kylie, Sugababes - and not my favorite but I figured I should mention them: One Direction), and the sound really reflects that background. It sounds very British, like something an up-and-coming girl group would put out in an attempt to grab a chart spot before GA make their comeback. I love the British pop sound, so I hope I can hear more of it in k-pop.

Before this gets too long, I just want to thank SM for freeing Amber from the short-rap-at-the-end-of-the-song box. f(x) works so much better when she's actually a part of the group and not the token member. So yay for her singing, actually rapping, and not just dropping a few English lines here and there (see "Beautiful Stranger"). Yes, she's different from your typical girl group member, but that doesn't mean the best way to use that is to single her out and go "look how different she is!" Not only is it annoying, but it also undermines the integrity of your group's image - by showing how unlike the other members Amber is, you take away from the f(x)-ness that makes the group what it is. So yay for fixing that. SM seems to be figuring out how to actually drop decent material these days, and not just throw money at its groups and wait for them to scrape together a CD. They're improving at a snail's pace, but they're getting there. Not that I have a lot of hope for Super Junior's upcoming album, though. Unless they plan to go on hiatus once Leeteuk enlists, I expect it'll be the same ol' thing from them. (There's a teeny part of me that hopes to be proven wrong.)

Edit: The video came out - it doesn't really change my perception of the song. But they work it as usual, and they look fabulous - save the throwbacks to the "NU ABO" styling, which was my least favorite video fashion-wise.

1 comment:

  1. agree with you about "love hate". i had it on reply. the "i love you i hate you" part kinda irks me, but once i get through that part, the song is really enjoyable. thanks for your review. :)