Print

Much is written about how f(x), the stellar girl group from SM Entertainment, is probaby Lee Soo Man’s “experimental” unit. It’s his musical playground, so to speak, where he creates songs meant to poke and prod at current trends in pop music.

That is exemplified most in their Red Light album. Even a year later, the album itself is an acoustic joyride. When they’re trying to break norms by incorporating unusual sounds into their tracks (Red Light), industrial beats (Rainbow), or playing around with new compositional styles (Milk), f(x) shows their strengths by producing tracks that work even when they feel like they shouldn’t.

But because of this strength in their more unusual tracks, the more typical sounding songs on this album seem to fall short. While they are stellar standalone songs, nearly all the tracks in the latter half of the album, because of their more standard “feel”, just don’t have the punch the earlier songs do, leading the album to feel like it ended on a faint whimper.

Overall, this album felt weaker than its earlier predecessors because of this notable weakness. Korean pop rarely ever produces cohesive albums; most albums end up feeling like a compilation of great singles that ended up being lumped together. While it seemed like f(x) was going in a different direction with their Pink Tape, this album was unfortunately different. That’s not to say the tracks are bad – in fact they’re quite excellent; the album contains some of the best produced pop of the year – but rather that on an album level this particular one just lacks any sense of direction.

So would I recommend it? Absolutely. Just not as an album, though.