[Digital Single] f(x) – All Mine

All Mine is the seventh digital single released by f(x). It was also part of SM’s “SM Station” project.

allmine
Released: July 22, 2016
1. All Mine
2. All Mine (inst.)

All Mine is a great follow-up to the material from the group’s previous album, 4 Walls. It has a brighter EDM kind of sound to it and while it is a bit more generic in its delivery, it’s still such a strong song. It has a great beat and the build-up to the drop is really exciting. The drop itself is a bit expected, but I love how bright the song is and it is a really euphoric and carefree kind of song. My only gripe would be that the girls don’t sound as distinguished as in their previous material, but it’s still a great track.

Overall: This is a great follow-up to the group’s last material. While the song is a bit generic, I think there is nothing wrong with a solid tune. As the group’s (currently) last Korean release, it is a nice thing to leave things on. I do hope the group releases something new soon because they are a missed presence.

A+

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[Digital Single] f(x) – Winter Garden 1

Winter Garden is f(x)’s sixth digital single and the first of SM’s “Winter Garden” series.

wintergarden1
Released: December 15, 2015
1. 12:25 (Wish List) (12시 25분)

The thing I am most surprised with this song is that despite being a Christmas-theme tune, it tries to changes things up. 12:25 (Wish List) has some really interesting ideas thrown in. While it does have your stereotypical Xmas bells, the song is also a solid pop song. It features a more unpredictable melody and tries to speed things up and utilizes its harmonies really well to create a fuller and dreamier sound. The girls also sound really great!

Overall: This is easily one of the best modern Christmas songs I have heard. It has some of the classic Xmas elements, but throws some different things around that helps keep it interesting and charming.

A

[Album] f(x) – 4 Walls

4 Walls is the fourth album released by f(x) and their first album to be released with only four members after Sulli’s departure. The title track was used as the promotional song.

4walls
Released: October 27, 2015
1. 4 Walls
2. Glitter
3. Deja Vu
4. X
5. Rude Love
6. Diamond
7. Traveler
8. Papi
9. Cash Me Out
10. When I’m Alone

4 Walls is euphoric bliss. It is my favourite song by f(x) just because it takes the classic house genre but brings something quite subtly beautiful. I mean the music is quite generic in that it sounds like other house songs although there are definitely a few nice change ups like the middle eight. I just love the melody and the airiness of the vocal delivery. It’s not meant to be a powerhouse song like Red Light, but is instead something calmer. Glitter initially sounds like an odd followup to 4 Walls, but there are some similarities once the chorus pops in. The verses are really forgettable for me, but the offbeat sound tied with the more explosive delivery of the chorus really brings the needed energy. The song has fun ideas, but I think it should have focused more on the chorus sound. Deja Vu reminds me of something from the group’s older albums because of its heavier electropop sound. I do like the funkiness of the music in the verses and it does a smooth job of switching the rap prechorus. The chorus isn’t as explosive, but it is an interesting blend. It works with the heaviness of the music. X is a bit more “pop” than the other songs. Like the other songs though, it still brings some quirkiness with the music and the odd tuba-sounding synth. Unfortunately, I’m not the biggest fan of the chorus. I wish it had some more energy and the delivery just comes off a bit flat. Rude Love opens in a really cool way with the keyboard. It sort of has an oldschool vibe to it that I quite like. The chorus is especially great with its powerful house beat and solid vocal arrangement. It’s really catchy and more aggressive than 4 Walls, but still brings that great production. I do wish we could’ve heard Luna belting it out a bit at the end though. With the type of title it has, I wasn’t expecting Diamond to have some hip-hop elements to it. I was expecting something to follow-up the house kind of sound. The verses aren’t the most memorable, but I do like it when the song builds up to the drop. The drop is unfortunately a bit flat for me though. This is just not my kind of song. Traveler features a rap by Zico and opens up with it. It does sound pretty cool and goes well with the funky beat and odd synths. I do find the verses to be a bit dull because it takes so long to get somewhere. I was also expecting the chorus to have a bit more impact, but it sort of just floats along. Probably my least favourite song on the album. Luckily Papi brings the energy back up and I love it when the girls bring back the fun dance-pop sound. Papi has a great beat and some great synths to really make the song pop. I really like all the different ideas that came up with this like the simple and chant-like chorus. It’s just a fun song and Luna in the middle eight is everything. Cash Me Out has a huge pulsating beat while the melody reminds me of a summery tune. While I want to like the pre-chorus build up, I feel like the girls are sounding quite thin. The drop is fun, but a bit messy. I think the overall song sort of falls behind the other dance tunes, but it’s still a decent listen. When I’m Alone is the slowest song. The verses make things sounds like the song will be a ballad, but the explosive chorus just comes in and shakes everything up. I love the ethereal take on the song and the girls sound amazing in this style. It’s a really great way to end the album.

Overall: This is another solid album by the girl group. I don’t think it is as strong as their other two albums, but I do find the highs to hit higher. Unfortunately, there are a few songs I could do without and they are some of the group’s weaker songs since their first album. I do feel like with this album, the girls were able to adapt with the times but still bring something that had their characteristics in it.

B+

[Album] f(x) – Red Light

Red Light is the third album released by f(x). The title track was used as the promotional song. This was the last release to feature Sulli.

redlight
Released: July 7, 2014
1. Red Light [MV]
2. MILK
3. Butterfly (나비)
4. Rainbow (무지개)
5. All Night
6. Vacance (바캉스)
7. Spit It Our (뱉어내)
8. Boom Bang Bang
9. Dracula
10. Summer Lover
11. Paper Heart (종이 심장)

The title track opens the album and what an experience it is. Red Light is definitely the most experimental on a promo song that f(x) has done with its verses using a lighter beat and some weird synth. I love its more electropop flair with an urban twist. The biggest surprise comes with the chorus where things go totally different than expected with a heavier beat and a blast of crazy synths and sounds. I was a big fan of the song when I first heard it, but it has grown on me a lot. It’s really cool. MILK keeps up the electropop sound, but with something much lighter. I do like the prechorus buildup to the chorus, although I’m a bit disappointed with how weak the chorus ends up being. I wish the beat was a bit heavier, but it keeps things pretty constant throughout. It would’ve brought a better contrast and more excitement. I do like the song’s stronger Indian influence though. Butterfly brings us to a darker sounding track, which is an interesting contrast to the name. The verses are decent, but the chorus is definitely the most interesting part. It has a bit of a weird transition as the melody is much more dragged out and features a wide variety of synth. I love how it sounds so mystical. My favourite part is the bridge that has this really cool piercing synth come in. Cool. Rainbow opens in such a weird way. It seems a fusion of pop with some hip-hop elements. Unlike their past hip-hop ventures, I do feel like this one is much stronger. The chorus is a bit cheesy and odd at times, but the music is quite fun with its cute dog barks and synths. I’m not a big fan of the opening hook with Amber, but the other parts are quite nice. All Night slows things down with something a bit more groovy. It has some wicked funk influences to it and I love it. The beat is great and there are some funky synths going on that really give it a cooler vibe. The chorus is stellar. It’s a bit repetitive, but the mix of the music with the hook really gives way to a great combination. Great! Vacance brings a bit of a rock vibe with its heavier use of the guitar, but still keeping the fun pop sound. I quite like the guitar riffs used and they fit really nicely with the interesting melody. I like how they layer the vocals in the chorus as it just slides right across the music. Luna’s belts are also really great. Spit It Out is an upbeat electropop tune. I think the highlight of the song is just how crazy some of the synths are and how they mesh with the fast-paced melody. I especially enjoy the breakdown that comes along with its video game-like style. The chorus is quite catchy and I like how chant-like it is. It’s fun. I feel like Boom Bang Boom continues that crazy upbeat style of the last song. I really like the verses as they have a lot of energy, but there is a breakdown that pops up in between and I’m not a huge fan of it. The chorus is quite good with its soaring quality and it’s quite catchy. It gets stuck in your head despite how short it is. Dracula is quite cool as well. I feel like it also follows the style of the last two songs, but the great part of this one is that great buildup for the chorus. Luna rocks it with its slower and vocally challenging part. I do like the odd choices that fit the song title such as the screams and the darker vibe of the music. Summer Lover fits the title really well, too. It’s quite bright with its vibrant guitars, synths and vocals. However, I do feel like it shares a lot of the qualities that the last few songs had, although this one seems more streamlined in its melody. It’s good. Paper Heart ends the album on a more lighthearted and sentimental sound. It sounds like something that would be popular in the US with its cute ukulele touch and simple, but effective chorus. I’m not a huge fan of this style, but the song is produced really well and is a good way to end the album.

Overall: This is a really strong album. All the tracks were really good and they are all of high quality. My only issue would be that by the end of the album the songs began to sound quite similar. Even if they had a few differences, it just felt like the instruments and the structures were almost the same. I had hoped for a bit more variety like Pink Tape had, but this is also quite solid.

A-

[Album] f(x) – Pink Tape

Pink Tape is the second album released by f(x). First Wisdom Tooth (Rum Pum Pum Pum) was used as the promotional track.

pinktape
Released: July 29, 2013
1. First Wisdom Tooth (Rum Pum Pum Pum) (첫 사랑니) [MV]
2. Shadowing (Shadow) (미행 (그림자))
3. Pretty Girl
4. Kick
5. Signal (시그널)
6. Step
7. Goodbye Summer
8. Airplane
9. Toy
10. My Fox-like Friend (No More) (여우 같은 내 친구)
11. Snapshot
12. Ending Page

f(x) always has an interesting way of opening their albums with their title tracks. First Wisdom Tooth (Rum Pum Pum Pum) is a stellar way to begin though. The funky guitar riff that starts the song off is really attention grabbing and helps to lay the foundation of the song until it builds with the strong percussion and layered synths. The vocal arrangement is really well crafted. The mixing of the different vocal lines put together really give it a dreamy factor and the while the vocals aren’t at full strength in the chorus, they have a hypnotic feel to them. Everything is put together well and its a song that easily gets stuck in your head. Despite the name, Shadowing (Shadow) is actually more lighthearted and pop. I was expecting something a little darker, but it does have a slight haunting quality to it with its sparkly synths and creepy bell sound that pops up throughout. Besides that though, it is quite cute. It’s catchy, but not something particularly stellar. I wish the melody was a bit stronger. Pretty Girl is what I was looking for. Although it has a more upbeat sound to it, it’s quite fierce and has some heavy beats to work with it. I love how aggressive the chorus is with the heavy rock elements. I also think Amber’s rap is also a fun addition, but the song really relies on Luna’s strong vocals to get things moving. She really works the chorus. This could be a promoted track. Kick has the oddness to it that feels very f(x). I really like how crazy the beat is and the synths are all over the place. Every part seems to have a different feel to it. With that said, I can’t really get into the song. It’s too robotic for my taste and none of the parts are particularly melodic and easy on the ears. It’s fun, but not my style. Signal is amazing. The song is totally disco-influenced and it sounds great. The beat is strong and works great with the soaring synths. I actually enjoy the verses more than the chorus because I wish the melody wasn’t so blended into the music. It’s still insanely catchy though and one of the group’s strongest album tracks. Step is an upbeat pop tune that has a funky beat to it. I love how the beat sounds like a weird foghorn. The melody is quite intriguing and a bit unpredictable, but still very catchy. I do think there are parts that could be worked on as it doesn’t get stuck in my head as much as I want it to. It’s still a fun listen. Goodbye Summer is a big change because things turn a bit slower. Here we have a nice and relaxing midtempo pop tune that features D.O from EXO. The great thing is that his voice is quite strong and blends really well with Luna during their harmonies. The chorus is great and it is just elevated during the last chorus with the huge notes by Luna and D.O. To be honest, this song would’ve been fine as just a duet without the other f(x) members. Strong tune. I love Airplane and it is probably my favourite song on the album. The song starts as a soaring pop tune and the verse is very meant to build up to the heavily dance influenced chorus. I love the drop that comes and that the chorus has two distinct parts so it doesn’t sound like it is so empty (like many songs that have a drop do). I find the music doesn’t have a predictable sound to it and the beat always comes a little off, but it all seems to work well with the processed vocals. Toy keeps up the high energy with a cheer-inspired pop tune. I really like how the song opens as the cheer-like rapping is a lot of fun. With that said, I’m not totally buying this song. The chorus has some cool aspects to it, but everything sort of comes in a flash and it seems a bit messy. I like it, but I wish it was a little more streamlined. My Fox-like Friend (No More) is a really big switch from the rest of the upbeat songs. This one has a much stronger retro feel to it and actually makes me thing of Girls’ Generation’s Lion Heart. It has that funky doo wop style to it. I do think it sticks out of the album quite a bit at this point, but it’s still a good song and one of the stronger album tracks. The girls sound great and I love how straightforward the delivery is. It’s quite cute and could be a promotional song. Snapshot at first sounds like it is going to continue that retro sound, and while it does, it really surprised by giving a fuller pop chorus. I love the piano in the verses, but I’m not into the melody of the both the verses and chorus. Maybe because f(x) does talk-singing a bit too often, but it does not work as much here and I wish the chorus was different. It does have some good ideas, but it isn’t executed as well as I would hope. Ending Page finishes the album up and is a nice addition to the album as it brings a bit of variety. This uptempo pop ballad reminds me of something from the mid-2000’s with its slight rock edge. The girls sound amazing, especially when it all comes together during the chorus. Everything just soars. What a stellar way to end the album.

Overall: This was a really strong album. I had high expectations for it since I see a lot of people rave about this album. At first, I was a little letdown as some of the songs weren’t as strong, but the album did start to solidify itself by the end. There were quite a few great tracks as well and many that could have been used as promotional songs.

A-

[Mini-Album] f(x) – Electric Shock

Electric Shock is the second mini-album released by f(x). The title track was used as the promotional song and Jet was also promoted on music shows. The cover…


Released: November 5, 2009
1. Electric Shock [MV]
2. Jet (Jet) (제트별)
3. Zig Zag
4. Beautiful Stranger
5. Love Hate
6. Let’s Try (Let’s Try) (훌쩍)

Here we start with the title track, Electric Shock. I gotta say right off the bat that this is probably my favourite song since LA chA TA because it adds all that electronic-random sound they’ve been going for more recently with a clean and slick production like their debut. The heavy beats are typical, but it’s the nice break during the first part of the chorus that gets me every time and helps build up to the catchy hooks of the nanana’s in the second half. I usually don’t like yeah’s and a-ha’s either, but for some reason they seem nicely placed here. Vocals are nice too. Jet is a decent followup, but seems more in tune to their previous sound (Pinocchio) than that of Electric Shock. It has the light beats and the whole cute-talk-singing verses, but what really sets this song a part is the upbeat and cheery chorus. I just don’t really understand the middle 8 though because it’s so odd and just doesn’t fit. I love Luna’s high note as well. Zig Zag continues the trend of upbeat pop tunes but just like the last song has that random edge to it which can also be seen in the odd lyrics (what’s new with that?). It’s funky, a bit slower than Jet and rather fun, but I’d just much rather listen to Jet than this. It seems there is a bit too much going on at times and the chorus just isn’t as infectious. Beautiful Stranger features Luna, Krystal AND Amber (woah) although she just does the rapping for this song. I would say this is the best song after Electric Shock just because it follows continues this electronic sound while fusing it into a R&B ballad. It’s powerful and more reminiscent of American ballads out now with it’s heavy beat and almost majestic sound. What I like most though is that it showcases everyone’s talent. Amber does a decent rap here that isn’t fully of cheesy lyrics and the other girls, as usual, sound great on their singing parts. Love Hate brings us back to the upbeat tunes, but with something a little more on the pop side. This is a good song just because it’s so carefree and fun. Odd lyrics, chanting chorus, smooth verses and a heavy beat. The chorus I find especially new for f(x) because while they’ve had a song with chanting in it in the past, it hasn’t been like this. The mini ends with Let’s Try a midtempo pop song but with a slight reggae influence. It’s slower than the previous song and is something newer to f(x)’s discography. There are parts of it that I’m not really into like the opening of the chorus because it has that odd note in it, but there are some parts that really shine such as the middle 8. I must say that this has a lot of potential but is a good song nevertheless. I personally think Krystal really shines here too.

Overall: I’m so surprised. After Pinocchio I wasn’t sure if f(x)’s major release could bring me back to liking them, but it sure did. This is quite a solid mini and what I enjoyed most was that all the songs had an upbeat quality to them. It’s fun like their previous stuff but it’s not out of control and the arrangements are nicely done.

A

[Repackaged] f(x) – Hot Summer

Hot Summer  is the repackaged edition of f(x)’s first album, Pinocchio. It includes one new song and three previously released as digital singles or singles. The title track was used as the promotional single.


Released: June 14, 2011
1. Hot Summer [MV]
2. Pinocchio (Danger) (피노키오) [MV]
3. Round and Round (Sweet Witches) (빙그르)
4. Is It OK? (좋아해도 되나요)
5. Dangerous
6. Beautiful Goodbye
7. Gangsta Boy
8. Child (Love) (아이)
9. Stand up!
10. My Style
11. So Into U
12. Lollipop (feat. SHINee)
13. LA chA TA (라차타) [MV]
14. Chu~♡ [MV]

Hot Summer is a blazing pop track that is actually a cover of a Monrose song of the same name. While it might be a cover, it was changed slightly in a way that really seems to fit with the rest of f(x)’s other title tracks with the beat being so strong and the mix of different synths playing in the background. But I think the song is much stronger than their previous title track, Pinocchio, as it seems much more focused in its delivery and doesn’t rely on too much gimmicky action to get by. The vocals are great too, despite being rather layered, although I do find it sad that we don’t hear as much Luna as I would hope. It’s just an overall fun song and fits well with its season. Is It OK? was used for a drama and features a very strong pop tinge to it. It’s a pretty happy go-lucky type of song and while I don’t find it particularly fitting of f(x)’s sound, it’s still a solid song and compared to the rest of the album one of the stronger songs. It was also nice to hear Amber singing (as well as the rest of the group seeing as many of their songs feature them semi-singing) and everyone showcases pretty decent vocals here. The repackaged also features two other previously released songs, LA chA TA and Chu~♡. I’m not particularly sure why these were added (except maybe LA chA TA), but they are nice additions. LA chA TA is my favourite f(x) song and is just altogether a very catchy and clean song, whereas Chu~♡ is a bit more on the cuter song and while not a favourite of mine still easily outdoes most of the album.

Overall: The repackaged seems to help clean up a few things that left the original a bit weak. All the tracks included were either strong or at least decent and although it would’ve been nice to hear some new stuff I can see why some of these old tunes were added. The only new song, Hot Summer, is great though and it fits with their sound quite well.

A