I gave this album a listen a couple of days ago on its release day and was honestly confused and pretty grossed out by what I had just sat through. Today, I went ahead and gave it a second chance to 1.) attempt to put into words what I don’t like about it, and 2.) to see if there’s a chance of actually enjoying what f(x) has to offer, musically.
In all honesty, I think I can listen to the title track (NU ABO) rather than watch it on video. That is if I had a choice between the two. I say this because I believe an album is supposed to be an entity, a whole piece of work and what I’m seeing visually and what I’m hearing aren’t correlating correctly for me. I can hear a more rebellious sound in NU ABO compared to last year’s LaChaTa, but only in the instrumentation. The phrasing and structure of this song is a cluster fuck. The pace frustrates me because the song has no direction what so ever. Generally speaking, pop songs are pretty much a build up to a climax and when it’s done right, the climax is explosive. This song is too thwarted to dance to and too messy for easy listening. Mr. Boogie is a little more tidy, but it bores me. If anyone can tell me what the meaning and concept to these songs are I’d appreciate it, because right now it sounds like I’m listening to some of the most meaningless music I’ve heard in a while.
I’m not sure if I’m going in chronological order, but I’d like to point out that Ice Cream sounds like something SNSD would have had in their Oh! album if it wasn’t already filled with bubble gum pop from floor to ceiling. ‘Ice Cream’ is the kind of generic song that doesn’t sound terribly bad and no one really hates it, but it isn’t fulfilling at all. Listening to this song reminds me of how irrelevant the facade they’ve acquired in their concept photos is and that it has absolutely nothing to do with their music and the kind of artists they are being forced to be. f(x) has no identity and they can’t identify with a particular style of music. At least not based off of this song.
Or the dreadful ME+U. All seriousness has flown out of the window now. This song is not boring, it’s up tempo and, structurally, well put together. I would have loved to hear SNSD sing this song over f(x) because it suits the cutesy phase they go through much more than these ladies. However, that isn’t the case and I’m left pretty confused.
The mini album has two additional slower songs which are in one word, forgettable. Surprise Party sounds like a filler track that S Club 7 would have used back in the early 2000’s on one of their less successful albums. And Sorry (Dear Daddy) is nothing special, but it proves that this group of misfits have some semblance of talent.
As hip as they look in their concept photos, this whole project isn’t working properly. They’re just another Korean pop girl-group that have chewed up a handful of ideas and reworked them to produce an icky mess of sounds that aren’t new nor innovative. They’re not bringing anything new to Korean pop music other than interesting mops of hair and a tomboy.