K-POP / KOREAN CULTURE / REVIEWS

[Album Review] NU ABO by f(x)

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.

Thoughts?

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8 thoughts on “[Album Review] NU ABO by f(x)

  1. completely agree. NU ABO has a great beat but no direction. Other songs are forgettable. Allkpop is fawning all over the album and video like they’re the best thing since sliced bread, but in reality they won’t be able to compete with the bigger acts promoting right now, because it’s just not that good. And with all the comebacks in the next 2 weeks (SO EXCITED OMG) i really don’t see them standing a chance. Even the less popular songs being promoted right now (e.g. UKISS Mworago and ZE:A All Day) outshine this track, not only because the live performance will likely be very dull compared to Chu and LaChaTa.

    I’m disappointed with SM Ent though – SHINee, Super Junior and even SNSD have come out with better tracks and more cohesive albums recently. I suppose it’s just proof of where their priorities lie – NOT with f(x). Which is a shame, because they do have some talent. My biggest frustration with k-pop is to see talent go to waste via bad decisions on the part of the management. It’s so hard to come by in the first place – why make things harder?

    • I’m right there with you. SO excited for this month. Come next week and the fun begins.
      And I’m in agreement with you about SME. They did a half-assed job with f(x), even before this album. Their material isn’t the worst I’ve heard, but it has nothing interesting to offer. SME has put out a cheesy girl group with crappy songs and it’s not worth their effort if they’re not gonna care enough about their music. And they’re talented! At least most of them *sigh*

  2. cosign the first two comments, i completely agree with your review. i do think the track Nu Abo is catchy but it had to grow on me. i love the song’s beat but then again anything can sound good after a few minutes of listening to it.

    i also agree with mellowyel re: management not putting much work into f(x). i sincerely believe they are talented and i guess that’s part of the reason i really want to like this album.

    • I hope they’ve done a better job with Suju and the rest of SME’s groups. If they fuck up SHINee’s comeback, I’ll be royally pissed off. :P

  3. i want to like f(x). really. i do. but they have to do much better than this.

    i’d appreciate it if luna wasn’t the only one who had to vocally support the whole group. amber has a lovely timbre but hasn’t learned technique, sulli and victoria…… yeah let’s just say there’s a reason why SM makes them CHANT. if you can’t sing, you shouldn’t be a singer. krystal is overrated and has next to no range. she’s shrill and sounds like a mini jessica, the latter who i might add, HAD a lovely voice, but is now just whiny. i have no idea what happened to her. SM, if you want to create a female SHINee, try using girls that can sing well.

    NU ABO (fail lyrics aside) goes nowhere. luna’s middle eight is the only good thing about it.
    i’d say mr. boogie is my favorite off of the album, but that’s not saying much. the song doesn’t go anywhere though.
    i like sorry’s percussion loop. that’s about it. if it were just luna singing, i’d love it.

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