KuzzReviews: f(x) gets it going on Red Light

Now I have been on the f(x) train for at the last week or so. I have very few groups I like for several reasons, and one of them that are slowly making their way into my heart is this SM girlgroup. The issue is musically I just think they are almost there but not really. Prior to this album, their best work was done in 2012 with Electric Shock. Yes I am not giving Pink Tape the props that people give it. I think ELectric Shock had gave the group material they could work well with, as well as maintaining a level of energy throughout. That’s usually my issue with f(x) *and most of k pop*, is consistency throughout a project. I know every album is not going to be perfectly made, and I am okay with that…but what I think Electric Shock had that Pink Tape could not capture was from start to finish there was spark. I got drug down with their last full album, even though their were strong songs.

So with that…I wonder if Red Light, was going to take Electric Shock’s spot, or was it going to be a true ass follow up to Pink Tape.

Red Light

I have been holding off talking about this song so I could talk about it on the album review. I like the song. I think that while there could have been safer choices, this one has people talking the most. This can be a good or bad thing.  I love the beat, I love them on it, and how this actually in a sense reflects the actual concept. The intro right up to the first chorus are everything to me. That second verse gave me life. The chorus is great. The use of harmonies to make this song happen. Like the song does not feel flat to me. The issue…well first the lyrics are foggy. I’m not a lyricist, and I am always aware of lost in translation issues, but if you cannot get your point accross musically via the lyrics, then you have a problem. No matter how the girls sound, no matter how much I love the beat, no matter how on it this sounded, the lyrics kind of just tarnish the value when I read them. Now I liked RPPP because they actually made it work with the whole first love= wisdom tooth. They did. Red Light however is going three different ways and it don’t make sense. First you talking about the strong and how you one of them, then a bad relationship, and not living your life. Where is this all going? No where. That is the problem. It goes no where. Also reflecting the hm lyrics is the fact this song tried to insert a chorus into a pre-existing beat. The beat sounds overall brighter and doesn’t gibe well with the song itself. Despite liking the song off the bat, and overall not caring for it now, it is something that is rather glaring, when the original beat was okay. I also understand it gives the song a bit of drama, and that is good, but maybe they should have tried a little harder.

MILK

One of the pre-release teaser songs. We got a snippet of it a few days early to their comeback stage, and then got a fuller teaser of it (Sans the second verse) during it. Now…another song where the lyrical content really kind of just fucks the song for me. I get and understand where they were going. However…once again sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t. I mean at least this time they focused on one subject. Anyway it’s about a breaking up being so bad it left the girl affected (a burn on her hot), and the only thing that helps her is milk (old wives tale is to put the burn into milk to help). I love the beat, and they sound good…the issue…well they don’t sound sad. They sound kind of seductive. Like…please try to make sure you actually sound sad when singing a sad song. Once again, I was better off not knowing the lyrical content.

Butterfly

If this had been put later on the album, I would not have something to say. It’s a nice song, and I don’t mind it really…BUT…it disrupts the flow. Vocally they blend in together a little too well. I heard Amber and Krystal, and Luna….I have no idea where Sulli and VIctoria are. I think this song was supposed to be trippy in a way. It is bright and mellow at the same time. I really want to like it, but maybe it should have been further down on the album (like around Summer Lover). This song just seems like a victim of poor placement.

Rainbow

Should have followed Red Light. Should have not read the lyrics. They are not terrible, but I kind of wanted something with more punch. This is something Azealia Banks could have taken and slaughtered. I wanted something where I could go 10, 10 across the board (Ballroom scene thing). It has the feel of a track that was maybe to big for them, and trying to let them be in their element on here did nothing. Red Light proved they could do something with more punch, and RPPP while a lil childish lyrically, proved they could sound like adults. This song could have been “fierce”, but we get some Kidz Bop lyricism, and the delivery was just as soft. I love the song itself, just…not everything else. I am just going to pretend they made this for the gays and move on.

All Night

They talking about sex. I am not even going try and question that. Once again the whole lyrical metaphor thing is tired. And the lyrics here are about colors…again…Another track I just need not to look at the lyrics. As a group, they sound great, here their kind of one note, slightly cute vibe comes in handy on the retro touched production. And Luna actually gets to be the main vocal again….yay for a small high note.

Vacance

80’s teas. Summer song. This is the most straight forward, no double meaning song so far. I am happy. It took me a minute to warm up to the song. First listen I was eh, skipped over it the next few times. When I finally listened to it fully, I was not upset. It is an okay song, and obviously a filler track. But a nice one. Once again,  Luna gets to do main vocal job.

Spit It Out

Really pushing it with this double meaning mess.  I like the track. It is very them at this stage, but the lyrics. Once again, if I hadn’t read the lyrics I would not even care. The song is one of my favorites from the album.

Boom Bang Boom

The beat, the actually interested delivery. I don’t even care about anything else. And I can hear Victoria and Sulli clearly. And once again Luna is doing her job. Plus the harmonies. I haven’t talked about that much on this album, but they have been killing me on them harmonies. But they are neccessary here. It adds to the bigger effect of the song. If they could have come just a little harder vocally, I would have been forever slain. Still a good song. Yes Krystal, I do to.

Dracula

Take this Thriller wannabe mess somewhere else please. I am in the minority that does not care for this song. First off the song doesn’t just fit the album to me. The album is giving you a ballroom scene, electronic club, 80’s skating rink, and Dracula sounds like none of that. The beat is nice, but meh at the same time for me. Vocally they go no where (Sans Luna), and then that sad ass excuse of a damn chorus and hook. If all else fails, give me a hook that will stick. Tutututu Dracula is not worth it. I have no qualms in skipping it. I will say this is the only song with the whole metaphor thing going on where it works. But overall I am okay with saying I am not a fan of K Pop’s rendition of Thriller, and I skip it.

Summer Lover

It’s nice. I really don’t have much to say about it. The song is less trying to be metaphors, and straight forward lyrically. The overall appeal is nice. I don’t know…it’s not an absolute fave, and I think this song is overall done better than many on this album, but…it’s not exciting enough. I can see people liking it though. Maybe it was put on the album for people to like. It does great as a precursor to the next song I will give it that.

Paper Heart

The final song, and the ballad. We only got one this time, and I am thankful for that. I usually dislike their ballads, because they are generic. f(x) is rather hard to translate to other styles of songs, and that is unfortunate. Paper Heart is an exception. Unfortunately I don’t think they will every recreate the greatness of You Are My Destiny, or I’m Sorry (Dear Daddy) for slower songs…but this is nice. Also Luna doing her thing at the end…I wish she had more ad libs…but eh.


Red Light really defines f(x) as a group now. Mature in sound and theory, but when it comes time to deliver, it can be spotty.

Do I think this album is their best? No. Electric Shock is still in my mind their best work to date as an album, with all the right elements coming together. Red Light however trumps it with overall production, in theory they have better direction on this album, and there are some overall great moments that I don’t think I would have heard on Electric Shock. Plus I finally like their ballad…so…that’s something.

Looking at the album itself, I think just better lyrics is needed. Heavy use of metaphors, allegories, and double meanings is just…it gets old. Plus not every attempt is going to be successful. Sometimes it’s best to say I hate you, and this is why, than say my our love is a dying child who no longer sees the colors. I think SM got up their asses a little bit, and thought this is what f(x) can get away with.

They can’t.

Once again…when we get past that we are left with some slight delivery issues. Come harder. Sound like you are sad and confused. Express the songs lyrics. You can totally do that.

Those are really the only two things I had an issue with really. I only truly disliked one song (Dracula), and the rest I could deal with, and actually liked. They maintained this level of energy throughout, but there were some issues with the tracklist. Butterfly All Night and Milk could have benefitted from being around songs that felt like them. All of them could have came after Dracula and worked well on that side. They all have a more smooth sound to them.

I think this album wanted to take more traditional sounds (stuff you would hear on the radio), and then have electronic (club based) music on one album. You get a good mix, and the songs don’t really falter, but moving from Red Light to Milk was strange.

Red Light, was by no means perfect, but if they stay on this track musically, and just tighten it up, we could get something much more.

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