Released: July 29, 2013
During the breakthrough of K-Pop throughout 2012 onwards in the Western world, several Korean starlets and bands tried their very best to re-familiarize a similar field of “Gangnam Style”-realness in their own work. While some bands and singers pulled their weight and mastered it, others didn’t go particularly the way it should have gone. But with f(x), the female quintet (now quartet) of South Korea, they kind of traveled between the middle; offering some slick electropop tunes that either was stellar and pretty filler. With their second studio album Pink Tape, it… well, meets a fine line between mixing up some fresh pop beats, and being slightly mediocre.
It opens with the slick R&B tune “Rum Pum Pum Pum”, which is pretty catchy and offers a pretty sick rap section. R&B is sprinkled throughout the album’s tracks, including the alarming anthem “Kick” and the slow breezy jam “Goodbye Summer”, which features South Korean singer K.O. One note that I did pick up throughout the album is that it showcases some subtle disco riffs and pretty strong vocals from the girls, particularly in “Shadow”. The song is pretty laid back for a pop–dance track, and shows a more relaxed vocal effort by the group and even has some circus-influenced synths. Another disco offering is “Signal”, which could easily be re-recorded for an English-language act like Kylie Minogue or Sophie Ellis-Bextor. The track is split into groovy disco sounds and pop fluff, mixed nicely, and sung quite boldly and shines.
However, as a whole set, I feel that Pink Tape lacks a direction or cohesive structure. We all enjoy K-pop here and there (I certainly do), and we all understand that it’s all pure fluff and fun, but there are tracks on here that don’t stand a chance against other songs, and I feel that the expectations of thrilling us or making us feel happy/loved/sad are pretty soppy. Take “Pretty Girls”, “Toy”, “No More”, and “Snapshot” as examples; sure they’re good songs, but they are nothing but fillers. The acoustic number “Ending Page” is subtle and sweet, but could have been pushed further or even stripped more. It suck’s to believe that the album’s most touching yet strong moment is the house-influenced nightlife anthem “Airplane”, which is pure gold right here.
Overall, Pink Tape offers some fun tunes and gets the job done in terms of presentation, vocals and sound. But as far as the production and progression of the work on here as an entity, I feel it’s more of a half-yet-near-finished development that needs some extra tweaks and adjustments to complete itself as an outstanding piece.
Track list (Bold means best tracks)
- Rum Pum Pum Pum
- Pretty Girl
- Goodbye Summer
- Airplane ~Liam’s favorite~
- No More
- Ending Page