f(x): ‘4 Walls’ – Album Review

4 Walls seems like an album f(x), the South Korean now current-quartet, having been gearing up to create for a long time. Whilst the girls’ previous releases served up some pretty catchy K-pop fierceness, and even offered some versatile sounds that expanded the genre itself (see Pink Tape for example), neither of their entries were particularly solid or perfected from start to finish. They sometimes had those little bum notes that sometimes ruined the cohesive structure. But with 4 Walls, its all business and party for the group.

For this album, the group swerve into mainstream music culture by riding the Deep House wave on some tracks, including the catchy chill-out love anthem “4 Walls”, and the stylish 90s-inspired “Rude Love”. Yes, deep house is becoming a bit overused in the West (ohhhh the sarcasm lol), but these two tracks are pretty stellar in comparison to some of the offerings out on the Top 40 charts around the globe; it’s catchy, straightforward, and delicate. But the group don’t lose their K-pop touch with some number such as “Déjà vu”, the schizophrenic synth-driven dance track. “When I’m Alone”, the album’s closing track, is also another gem to the collection, presented with Europop-influenced synths and stylish vocals by the girls. But the album’s most intriguing entry (I guess you can say slightly weird) is the thumping flamenco-inspired K-pop dance track “Papi”, which is yet another fast pacing entry to the album.

However, there are parts of the album that were questionable, including the subpar “Diamond” and the generic four-on-the-floor filler track “Cash Me Out”. None of these tracks standout here, and seem like last-minute ideas from the producers. “Traveler” is another iffy moment, but the verses stand out because of their relatively softer and cute-ish vocals (in other words… they sound good, the music is pretty dumb). And whilst “X” isn’t a bad addition, it feels rather underwhelming in its sound and doesn’t stand a chance against the rest of the album’s material.

Overall, 4 Walls is a step up from their previous albums. Yes, you get those butt-tracks that don’t really satisfy quite well (or need’s another spin), but majority of its stand out hits are real pop bangers and boasts a well-rounded prospects for the group’s future experimentation and direction.

Track list (Bold means best tracks)

  1. 4 Walls ~Liam’s favorite~
  2. Glitter
  3. Deja Vu
  4. X
  5. Rude Love
  6. Diamond
  7. Traveler (feat. Zico of Block B)
  8. Papi
  9. Cash Me Out
  10. When I’m Alone

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