Let’s take a look back in time and revisit f(x)’s electronic tour de force, Red Light.
Allow me to explain the what this series means since I plan to make more like this once a week. If you don’t care and just want to ogle at Krystal, scroll down until you pass Zico.
Honestly, I don’t like just making one post a month. The drafts I have at the moment are either too technical for me to do in one sitting, or are saved for a later date (won’t be too long, just you wait). This blog was just sitting here for months till I finally posted my blocking post, but it was already too late and visitors already dismissed this site as a way for me to have a WordPress account and make unneeded comments on some other blog.
There’s also the less important issue of regretting being a k-pop fan pretty late into the game. I was present for only one 2NE1 release, I didn’t get to see how BTS grew from nugus to all stars, the T-ara scandal didn’t seem that big of a deal when I first heard about it, etcetera, etcetera, and so forth. When I find a song that was released in the past, could even be half a year ago, depending on how deep in the k-pop hole I was at the time, I’d feel a bit bummed I missed the excitement of when that song, or even album, was dropped.
So what can I do to fix this site’s inactivity problem? Make a roundup posts discussing what I think about songs released that week? How original. Plus, I don’t want to force myself into watching nugu crap that’s no good. And what about wanting to make lemonade out of digging into k-pop’s history in releases? Make Best Songs in the Year of 20(x)? Even more original. (Actually, I’m not against that idea, but it’s a bit overdone. Doesn’t mean I’ll never make one.)
I kinda liked what I did with my BTS review, saying what I think without making it a traditional review. Gotta be honest here, I can’t do traditional reviews. All those adjectives and examining every detail of the song and video into technological perspective is not my style. I don’t know how The Bias List does it. I’d die of boredom after giving the 372nd song an averaged 8 while providing reasons why that rating. That’s why I like Kpopalypse’s “reviews” (roundups and songs lists). It’s even better when he doesn’t even mention the song’s quality. I get a nice little anecdote/fanfic while being exposed to the song.
So that gave me the idea to make thoughts posts once a week (Thursday, because I’m a basic bitch.) for any song I’d like, but I want to have a justified reason to discuss that song. What if instead of just picking songs from my “Kpop Playlist”, I pick based on news; take a quick glance at what’s happened the past week, or hopefully the past few days, find a news story involving an idol/group (that isn’t a comeback, too easy), and pick a song that idol/group has done for my thoughts post?
So what’s happened in the past week for f(x) to be the first featured artists in “Throwback Thoughts”? While Mamamoo’s blackface scandal was close to getting a song featured here this week, Sulli and Choiza’s break up takes the cake. You might think it’s just dating news, but the way their relationship was reacted to makes it a love story for generations to remember when reminiscing K-pop through the ages.
And why Red Light? I probably would have picked Hot Summer or Rum Pum Pum Pum because they seem like they’d get more thoughts out of me. But since this was Sulli’s last song before putting more focus into ironing Choiza’s shirts, it would seem wrong not to choose this song.
When I first got a glimpse of f(x), I didn’t see them as some experimental group. This was when I was ankles deep in the k-pop pool, so everything looked weird and different. Eventually, I understood why their music does stand out. Red Light is only close to being my favorite song from them, but it sure is the most daring song they made, and one of SM’s most daring songs in general. (Try to guess another one without clicking.)
Liking this song isn’t really easy. If you like it because it sounds different from everything else but you don’t know why, you need to keep digging and figure out how it’s different. The parts are slightly disjointed, but in a good way. Good way meaning they aren’t that separate from each other and go together very well while the verses, chorus, and breakdown still have their own independence.
At first, I thought I liked the breakdown more. But listening to the song again, I found something I never noticed before. During the second half of the final chorus, (begins at 3:22) a variation of Verse 1 is being recited which I never heard till now. I call it a variation because it has the first 4 lines, then Amber just says ‘caterpillar’ over and over (okay not really but it feels like it). Recently, I realized I like it when lyrics overlap from other parts of the song overlap. Another example is Shinhwa’s This Love when Eric’s rap breakdown, the chorus, and the chorus+ (Every time I count 1 2 3…) come together.
For the actual video, I’m not keen on trying to make sense out of music videos, linear or not. All I got is that cat looks cool.
I do have something to say about the dancing. From the choreography I’ve seen for f(x) songs, they definitely stand out from other girl groups. The way I see choreography is the dance must match the music. f(x) has received experimental songs for years, so their dancing has to mesh well with the odd music. And I’m frankly not a fan of what they’ve danced in the past. Just personal taste, take it with a grain of salt. Every song they’ve had up to that point has at least one dance point that looks weird and different. It is different from other girl groups, and if you like it for that reason, keep liking it.
Red Light, however, doesn’t have that problem for me. It’s punchy because the song is punchy. At times it looks militaristic, which the song also sounds at times. I guess the reason I don’t have an issue here is all of their songs besides this sound ‘girly’, ‘fun’, etc. Even Nu ABO has girly moments here and there. Therefore the dances had to look fun and playful, almost too playful. Here, however, the girls are dancing like they want to hurt something. Which means I can take it more seriously.
In conclusion, Red Light is a mandatory listen/watch. Even if you don’t like it, you should know it exists and how it is a great offering in ‘bad-ass girl group songs’. It’s also their last hurrah before Sulli took away their experimental edge with her. Hopefully she didn’t leave it behind at Choiza’s place while moving out. Anyway, I give it 2 stop lights out of 3.