f(x) - "Hot Summer"

I know, I know - shoot me now. I spent the remaining days of my summer break lazing around, but in my defense I was extremely frustrated that I couldn't write at all! Like literally, my brain juices all dried up and I was left with a mountain of unfinished drafts on blogger, some even un-started. And that really bothered me. I joined SOOMPI's news team earlier this month to try and push myself to write, and it looks like it's slowly working. Not sure if that's really the reasons why I've actually written something after like a gazillion years. I'm a bit rusty around the edges because obviously I haven't written reviews recently, so take it easy on me, please?


That said, I just started college today (no formal classes yet or anything), and based on my schedule for this semester, I'll have a lot of free time. To write, maybe? We'll see, since I'm taking 2 English/Lit classes this semester (prerequisites for my Comp. Lit subjects ugh) and I'll be writing a lot there too.


"Hot Summer", oh yes my friends, it is the Monrose song off the now legendary (one way or another, for me at least) "Strictly Physical", which I liked thank you very much, which became Stonefoxx's shot at fame, mainly because it was a Monrose cover. So technically I'm back to my blogging roots - Monrose and Stonefoxx were the groups I followed back when I was still blogging about UK and US music (trying to get back to that, but seeing as I can't even write about kpop anymore, it'll take some time) and one way or another I kinda liked them.

I never really took note of the song itself though. I mean I heard both versions, but either in passing or if I did like either version, it wasn't for too long. Now that I hear it though, it's not half bad. And with the right tweaking, something that could possibly work very well for f(x).

The Monrose version had a lot of attitude, standard Monrose, a very packed arrangement at times with hints of GA/Xenomania here and there ("Sexy! no no no..." anyone?), while the Stonefoxx version had a much more tame and clear arrangement, and very clean, smooth vocals. Polar opposites, if I may say so.

So where does the f(x) version lie? The same way the previous two versions bore the arrangement trends of their time, the f(x) version is very packed. VERY packed. This song definitely got the SM/YYJ treatment - the vocals, the arrangement, the instrumentation, they're all distinctively SM.

And surprisingly, distinctively f(x). At this point in their career, they've established a sound and it's very clear where they can go, and where they will most likely end up. Of course it took several disasters and some mediocrity, all of which I complained about, but this is now. And now is good. Now is them. Very them.

They kept those "eyyy yo"'s at the beginning, not sure if I like it better with, or without. It fits pretty well though. I'm not that fond of synth-fests in general, but there are times when I just feel like listening to heavily-produced, really packed songs, and this falls right into that category. I've gotten used to the talking during the verses and although it's not really something I personally like, they do pull it off rather well. The vocals are treated very much like an f(x) song - it's nothing new, but the familiarity of it is what gives the song an edge.

Looking at everything they've put out, everything from "Chu" to the present actually have even just a few similar elements. Of course I hated "Chu" and cursed "NU ABO", but they delivered with "Danger", and just drove it home with "Hot Summer". The f(x) style is not a style I particularly adore, nor is it something I will look for and really make people look up to, but it's them, and in k-pop it's become their sound. Everything from the melodies, the arrangements, the vocals, they way they're treated and the combination of all those - they own it.

And for that, they now have my respect. You all know it's not something I give out very easily, but they have proved, with "Danger" and now "Hot Summer", that they do have an identity, and they can deliver. Well, I expect nothing less from an SME 5-piece.

4.7/5

8 comments:

  1. I missed your reviews, i'm so glad your writer's block went mostly away. Hopefully it goes away soon :)

    I think F(x) really could have went for urban pop, it would fit much more nicely with their image. I like F(x), but there is something that stops me from considering them in my top 5 favourite girl groups.

    I hope Amber get's more lines in this because she has a very nice voice and she is amazing at rapping. She only got a couple of lines in Danger, but she should have got more lines there to add more dynamics.

    They better not ruin Luna's voice D:

    Krystal remains consistent. Even though her voice get's annoying at times, i prefer it over Jessica's voice. I don't know but there is something that i like about Krystal...i can't place my finger on it. Maybe the stage presence?

    Sulli and Victoria have improved so much!! :D

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  2. Agree that f(x) have defined what they are and are sticking to it. Good for them.

    I hate to bring up SHINee in an f(x) post but I feel the need to say this. If Sulli and Victoria can improve so much along with Taemin, why can't the same happen for Minho? I wish he would spend more time at the practice room working on his singing instead of being all athletic/competitive. He's bringing the talent quota in SHINee down. Some can argue he's the rapper (he's not even very good at that). But it doesn't excuse being tone deaf & sounding so average in their lives. As a SHINee fan, I feel so bad when he sings off-key with the few lines he has. One example: I cringed when he sang lines from "Hello" at the Idol special in Pattaya. It just does not present SHINee in a good light.

    Sulli and Victoria has done very well in their Danger performances. I used to think they were just pretty but I like them now. I am still waiting for the day I will be impressed with Minho. I'm not hating on him for fun. I am actually a very frustrated fan. I used to go easy on him, but not now after Sulli, Victoria and Taemin proved it is possible to show growth and improved singing.

    Sorry for the long rant and to the Minho fans I will upset along the way. Some say he's hardworking. It seems to me he needs to continue working harder on his singing

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  3. Out of curiosity, did you plan to review Danger by f(x)?

    Truth be told I prefer LaChaTa and Nu Abo over Danger or Hot Summer. I don't know- something about Nu Abo and LaChaTa had spunk to me- it was fierce. Danger was just really bland- it was like the same key over and over again. And not like Lucifer where there's some sort of variety, it was just bland.

    Hot Summer is pretty good, the vocal treatment is better than heaps of their other songs. And in response to XoXVictoriaXoX's comment- Sulli and Victoria have improved- plenty. That or they're getting decent non-squeaky chanty lines now. As for the Krystal vs Jessica thing- honestly I don't see that much difference in their voices- then again I don't despise Jessica's or Krystal's voices the way some people do. These days as long as they can actually SING I'm good with them, since voice is largely opinionated.

    But I really dislike the fact BOTH of their lead singles are EuroPop remakes- it mothers be infinitely. I need to disagree with you there- if taking other songs and making covers of them makes their identity as a band, I can't give them credit for it. Almost all their sings of Danger were remakes- did SME's producers dry up?

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  4. @ XoxVictoriaXox, agreed on Amber.

    And on that note: Please, kpop (SM in particular) stop ignoring your altos and basses! Do you know how much better your songs could be with mezzos, altos, baritones, and basses adding more dimension and depth to your sound? A lot of songs -while simple in structure- are hard to sing and tend to be on the thin side, polyphonic-ally speaking because they're dominated by sopranos and tenors.

    @ Anonymous: 1) Since SHINee are going to promote in Japan, Minho will get whipped into shape just like SNSD did. 2) It's not Minho's choice over whether or not he goes on those shows. 3) If he hasn't received proper training from an actual baritone, then how is he going to improve? The only reason Taemin improved was because he's a tenor and therefore trainable for Jonghyun. Minho on the other hand, can't be trained by Jonghyun because Jonghyun doesn't have the range to properly teach Minho how to use his deep voice to his advantage. A tenor sounds best in his upper range and will use it more than his (lesser developed) lower range. It's best for a bass/baritone to teach someone like Minho and that vocal type is few and far between. I'd say Mickey, but unfortunately, he left, and Yunho wouldn't teach him right because he tends to go nasal.

    @LunarStone: agreed on the Euro-pop. Granted, I like Euro-pop, but I don't want remakes to be the only way to define them and figure out what will work. That was SHINee's problem. As gorgeous as their voices are/were on those remakes, they didn't really have a "sound" until Ring Ding Dong, Lucifer, and early on: SHINee World and Replay.

    I must say, even if it is a remake, f(x) worked it. I love that the under appreciated ones (Amber, Vic, and Sulli) are getting the opportunity to grow and shine as vocalists these days. f(x) is not Luna (even if she is the best right now and could go solo if SM said she could) and Krystal (who's just there to ride on Jessica's coat tails -fame wise; vocally, Krystal is more tolerable).

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  5. @LaurenLCD

    I agree with you on the whole mezzo/alto/bass thing, what kpop entertainments have to understand is that not everyone can sing with light higher pitched voices, and certainly not everyone can sound wispy and cutesy. Entertainments have to play the strengths of all their members and make the song work for all their voices. Different ranges do make the song more interesting.

    One theory i have to conclude is that rappers or rapping is a treat at SME, since they really don't get a lot of rappers. That's why Amber and Minho sing less, and rap more in songs. Its a little sad because both them would have very decent voices if they were trained. Where as YG, they get a lot of rappers, so you need to be able to sing very well in order to separate yourself from another rapper auditioning (with the exception of G-D and T.O.P)

    There isn't anyone in SHINee who could help Minho, maybe Onew since out of all them Onew would be the closest. I'm not sure about any Suju members who have low yet good voices, maybe that guy from TRAX? (i think his name is Jay)

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  6. Here we go with the "Japan whipped SNSD into shape so they'll whip SHINee into shape too" rubbish. You know who really whipped them into shape? Their own dog gone self motivation. This is not an industry where you can just push someone into the spotlight of success like there's some magic button for vocal improvement. The desire to grow and achieve progress in this cut-throat environment has to come from within.

    f(x) is a great example, never went to Japan, but they've managed to improve plenty, to the point where it's almost a consensus they sound much better vocally as a group than their earlier days. Plenty of groups have gone to Japan without being whipped into shape *cough* 2PM *cough*. What a ridiculous theory to take credit away from the singers themselves.

    I'm not suggesting Minho doesn't have the desire to improve, he's a hard worker and has a good voice and the potential to be good vocally. I read that he use to be a weak dancer too in his trainee days, now he's rarely off beat even doing a tough choreography like RDR. So he can definitely improve, he just needs to find the time (SM gives him some time!) and the right tools to help him get there. In terms of a trainer for Minho, I think SJ Kyuhyun is a great choice because he's got a smooth bass, and TRAX Jay is also a good choice. Outside of SM, they can always hook him up with The One, who has trained TVXQ and SNSD before. There's always a "weakest link" in every group, Yunho was like that in TVXQ5, but look how much better he is now. So don't write Minho off just yet.

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  7. I think that Onew, kyuhyun, Yesung can help Minho, since all of them are great baritones (except Kyuhyun, he's a bass).

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  8. Please do a review about Electric Shock! :)

    ReplyDelete

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