Learning To Be Careful Of What I Wish For Via F(x)

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Just as a reminder, this is what I said about the song “Airplane” in my review of F(x)‘s new album Pink Tape:

“Airplane” is my favorite track from Pink Tape, as electronica with an ambient vibe will not ever be a bad thing in my book. The sound pulls a lot from Zedd and Kaskade‘s brand of music though I think it remains firmly in F(x) territory overall. This song is a perfect example of how dubstep should be approached in K-pop; the high and lows created by the dubstep are paired with airy vocals that juxtapose each other seamlessly throughout the song instead of acting as a needless and jarring “breakdown” interlude (see “Catch Me”). I can even forgive the “Gangnam Style”-esque chorus intro because all the awesome everywhere else in the song. I don’t know if f(x) has the stage presence carry both energy and melodic nature of the song live, but I really hope they do. (They should get tips from Younha). The only other thing I wish they did in “Airplane” is emphasize the upper-line as an equal and parallel vocal component instead of the weak thing we actually get.

Well, I had actually really, really, wanted a live performance of this song because we rarely get pop music along these lines performed in K-pop, even if they come up on occasion in albums. When I found out F(x) actually started performing the song, I was ecstatic. My favorite song from an album (and a unique one at that) was actually being performed on stage by a K-pop group. The sky must have been falling.

After watching the performance, I realized two things. One, I got excited way too soon, and two, I’m psychic.

I don’t know if f(x) has the stage presence carry both energy and melodic nature of the song live, but I really hope they do.

Truth is, they totally don’t. The live performance was pretty terrible, not because they sound horrible or because the song can’t be performed live, it’s because F(x) has zero stage presence (not to mention the song is cut short). Krystal looks bored. Sulli and Victoria are lethargic. Luna just sings her lines (or lip-syncs) with this really plasticy look on her face, and the only one with any semblance of energy is Amber! That’s not how anyone should perform this kind of song! It doesn’t help that the choreography sucks, but it’s up to the performer to make up for it. Even the “Spectrum” (Zedd) performance by SM The Performance was better than “Airplane”‘s. They’re both so similar in style, yet one is engaging, and the other looks stupid. What is going on? F(x) is supposed to be “Asia’s Female Dance Group”!

And this is when I remember that F(x) is the stepchild of SM that seems to receive no love and attention, and will never get good choreo. This holds especially true when you then go watch this:

(Why does Exo get all the awesome from SM?)

F(x) has so much potential to give femininity in K-pop a harder edge, something that doesn’t involve just looking cute, and doing moves that are more dynamic than just a grab at sensuality. If F(x) was like 90% of girl groups out there, then yeah, I would give them a pass for looking so passive. But F(x) isn’t part of the 90%, nor are they a group like Miss A which is supposed to give a sensual twist to some amazing dancing. F(x) should honestly come off as a boy group in nearly every aspect save the fact that they are a bunch of girls.

I wouldn’t dare dream that SM tries to bend social norm with the existence of F(x) more than they want a quirk to sell, but by golly I wish they would go full force with it. They have the means to, now it’s up to whether they actually have the will to.

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8 responses to “Learning To Be Careful Of What I Wish For Via F(x)

  1. I agree with your thoughts on the live performance! It was such a letdown! Another factor that made me more confused is that f(x) even went to the US to learn choreo with a legit choreographer in LA. If SM had the means to send f(x) to the US to learn some choreo, I honestly do not understand what is up with the lackluster material that f(x) repeatedly gets. I was discussing this with a friend the other day and I likened f(x) to SNSD’s little sis who gets the hand-me-down reject stuff because honestly, I feel like SM does not invest enough time and money into f(x). If you’re not going to wholeheartedly invest in one of your own girl groups, why even bother? It’s unfair to us fans and f(x). Ugh, mini-rant aside, I really hope f(x) gets to show off that choreo they picked up when they were in LA soon!

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    • That performance and the one before it was total crap. At first I thought it was just the stage, or a random occurrence of laziness, but it’s not isolated anymore. Krystal especially looks like she hates being there, since she poses all of two seconds before turning to walk off the stage. I don’t know whether this is SM’s fault or f(x)’s, though either way, something needs to be fixed.

      That new choreography looks to be pretty awesome, though I didn’t get to see the song or the dance in the leaked preview for Go F(x)! before it was taken down. Have you seen it?

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      • Oh yes, I have seen the choreo in Go! f(x). Luckily, I found the Viet sub version of the dance scene, complete with the original song for it. I have a blog entry about it so go here: http://aspiringkpopreviewer.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/go-fx-dance-rehearsal/ I see what you’re saying now because I just watched it again and the only people from f(x) who are actually sorta performing the choreo were Luna and Amber. Sulli looked bored to me the first time I saw this but then I thought maybe it’s because she was trying to go for this silent femme fatale look. After watching it again, Luna looks like she went all out and Sulli looks like she doesn’t give a crap, lol.

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  2. O.O ok I think I’m beginning to get a lil abt what you mean by Airplane being a different kind of dubstep from the usual in kpop. It sounded pretty normal to me haha, but I think it’s cos music elsewhere has more of this? :S
    I feel bad for f(x), I think they’re super cool, pity SM doesn’t…
    And I am so not in the loop, this is my first time hearing abt SM The Performance LOL hahaha!
    I’m curious, how could you tell the Zedd and Kaskade influence? I had to google them O.O

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    • You would be absolutely right, Emily. Normal dubstep, for some crazy reason, seems to be lacking in K-pop.

      Zedd I actually found out about via SM The Performance, and I immensely regretted not knowing about him sooner. As for Kaskade, I listened to a lot of his music while watching Michelle Phan videos (back in the day when she was actually normal). I can’t say I came up with the correlation on my own, because people were throwing around names on youtube, and those were the two I wholeheartedly agreed with. (Basically, “Airplane” is simplified House Music)

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      • Puzzling indeed! It doesn’t even seem to be around in the korea indie electronic side…
        I’m generally not a big fan of electronic stuff, I guess I prefer instruments, but Kaskade is not bad from what I’m hearing.

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  3. F(x) used to be full of life while performing on stage. I remember watching them perform “Chu~” with so much energy. It’s both disappointing and annoying to have to watch them at this state. Sulli looked totally bored, even in the MV! -_-

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