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.