Four is a party on f(x)’s fourth studio effort. The album marks the South Korean girl group’s first in the absence of Sulli, who officially left the group in October this year.
At first listen, that departure seems to be a blessing in disguise. The new foursome sounds more cohesive, and the beats are also more polished and sharper this time around.
f(x) has for the longest time, been one of the rare mainstream acts in kimchi republic that dare to experiment with their music. The girls does not disappoint with the lead single title track. 4 Walls – with its slinky synths and dreamy hooks – is a futuristic-sounding tropical house jam that is leaps and bounds ahead of the conventional K-pop fares.
Elsewhere, the numbers are equally trendy. The glossy electro drip-drops on the sassy Diamond and the gradual metamorphosis from smooth rap verses to playful retro-infused melodies on Traveler are commendable for a genre that usually plays safe with ebullient bangers.
But the girls falter when they’re trying to play catch up with their contemporaries. The unabashedly girlish Glitter and cutesy Cash Me Out are derivative offerings that mar an otherwise solid and edgy record.