f(x)’s third single was released on November 9, 2009.
Not sure what to say about this cover. It looks really pose-y and staged, and lol @ their clothes.
Having only recently discovered f(x) through their debut single LA chA tA, I figured reviewing their first physical single would be the next step because, well, these girls are great. However, Chu~♡ is something of a step down from f(x)’s massively catchy debut in that it sounds trendy to the point of being formulaic. The song starts off with the heavily Auto-Tuned hook, Do it do it chu~, which I find catchy although the following verses are sort of bland. I actually do like the aggressive synth here and the way it exaggerates the dance-y beat. Krystal, Victoria, Sulli and Luna all do a fair if not all that spectacular job with their sections, and things are going pretty well until Amber’s rap comes in. Um, trying too hard much? Sorry, Amber. In truth, this song was rather enjoyable, however I think some more fine-tuning may be needed for the girls to find a sound completely their own.
Step by Me surprised me, considering my expectations weren’t all that high. It’s a bouncy, cute pop song with enough girlish flair to last for days. I’m normally not a fan of this type of song, but when done correctly it comes off as cheerful as opposed to irritating. That said, the combination of deep R&B beats and sunny piano do a really nice job of framing the girls’ feminine vocals. It’s a simple but pleasant affair. However, going back to the formulaic issue, Step by Me sounds VERY Girls Generation-esque – make of that what you will. I personally liked it, but I couldn’t help but feel like I was waiting for Taeyeon to pop out of nowhere.
With a name like You Are My Destiny, it’s got to be epic, right? Well, depends on your definition of ‘epic’. This song is, in all fairness, a really nice and pretty ballad with some pretty damn good vocals to its name. Does it sound kind of predictable? Sure, but predictability isn’t always a bad thing, especially when it comes to sweeping ballads of this caliber. It might just be because it’s winter now and I’m in the ballad-y mood, but I really enjoyed every moment of the twinkling piano and cascading strings in this song. You can hear the emotion going into it, which always makes for a good end product.
Summary: When it comes to up-and-coming artists and groups, I tend to want to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the hype surrounding them is justified. In the case of f(x), a five-member girl group formed in the wake of the recent 2NE1 phenomenon, there’s certainly something to get hyped up about. LA chA tA was a great debut, and it sure made SM Entertainment’s claims of them being “Asia’s pop dance group” seem legit. However, with the release of Chu~♡, the group’s first physical single, something seems to have faltered – all of a sudden, f(x) sounds like Anygroup, a blank slate onto which trends can be projected. The single’s three songs sometimes reveal glimpses at something great, however I believe they need more time to soul-search and find what makes f(x), f(x). Which, by the way, is not a tomboy female rapper who sends the fangirls into a fit of girlish squeals.
Single Grade: B