This is f(x)’s first mini-album, which was released on May 4, 2010.
I was so hoping for something better than this as the cover, but… I suppose this will do. (Am I the only one who finds the blindfold vaguely erotic? Lol, I’m a perv.)
I won’t lie to you – it’s hard for me to pick a place to start in reviewing NU 예삐오 (NU ABO) because I love it so much. But I will. First off, the music is better, and certainly darker than that of most of the songs released so far this year – take the strong beat and synths of Chu~♡ and combine them with the stylish charm of LA chA TA, and you have this song. The vocals in the verse are a kind of rap-talk-singing, which, you know, I’m okay with – I wish they’d actually sing more, but it’s catchy even so. The sections involving actual singing – Luna’s, for example – are absolutely amazing. I’ve heard a lot of people complain about the cheering that can be heard in the background; others say it gives the song atmosphere. My take on this is that I don’t really hear it. The song is so engrossing, I don’t notice it at all! If you can’t tell by my gratuitous praise, I love this song. Really love it. f(x) couldn’t have come back with a better single!
Here comes Mr. Boogie, the song f(x) fans have been waiting for [im]patiently for months. It’s been hailed as a hit that would bring f(x) into superstardom, and I have to say that I agree. A dance song with blaring synths and a dark beat, Mr. Boogie is catchy without being in-your-face. The melody is pretty easy to follow, and the chorus lacks the extra dimension of harmony, but it also features an interesting call-and-response effect, almost like an echo. It’s definitely different compared to f(x)’s other songs because all the lyrics are sung – even Amber has a singing part. And they all sound great. Between this song and NU 예삐오, I think f(x) has come out with two of the strongest K-Pop songs so far this year.
With 아이스크림 (Ice Cream), I was pretty skeptical at first because it seemed to be just your average cutesy song. In some respects it is, but I feel like it manages to be cute without going overboard. Amber’s rap is the only ridiculous part. I have to commend her for rapping in Korean, and she does a good job, but it’s reminiscent of her rap from Chu~♡ rap in a less-than-flattering way. This is a decent song, but it’s really average and stereotypical K-Pop.
ME+U is a really great and catchy song… until the vocals come in. To put it lightly, they sound like anime characters on crack. I’m not going to say right out that this is a bad song – it’s got some pretty catchy parts, especially the chorus. The weirdness of the verses makes a little more sense when you learn the concept of the song: a student’s unrequited crush on a math teacher (talk about something that wouldn’t fly in the U.S., lol). The fact that they’re playing characters lessens the bizarreness of it a bit, but if hyper-cute things put you off, I’d approach this song with caution, or skip it altogether.
The shortest song on this mini-album, Surprise Party is a simple, easygoing R&B song à la Wonder Girls. More or less, it’s a feminine song about wishing one’s significant other a happy, happy, happy birthday. That’s relatable enough, right? Well, long story short, this is a really standard K-Pop R&B song. Make of that what you will. I liked it, but I don’t think it’ll be on heavy rotation on my iPod any time soon.
Finally, capping off the whole thing is Sorry (Dear. Daddy), a duet between Krystal and Luna, and of course, a ballad. I feel like this is a really nice way to bring the album to a close because it’s everything a ballad should be – pretty without being cheesy, and emotional without being weepy. The fact that it’s sung by the two best singers in the group helps, too. I don’t know if anyone feels this way, but I interpret this song as an answer to Girls’ Generation’s song Dear Mom. They’re very similar, only with different parents as the subject. Either way, it’s a really nice track, and it ends the mini-album on a classy note.
Summary: I’ve been waiting a long time for a full mini-album from f(x), and for the most part, NU 예삐오 does not disappoint. The lead single, along with album tracks Mr. Boogie and Sorry (Dear. Daddy) are really nice with things even non-f(x) fans will like. The others are more acquired tastes, but I’m sure more dedicated fans of the group will appreciate them. I think with this mini-album, f(x) are starting to make a name for themselves other than “the female SHINee.” They’ve got a look and sound that are all their own, and I’ve no doubt that they’re aiming for the top.
Album Grade: A-
NU 예삐오 (NU ABO) | Mr. Boogie | ME+U | Sorry (Dear. Daddy)