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[Album & MV Review] f(x) - '4 Walls'

By eric_r_wirsing   Thursday, October 29, 2015   30,360   12,894   48



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f(x) - 4 Walls

Track List:

1. 4 Walls
2. Glitter
3. Deja Vu
4. X
5. Rude Love
6. Diamond
7. Traveler (Feat. ZICO)
8. Papi
9. Cash Me Out
10. When I'm Alone

'4 Walls' has a lot of 'four' influence in it from the title song to the number of members in the group (*sniff* we'll miss you, Sulli!), to the fact that this is their fourth LP. But f(x) is back and haven't lost any of their experimental nature with this release. This is their first album as a foursome.

"4 Walls" starts out quiet but insistent and soon picks up a beat in a bit of defiance to its synth washes, which disappear during the chorus. It's smooth and stylish, a nice bit of deep house. It's a lot quieter than previous title tracks like "Red Light" or "Electric Shock," but in some ways it's better with unexpected bridges and a sense that everything builds toward the majestic ending. I particularly love Luna's parts, in many cases blending seamlessly with Krystal's vocals.

The second song, "Glitter," didn't grab me as the first song did. Not too sure about the main verses; they seem disjointed and  the chord progression is off. I like the chorus and bridge, though, when their voices go high and soft.  "Glitter" also has a nice hook: "Crazy crazy for your love. Glitter Glitter Glitter." The song is primarily about a guy.

"Deja Vu" begins with a zigzagging synth and Krystal's sweet voice. I love the way this builds to a more complex song with nicely-timed bridges and raps. This one is also insanely catchy with great hooks. The message is that when they look at a guy, it summons up memories. Not quite the same as Deja Vu, but keep trying. Someday, K-Pop will get it right.

Synth wubs characterize "X," a piece of synth funk, well-behaved and smooth, and you can hear an occasional horn in the chorus, too. A little bit Prince + a lot of f(x) is awesome. At first seeming like the perfect song to go with an EDM-style direction (drug reference), it's more about the magic moment when you touch hands with that special someone.

"Rude Love" launches with rapid keyboards in piano mode, but soon kicks it up with a sweet dance groove. I wasn't entranced in the beginning, but it did not disappoint, with awesome vocal layering and a build and fade to autotune and back. There's a hook that buries itself in the music, "I'm wantin' you baby," until it finally drowns in the bridge and surfaces again, clearer towards the end. It's all about dispensing with courtesy and just going for it.

"Diamond" owes more to a trap influence than anything else. It's got a nice chant where Amber's voice is the clearest, and the happy patter of synth drip-drops here and there before a silky harmony in the chorus. It's sharp and edgy, like a diamond.
The tune is about toughening up and knowing your value.

"Traveler" is a bit impertinent with an occasional echoey synth cough layered over some bass. It starts out with Zico, which I thought was a bit odd, almost like Zico ft. f(x) than the other way round. He does a capable job, but I have to ask why? It's a pretty song, not ballad but chill. The lyrics are about wanderlust, but there's enough in there to indicated that it could be a metaphor about a lover's encounter.

"Papi" is one of the highest energy-songs on this LP. It starts with a bit of chanting, and then Amber's rap helps kick into high gear. It's incredible, body moving, and sassy, and not only that but also Amber has a second rap just ratcheting up the awesome. It's got that trademark f(x) sass that I love so much. The title is
the Central American term for father (or French for grandpa), and it's not explained well at all. The song is a bit open-ended, but I can well imagine the girls grabbing a guy's hands and running off with him.

"Cash Me Out" starts out peppy and straightforward, seeming like something that we might hear on 'Electric Shock' -- until a minute in, where the synth and EDM builds to a crushing crescendo. What's funny is after that, the song proceeds apace, like nothing epic had happened, at least until the last third, where it kicks up again. The lyrics are about giving all your love: "My heart is like the rich/So Cash Me Out"

"When I'm Alone" is the finisher, and it's slow and chill, until the chorus gives life and body to the piece. That's when the beat comes in and suffuses the rest of it, and the killer synth effects are as sharp and crystalline as broken glass. Full-bodied and epic, the message is easy to divine: they're asking the guy to come to them when they're alone.

More focused than 'Red Light,' I've got to say this is one of my favorite f(x) albums. It's got a lot going on, as you can hear by the songs, and some masterful arrangements keep the tunes from becoming a gigantic electronic mess. Each of them has a definitive melody, and other than "Glitter" none of the tracks fall on their face (and even that one has something to redeem it). It's gonna be hard to top this one. f(x) fighting!


Watch the girls make their way through a forested wonderland in "4 Walls!"

We see the girls in an apartment, presumably meant to be their dorm. The scene is all bound in a tight, square frame (4 Walls, anyone?). They drop tea cups, pour boiling water on a table, and such. When one of them slips and falls, Amber starts in on her rap, and the screen widens. Next we find them in a mystic wood that freezes some of them in time, in different places.

The wardrobe is for the most part appropriate. You don't spend a lot of time staring at someone's ostentatious choices, nor much of the girls except as a whole -- the focus is on what they're doing, not so much what they're wearing.

Like "Red Light" before it, this has to be one of the weirder videos I've seen. If there's a lot of symbolism here, I have yet to find it. It runs right along with the music though, and things are usually in focus, but it's still strange. And it might be because the effects are not eye-popping, but rather surprising, a little out of the ordinary, and more than a little spooky, appropriate for the season. This is awesomely produced, though, and never boring.  

SEE ALSO: f(x) fans request a better treatment of the group from SM Entertainment

  1. f(x)
  2. 4 walls

mshazeldc Thursday, January 21, 2016

I am addicted to f(x) and can't stop it . They slayed my heart! this is the best KPOP album of 2015 and the best KPOP song of 2015 is 4walls! ; ;Shut up and take my money SMEnt!

castro407 Friday, November 13, 2015

Fx did an awesome job with this album. I couldn't stop listening to this albuk since it came out. 4 walls album is addicting! Papi is my ultimate favorite. Fx Fighting! Lets continue voting for them for music shows!

ldhfan Friday, October 30, 2015

Whole album is great but: 4 Walls, Rude Love, Cash Me Out, When I'm Alone are my ultimate favorite tracks.

cococcchanel Friday, October 30, 2015

"but keep trying. Someday, K-Pop will get it right" - I died!

Either way, I really like this album. It's very strong material and there's a red thread through the track list. I like almost every single song, while a few has to grow on me a bit more. ;

As for the music video, I really liked it, though I didn't understand much. However, I do think there's a lot of symbolism in there. ;

Overall, I love this comeback from f(x), and probably my favorite. The girls and their sound have matured greatly

kittylissiegirl Friday, October 30, 2015

This album is addicting. I feel Sulli added youth and energy to f(x) and that's what's missing. still, i cant stop listening yo this album.

choi_an_ni Friday, October 30, 2015

1)This is what I love about f(x),the uniqueness in their music,4walls is a great album

2)The choreography for 4walls is awesome.

Just like the song and mv,it has a mystery and fantasy vibe.

3)Cash Me Out was supposed to be f(x)'s song in 2013

We saw they practice the dance in Go!f(x)

4)I miss Sulli so much...kinda sad that she is not in Cash Me Out ;

I ;waited for this song to released,but when they did Sulli's not in the group anymore

5)I still think Red Light is their best album

trista06 Friday, October 30, 2015

When I first skimmed through this album, it was a tad underwhelming indeed because there was no song that really stood out, or was catchy from the first listen. I was also a little biased, because I assumed that Red Light would always be my most fav. HOWEVER, I listened to Red Light again, and it really dawned on me that with 4 Walls, f(x) has significantly matured. It's amazingly clear. Their voices are much more polished, songs have more depth to them and the whole album is really unified and grounded, concept-wise. I've never even been f(x)'s hardcore fan (and it bugs me that they don't even have a fandom name yet, seriously SM?!), but listening to this album gave me a strange feeling - I'm somehow really proud of them.

About Sulli's leave, I can't comment on the reality/drama ;aspect of it coz of course I don't know for sure. But as artists, I think f(x) is much more solid and aesthetically balanced without Sulli. Amber and Victoria get to show their voices more, and there's no real need for a "visual" because all of them are gorgeous. On stage, somehow I prefer the 4-ppl formation. Sulli's departure also gave the group a chance to test out a more mature concept, and I like it. I will always miss the group when Sulli was still there, but overall I think it was for the better (Sulli is also happy now, I guess that's enough).

And ok seriously. LUNA! She really blossomed like whaaaaaaat. I can't get over how alluring and womanly she appears in this album. I died.

vincentrob11 Thursday, October 29, 2015

I'll miss Sulli too.

bang_nay Thursday, October 29, 2015

I love this album! 10/10 for me!!!

Haru_ki Thursday, October 29, 2015

I can't stop listening to this album, it's beautiful!!

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