So the fact that I’ve been watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother on Netflix, and have been too busy with classes to listen to 4Minute World has been ruining my life. This morning I got up, did what I had to do, and put the last song on immediately as I began writing this. First, let’s talk about “Whatcha Doin’ Today” and the MV.
Hyuna continues to outsex everyone in this video, as it rips off everything imaginable, not just B1A4’s shoulder dance as I previously reported. First you get the awkward Hyuna twerking a-la btob’s “BeepBeep” comeback video last month, as well as Wa$$up’s debut last year. Please note I think nobody, regardless of race, socioeconomic class, or ass size should twerk. Then we get Sohyun looking like she just came out of some BESTie video or better yet, T-ARA’s flawless “Do You Know Me” video. Jiyoon’s scenes are the most original, of course, but I feel like there’s some shade being thrown in there somewhere. Gayoon’s scenes came out of SNSD-TTS’ “Twinkle” MV mixed in with TVXQ’s 2014 comeback videos. Finally, Jihyun’s candy scenes are obviously a parody of “Kissing You” mixed with the Rainbow Blaxx mess “Cha Cha.”
Cube had maybe three original thoughts in this video, yet it slays every other girl group video of the year except “Catallena” because that is just SO ORIGINAL it can’t be topped. I heard Gayoon was the visual director, which probably explains the amount of screentime she had…even though she had the most lines, Queen Hyuna, who had the least (…UM….we need to talk about this, Cube), had minimal screentime, and that is not acceptable.
As for the song, I really do like it. It pretty much sounds exactly like the teaser, which is what I wanted. I see a lot of 4minute fans whining on the YouTube page about how ‘wahhh “Volume Up” is better’ and ‘wahhh where’s tough 4minute’ and all that stuff. Here’s the thing – “Volume Up” is the least characteristic of all of 4Minute’s Korean singles. While “Heart2Heart” is still a bit uncharacteristic of them, it’s my favorite single they’ve released because it still shows their charms, unlike “Volume Up” which just didn’t work for me, and stands out too much in their catalogue. To me it sounds more like a Secret or 9Muses song than a 4Minute song. As for the ‘Tough 4Minute’ such as “HuH”, and “I My Me Mine” – those songs just weren’t as successful as “What’s Your Name” – so obviously Cube is going to go with what worked for the group and made the most money.
“Whatcha Doin Today” is so much better than “What’s Your Name” though. Both are Brave Brothers songs, and both are significantly more original than anything he’s produced for any other group since he produced Sistar’s “Alone” in 2012; but “Watcha Doin’ Today” does sound more like a 4Minute song than “What’s Your Name,” which could have been passed to almost any other girl group. The structure of the song is pretty similar, but it’s less repetitive, which means it’s at least 30% more tolerable.
But what sent the song over the top for me was the Jiyoon x Hyuna rap break after Jihyun’s part. I was not expecting that and now I live for it because they are the two best 4Minute members and need to collaborate more often. I wish they had rapped at THE SAME TIME (imagine how ICONIC that would have been!) but it worked so well and MV during this part was literally too much for me.
So the single:
Concept: 10000/10 – The teaser photos were cute and it looks like the girls had fun going to different places, and if my Queen looks happy, I am obviously happy.
MV : 10000/10 – perfectly executed rip-offs of every popular K-Pop video ever.
Song: 1000/10 – I needed more Hyuna for it to get the extra ‘0’, and I’m also not crazy about the little break before the final chorus. It seems out of place. Otherwise everything is really perfect and fits 4Minute so well.
As for the rest of the mini album, it’s pretty good. Overall, Name is 4Minute is a stronger release, but 4Minute World has merit to it, and sounds like a cohesive album, unlike some other girl group releases this year. The only song I really don’t care for is “Wait a Minute” – since it seems like the generic opening song almost all K-Pop albums seem to have, but at 3:00+, it should have been cut down to the typical 1:30 or less. The only opening intro I have heard that deserves to be longer is STELLAR’s “T.I.E.”
The two ‘sub-unit’ songs are….weird. Hyuna would have been a better fit on the Jihyun/Jiyoon/Sohyun track “I’ll Teach You” AKA “알려 줄게”, but her sex appeal was necessary on her duet with Gayoon, “들어와.” Making both of these kinda-sub-unit songs was an interesting decision, since both would have fit the whole group fine, and not putting 2Yoon, an established sub-unit, together was a stupid decision since so many fans whine about 2Yoon constantly and how their debut flopped. Oh wait….
The trio’s song is actually a much more 4Minute-like song, that sounds almost like something off of 4Minutes Left, which is why I do like it, but some of the English could have been replaced with Korean, especially the line “난 Princess everyday” – please no. I try not to be nitpicky about English in K-Pop songs, but that line was almost as cringeworthy as B1A4’s “sick my heart” in “Lonely” earlier this year.
As for “들어와” (“Come In”) – seeing the live performance actually slayed me despite that the choreography was a direct rip off of Sistar19 (but who cares?). The problem is that the song sounds like a Ga-In track more than a 4Minute song. I like that Gayoon and Hyuna tried something different, with a mature vibe, but it would have had more impact as a group-wide concept for a comeback. Maknae is a ’94 line, Cube, she can handle mature concepts.
Finally “Thank You :)” is the song Hyuna and Sohyun co-wrote lyrics to that got banned by SBS. I did just look up the lyrics and besides one slightly suggestive line: “Gently, I’ll begin begin my art on this canvas that is your lips” – I don’t really see how this is suggestive enough to be banned, but I’m not a member of the Korean public. This song reminds me a lot of IU’s Modern Times so I love it, but as with “Come In,” it’s just not very 4Minute like. I understand when groups want to branch out and try new things and this is a good point for 4Minute to do so with non-title tracks, but I love 4Minute’s style and they’re my top girl group for a reason – because it seems like they have a defined sound and don’t feel the need to vary from it too much. That’s why I really liked how Hyuna’s solo career has let her explore other sounds, as did the 2Yoon sub-unit. I’d give 4Minute World like a 7/10, only because the single is so strong and that their experiments did work, when they could have been total disasters.
I’m hoping there’ll be another 4Minute comeback this year, with a stronger mini-album to accompany another great single. 4Minute though, is one of the groups where I prefer watching their MVs to listening to their catalogue, so I can’t complain too much since to me, the single is their strongest since 2011.