Thursday, April 26, 2012

Staff Song Review: 4Minute's "Volume Up"

Song reviews are something we do commonly here at AE Experience, but now we're taking things to the next level.  Besides simply writing individual song reviews of songs we like, we will start working together to write reviews of the latest releases in Korean and Chinese music.  This means 2 or 3 of us here will collaborate to write one large song review, which will offer different points of views and insights.

The first staff song review will be 4Minute's "Volume Up", which Niki and I are writing together in addition to the one Pinki has already written.  For these reviews, I (Iris) will offer more of a critique on the music itself (due to my lack of knowledge in K-Pop), Niki will provide more background information and insight on the artist, and Pinki will offer a general opinion.

Iris: 4Minute is back with new single "Volume Up", which offers pleasant surprises as well as letdowns.  My personal favorite part of the song are the verses.  The song starts with a lot of edginess, a great hook, and some awesome belts and long notes by Ji Hyun following the verse. It is powerful, in your face, and catchy while having good style.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, the chorus is a letdown.  It's still catchy, but so typical.  The song sheds its edginess and power in the chorus by transitioning into a poppy club and party feel that's been seen so many times before.  It redeems itself in the bridge, which is slowed down with a more mysterious feel.  The problem with the song is that it seems to exhibit three very different feels though. I still love the song, but the chorus is definitely the weakest link.

According to Pinki, the song's lyrics is about the criticism girl groups get online.  When I searched up the translations of the lyrics though, the supposed message turned out to be vague and could easily be interpreted as a song about a bad or lost lover.  However, it's far from having the worst lyrics ever; they just weren't as detailed or straightforward about the promoted message as I imagined they'd be.

Niki: "Volume Up" marks another successful comeback for 4Minute. The song shows off the edgy, yet feminine style that they're so well known for. The sets, clothing style, and use of the saxophone was all very refreshing. However, as Iris had stated, the song isn't as great as it could be. I share the same feelings as Iris towards the chorus and lyrics of the song. From the amazing build up from the verse I expected the chorus to be just as strong, but instead it turned out to be a simple pop beat. The chorus, by itself, however is catchy and Ji Hyun's strong vocals were able to shine here.
The vague meaning and chorus aside, the lyric distribution for this song was clearly disproportional. Hyuna, Ji Yoon, and Ga Yoon had dominated most of the song while So Hyun and Ji Hyun had two to three measly lines. Agreed that their voices aren't the strongest in 4Minute, but they definitively deserve more than 5 seconds of screen time (considering that Ji Hyun is the leader, she deserves more recognition within the group).


Niki: With slight disappointment in the distribution of parts and in the chorus, "Volume Up" isn't my favorite song from 4Minute, but it is one catchy and empowering song. The club-like chorus makes it a typical K-pop song while the verses and bridge gives it a hint of uniqueness. And the ladies of 4Minute pulled of the femme fatale look very well, making the performances very eye-catching.

Iris: Overall, "Volume Up" is a great upbeat and catchy track with s, but not very consistent.  Improvements could have been made on the chorus, but I absolutely love the style and edginess of the verses.

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