Due to the number of songs on the album, the album review will be quite long.
F(x) is probably one of the groups that KPOP fans want to see return to the stage. Their last release was with All Night back in 2016, so a comeback is definitely long overdue. To mildly fulfil my hunger for another F(x) comeback,, I have decided to write an album review for F(x) as part of the Past Album Review (PARs) segment. Pink Tape is the group’s 2nd studio album and was released in 2013. It features Rum Pum Pum Pum as its title track, which I absolutely hated back in 2013. Have my thoughts changed? You will see below!
1..Rum Pum Pum Pum (첫 사랑니) (Title Track) – Rum Pum Pum Pum is an example of a track that I started to enjoy way after reviewing it. I think it took a few years for it officially warm up to me. It ended up being addictive for a while and I really like the cute sound that came off it. Now, to me, it is just a showing of another side of the extremely versatile F(x). However, it is definitely no Electric Shock or Red Light. So, I decided to up my review score for the title track from the low 3 to a 7. Click here to read my original thoughts of Rum Pum Pum Pum. (7/10)
2. Shadow (미행 (그림자)) – Probably the biggest miss opportunity of the entire industry is not promoting this track in any way. Shadow has to be one of the most unique tracks in KPOP. I have to admit; the song was rather weird at first. But once you get past that hurdle, Shadow is just a creepy yet cutesy track. How so? Well, the lyrics revolve around them being their lover’s shadow (i.e. being with them all the time). However, the song is presented to us with a cutesy tone (i.e. the higher pitch vocals, delicate voices and the music box based instrumental. Sure, it isn’t 100% terrifying. But the song makes you imagine flowers and smiles but the lyrics manage to make those imaginary objects very twisted. (10/10)
3. Pretty Girl – Pretty Girl isn’t the prettiest track that I have come across. Once again, F(x) strays away from expectation, going for the least pretty genre of music out there, rock. Besides that, I felt that Pretty Girl wasn’t pretty in the ‘neat sense’, as well. I found the rock elements in the instrumental to be too overpowering, as the members during the chorus were being drowned out and they had to push themselves to be heard. I did like the vocal work (minus that last point), the rapping and the melody, so it wasn’t a terrible track. Maybe it could have been a little more polished to be more appealing. (7/10)
4. Kick – I think Kick falls under the same trap that Pretty Girl did. While it doesn’t overpower the vocals, Kick’s jerky instrumentation just felt like it was too much. And this makes the song feel quite uncomfortable. It does manage to pack a punch, which I guess is an advantage of a loaded track like this. I did like the effects the way the song infused a bit of choppiness to the track during the bridge, as it complements the style choices from the rest of the song. I just think Kick should have found a way to pack a punch but in a manner that was a little more toned down, so we could enjoy it more. (6.5/10)
5. Signal – The instrumental for Signal has the potential to be a pop diva-like song. There is that Kylie Minogue or Madonna type vibe that comes from the verses. But it doesn’t stay for long, as the chorus seems to opt for a typical pop approach and loses this diva feel, which I am disappointed with. However, there is a little disco groove to the track, which I think the chorus ends up turning to. So, it isn’t all bad news for the track. I just still think the track would have been more appealing if they kept with the diva-like sound, as I think this would potentially be an undiscovered territory for the group. I was lowkey expecting a rap sequence within the track, which could have lifted this song to another level. But overall, it is still a good song. (7.5/10)
6. Step – Step is a groovy track. I find it to be quite fun and has a nice club vibe to it. It just a few steps away from falling into the infectious category. To me, most colour came from the instrumentation. It is repetitive but done in a way that reminds me of any trendy ‘one hit wonders’ that we have come across in the KPOP industry. I am glad that it didn’t become of those tracks as I would think the song would get annoying with multiple listens. Currently, it is catchy to an extent. Vocally, I felt the song was on the weaker side. Only Luna shined for me and that only occurred towards the end of the track. But Step does a good job of continuing the upbeat vibes on this album. (7/10)
7. Goodbye Summer (Amber, Luna & Krystal ft. D.O (EXO)) – Sadly, I didn’t get into the song until after I heard the English version sung by Amber and Eric Nam. Now, it is one of my favourite summery pop ballads ever. The vocals are probably one of the selling points of the track. Firstly, the song features D.O from EXO, whom at the time was part of the leading boy group of the industry. So, the track got a lot of fanfare. Secondly, his vocals blend extremely well with Luna and Krystal, which upped the fanfare even more. You would think rapping wouldn’t necessarily fit into the breezy track but it somehow effortlessly did, making Amber’s rap memorable. Thirdly, the track was rather pleasant and refreshing, so it eased well into my playlist. (10/10)
8. Airplane – Somewhere on this blog, I am 100% sure I have reviewed Airplane (twice). But it won’t be a complete album review if I simply just bypassed the track. Especially since it is one of my favourite songs off this album. In hindsight, the track nowadays would be considered very straightforward, simply because it doesn’t deviate much from its starting sound. Back then, I thought the track was ingenious. The choppy start of the chorus (‘Come With Me. Airplane, Love’) was quite dynamic and ended up being on the catchiest hooks of the song. There is also a subtle fun tone to the track that I find very appealing. Despite it using an electronic instrumental, the song is rather light as well, meaning it was quite pleasant. The vocals and were simple and easy to follow, making this a catchy tune to hum along to. (10/10)
9. Toy – Toy isn’t as playful as you expect. Instead, it managed to be very intense and straight forward, matching the lyrics of the track (the members liken their lives to toys, which have a set appearance, always belong to and assumingly miss their owner). I think a better way to describe the track is that it is similar to a stereotypical rock track. Just without the rock elements. Another cool aspect is the classical and EDM mashed up instrumental break. I felt it just went a little longer than what I had anticipated and this didn’t allow the ‘return to the chorus’ to be as dynamic as it should have been. (8/10)
10. No More (여우 같은 내 친구) – The song’s music profile isn’t as interesting and felt more like a typical pop track. So, I won’t discuss it. Instead, I found the lyrics to be the most interesting aspect of the track. The girls sing about their female friend, someone who changes her personality depending on the guy who she is dating (e.g. she is an atheist but ‘becomes religious’ to be with her church oppa). Hence, she is described to be similar to a sly fox. For the most part, it makes fun of their friend. But the members do feel a little sympathy for her when they find her crying over her breakup. My favourite part has to be when they ask her ‘Have you found another guy yet?’, which makes for a perfect transition lyrics-wise to their original lyrics that dominated the earlier parts of the song. (7/10)
11. Snapshot – This had to be the poshest introduction to a song, courtesy of Amber herself. I thought the song a weird mix after that (a common trend back when the album was released). The verses felt like it was a song from a musical. However, the choruses felt like it was taking a hip-hop infused pop sequence instead, losing that unique musical-like sound. They managed to integrate the two sounds together well as the transition points didn’t sound awkward or too apparent. But when you consider the entire track as a whole, it just doesn’t sound right, if you understand what I mean. (7/10)
12. Ending Page – Surprisingly, I think Ending Page is their most neutral track on the album. The rock ballad doesn’t really develop as it progresses, which is a little disappointing. It isn’t overloaded with too much of one element, striking a very fine balance in any aspect that you can think of. The rock instrumental isn’t overpowering or overwhelming. This, along with the lack of development, allows for the focus to be squarely on the vocals. It doesn’t rely on powerful vocals to be track’s main driver. Instead, the song’s melody is extremely nice, and I find this to be a pleasant ending for the entire album. (9/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8/10