A hatch door swings open, and you crawl into the large orb. The hatch shuts behind you, and the spherical vessel roars to life. You feel yourself and your container thrust quickly into the air. The strong gravitational force presses against your body, until you steadily level out into a calm hover. The dark walls of the orb mutate into transparency, revealing a vast concert hall filled with twinkling lights and people within orbs of many sizes. Spotlights hit the stage . . .
I finally understand the hordes of ravenous fans that flock to k-pop events. The genre is infectious, undeniably fun, and suffers little from cultural barriers (Korean happens to be one of the most musically euphonious languages). 4 Walls is the newest full-length from k-pop quartet f(x). The album title refers to the group’s recent alteration from five members to four, and the lineup change results in a captivating rebirth of their sound.
K-pop tends to embrace the pop sensibilities of the West, and no k-pop group has refined and expanded on those influences more extensively than these four ladies. Victoria, Amber, Luna, and Krystal each possess unique nuances — Amber raps, while the others bolster distinct harmonic elements and perform melodies in different ways — and the crystalline electronic instrumentation soars with upbeat, body-moving bliss.
Western listeners need not fear the language barrier when it comes to these songs, because they undoubtably require to be felt more than understood on a lyrical basis. Fans of acts such as Hot Chip and Grimes will surely discover the tantalizing allure of this lively record, and any individual that likes to have fun should absolutely give it a fair shot. If you’re seeking euphonious, intricately-composed k-pop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)