This week, SM’s Station gives us something close to an actual comeback. All four members of f(x) perform All Mine, a modern EDM track that fits nicely alongside much of SM’s recent output. I’m in two minds about the song. Oddly enough, I’m finding that I can adore it and be angry with it at the same time.
Let’s start with the good stuff. Although the song adheres slavishly to a traditional EDM sound (complete with big instrumental hook), it’s a very solid example of the genre. In fact, of all these similar-sounding tracks we’ve heard of late, it’s one of the strongest. I love the little vocal syncopation in the chorus, reminiscent of Shinee’s View last year. The repeated “all mine” hook is even better, all twisted up with a muffled, ultra-processed production that renders it yet another instrument added to the mix. The girls sound fantastic here, free to belt out the kind of dance anthem that made their last album such a treat.
Now the complaining. You’ve heard it all from me before. I am so sick of SM’s fascination with EDM. Though they pull it off brilliantly, f(x) used to be one of the agency’s most experimental groups. To give them something so basic feels like a bit of a waste. If this had been a full-fledged comeback, I’d probably be angrier. But really, the bottom line is that I love my k-pop weird and I’m scared that it’s slowly blending in too heavily with Western music. SM needs to work with producers like Yoo Young-Jin and Thomas Troelsen again, who were willing to really push the envelope and go for broke when it comes to dramatic stylistic shifts and dynamic song structures. While All Mine is a great track, it also continues a trend that I’m hoping will soon morph into something more interesting.