With Heartbeat, SM Entertainment has completed their f(x)-driven EDM trilogy that started with Wave in May and continued with July’s All Mine. Given the strict adherence to genre structure, all three tracks feel somewhat interchangeable, but this helps create a welcome sense of continuity when they’re taken together, one right after another.
Heartbeat was released as a representative of this weekend’s first annual Spectrum dance music festival. I’ve been critical of SM’s stubborn devotion to the EDM genre this past year — not because they don’t do it justice, but because they’re simply a more interesting and creative agency than this. Like the two tracks before it, Heartbeat is a perfectly solid example of this trendy style. Its piano-driven verses and rousing build more than get the job done. The pre-chorus is particularly nice, casting a strong melody over the sputtering electronic storm that propels towards the song’s trancey instrumental hook. The track has a lush, full sound that wraps the listener in a sense of euphoria.
Along with Korean DJ Kago Pengchi, the girls paired with international producer Ferry Corsten for Heartbeat, which explains why it feels both crisply produced and frustratingly anonymous. Amber and Luna are excellent choices for this style, offering a party atmosphere through the sheer force of their personalities alone, but EDM is not a personality-driven medium. When sweeping electronics are given precedence over a multifaceted chorus, you run the risk of feeling detached from the actual artists performing the song. This is why I’ve had a hard time totally raving about these past three EDM releases. They’ve all been enjoyable and well-composed, but are also missing that extra unique something that makes the best k-pop truly shine.