At this point, I think I’d rather SM Entertainment abandon their digital Station project to focus more completely on full-fledged comebacks. It’s not that Station hasn’t resulted in some standout songs, but overall last year’s discography felt pretty forgettable. I fear that, rather than adding to artists’ catalogs in an interesting way, many of the releases are simply diluting their work. Such is the case with Lower, which can’t possibly compete with the f(x) comeback we’ve all been waiting for.
I realize that that’s not entirely fair to the song. Lower was clearly not designed to act as a comeback. It’s essentially a generic example of the progressive house sub-genre, delivered with polish but lacking any identity of its own. So, what’s the point here? To prove that SM can churn out cookie-cutter EDM as convincingly as any European DJ? I guess this has been duly noted, but I’m not sure how it moves anything forward for their artists.
Amber and Luna make a fine match for this sound, but they’re not given much to do. They supply Lower‘s verses with an atmospheric sort of breathiness, but the chorus abandons them completely for a cut-and-paste instrumental drop. There’s a sense that any idol could have been enlisted to answer the song’s meager demands without changing the end result, and that just feels like a wasted opportunity. Maybe it would be different if f(x) had been given any sort of proper group comeback over the past two years. But without their ground-breaking brand of experimental pop to act as an anchor, it’s hard not to call Lower a disappointment.