K-Pop A-Z

K-Pop A-Z Review: f(x) – Nu ABO

One song. Every day. Alphabetical order.

Keep up with f(x)’s A-Z reviews here!

Nu ABO (from Nu ABO – 2010)

Hailed as a “reverse beat” dance track, Nu ABO is what I would consider f(x)’s first real experimental single. The instrumental is quite a feat, looping a flipped synth riff with stomping percussion and filtered crowd cheers. This creates a fascinating texture and tense atmosphere. The track cuts and splices samples in a Frankenstein manner, yet the central melody is strong enough to ensure the track never completely falls off the rails.

And, Nu ABO grows even more daring as it goes on. Its second half jettisons some of the existing structure to make room for a standout vocal performance that pierces a hole though the otherwise claustrophobic production. Melodically, the track is fueled by a creeping refrain – catchy but a little sinister as well. It’s a great match for f(x), and heralded their embrace of daring pop sounds.

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.75

~ Rest in peace, Sulli. We will forever be grateful for the incredible music and spirit you left behind ~

6 thoughts on “K-Pop A-Z Review: f(x) – Nu ABO

  1. This is (and I cannot stress this enough) how we do it pure love f(x)!!!

    Easily one of my top f(x) tracks ever, it’s somehow very dated to the 2010s but also kind of timeless?? It just has all my hallmarks for a girl group dance track—-a throbbing beat, some catchy yet off-kilter melodies, a ramped-up ending segment…so good.

    My only complaint is I never liked the MV much, it doesn’t seem to fit the song at all. This track should’ve been paired with one of SM’s patented “futuristic” looking box MV sets, similar to what Electric Shock got.


  2. Great song. It is singles like these that f(x) built their experimental reputation upon.

    Nu Abo always seems to me to be a feminine version of SuJu Opera (or Opera to be the masculine version of Nu Abo), which came out the year after (in both Japanese and Korean versions). I don’t know if they share the same production team, but it sounds like it. I usually listen to the two songs back to back, just for fun.


  3. Nu Abo is such a uniquely charmingly bizarre song that SM had tried and FAILED to recapture for years. You simply cannot tell me that Zimzalabim wasn’t supposed to be RV’s version of this and it just didn’t measure up (to me, if we’re going that route then Weki Meki’s ‘I don’t like your girlfriend’ filters the concept much more successfully)

    Everything about this is daring and exemplifies f(x) as both artists and at their best.


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