Feb 16, 2016

4Minute's "Act 7" Is Short Yet Solid

It's been nearly five years since 4Minute last released a full album, in 2011 with "4Minutes Left", and with the success of their last comeback with "Crazy" last year one would've thought that it finally they'd release another full album. However that isn't the case, because as you know they dropped "Act 7" instead, which isn't only a mini album but a ridiculously short one as it only contains four songs. Of course 4Minute aren't to blame in this situation as much as their company and management, but it does make me a bit bitter, which I will discuss more later on. The mini itself however, is definitely worth a listen.

Of course the main discussion point of this comeback is the title track "Hate" which has been met with mixed reactions, and that for justifiable reasons. I already went on a bit of a rant in my review for the song's MV so I'll try not to ramble on as much here, but this song leaves a lot to be talked about, for good and for worse. To put it shortly; this song is full of surprises and unexpected turns, and personally I'm not very into that approach when it comes to music. I appreciate cohesiveness when it comes to music, and that a song has a flow that's smooth and coherent. Co-composed with famous DJ Skrillex, "Hate" is literally the opposite of all that, with its mismatched structure consisting of a stand-out chorus and everything else.

The opening is so beautiful with Gayoon's lovely vocals, and the parts that follow sound great as well. There is a familiar chord structure that's probably a bit generic but it's still a good one, and the intensity builds slowly over Hyuna's and Sohyun's respective parts. I did expect something different for the chorus because the teaser videos had kind of promised that, but I didn't expect the chorus to go the way it did. Like with "Crazy" they've used an instrumental beat drop as a chorus, with some vocal and rap bits inserted, but this time it works very poorly.

It's obvious that the team behind this comeback have tried to recreate the formula that made "Crazy" so successful, but unfortunately they've failed quite miserably. I do see the potential with this song but the outcome is disappointing and I really can't seem to get past the bipolarity of the track no matter how hard I try. The verses are amazing, no question about it, and the chorus is really cool and energetic, but they don't work together at all.

The next song is called "No Love", and is quite different from the previous track. This song is definitely more R&B inspired, and chills at a slower tempo with smooth vocal work and rapping, well, except for Hyuna who sounds particularly bad in this track. The song follows the same trail of thought as "Hate" though as it's about saying goodbye and walking away from a relationship, but less in a aggressive way. Gayoon definitely gets to show off her vocal chops here as well as Jihyun, whose voice often is put aside and kept hidden. In "No Love" though I almost think she sounds the best, or more so her voice suits the vibe and mood of the song the best.

"Blind" is up next and has lyrics co-written by both Sohyun and Hyuna.  I'm not sure as to what genre I would put this track in, as its a bit ambiguous, but there's definitely classic hip-hop influences as well as trap music. The tempo is quite low and the synthesizers do a great job in giving the song more of a dreamy feel, and the way some of the members vocals are electronically altered actually makes the impression of the song even better as it suits the vibe very well. Lyrically "Blind" is also a break-up song, but a more vulnerable one as they sing about how they were blind to what hurtful things the other person was doing to them.

The fourth and last song on "Act 7" is "Canvas", and it's by far my favorite song on the mini. I can even see this one as potentially being the title track they should've used instead of "Hate", and it's the one song off the album that I've listened to multiple times over and over again because of how much I like it. The bass plays a prominent part in this track, as well as sensual finger snapping during the verses, and all the girls sound amazing at their respective parts.

Like with the title track this song too has a build-up and a drop, but it's more subtle and definitely better incorporated. Lyrically I like the song much better as well, as instead of singing about hate and anger they sing about wanting to take the relationship to the next step, and the entire track oozes sex and sensuality. If the song was even more energetic and uptempo I definitely think it could've served as a title track, but I honestly wouldn't change anything about it the way it is right now.

If you're not too scared off by the intense title track I highly recommend this mini album, as it's very "4Minute" with great B-sides that shows variety yet still have a coherent sound. Of course the title track does stick out like a sore thumb, but when looking at the album as a whole the positive outweighs the negative. Do I like it better than "Crazy"? Well no, but this one is a great continuation of their prior work and I'm hoping they can continue in this direction.

Speaking of which, what on earth is Cube even doing? They have such a talented, hard-working team in 4Minute yet they promote them like crap, and knowing that the girls' contracts might expire soon makes me very anxious. I wouldn't blame them for not choosing to renew, but it would be really regretful if they did. However not much can be done about it so I'll support them no matter what decision they make, but hopefully they can continue (if not with Cube but with another, better company) making awesome music like what's on "Act 7".

Highlights: "Canvas"
Least favorite: "Hate"
Total score: 3,45/5

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