Feb 8, 2016

4Minute's "Hate" Is Not Easy To Love

I didn't think I would ever have to name a title about 4Minute in such a negative way, but here I am and this is the reality I've found myself in. You know how much I've been loving this group recently and especially after last year's comeback with the legendary "Crazy" I began to call myself a real fan of them, so this comeback was truly anticipated from my side. After a couple of years of trying out different genres 4Minute were finally starting to find themselves and go back to their roots, which from the beginning was a fierce, sassy but also sexy image with hip-hop influenced beats. Judging by the teasers it seemed as if "Hate" was continuing with the same vibe and I was over the moon about it, but now that the song and MV has been released I'm sadly feeling very conflicted.

This MV and song, and well everything really, are really hard to digest and if you've seen it you'll know exactly what I mean. I plan on doing a mini album review later so I will rant about the song there as well, but I have to talk about it here as well because it factors in how the video is perceived as well. It's pretty obvious that they've tried to recreate the successful formula of "Crazy", a.k.a a chorus with a beat drop and a instrumental hook, and that itself isn't really a problem. Many groups do this, and it doesn't automatically indicate that the song is of any less quality because of it. The problem with "Hate" though is that the chorus is completely out of sync with the rest of the song. It opens so beautifully, with Gayoon's stunning vocals and a standard yet pretty minor chord progression, and the transition to Hyuna's parts is equally fantastic. At this point of the song I'm having a really good feeling about it, and even when the build-up starts during Sohyun's bit I'm still feeling it, but than the chorus drops.

It's hard to explain how mismatched it sounds compared to any other part of the song other than it literally made my face scrunch up in disbelief the first, second and even third time I heard it. At least in "Crazy" the entire song followed the same theme so the beat drop didn't sound out of place, but here it sounds like two completely different songs. This isn't anything new either because out-of-place choruses and awkward transitions in K-pop songs happens every now and then, I mean Big Bang's monster hit "Bang Bang Bang" last year did the exact same thing, but I seriously dislike these type of songs.

What upsets me the most though is that neither of the song's parts are bad on their own and would've made two great individual songs, but together it's a jarring experience. Although I will say that the song has grown on me since it came out but extremely slowly, and that has more to do with the fact that I like this group and what they stand for, but still. Like I said I enjoy the separate parts and the chorus on its own is, with its intensity and energy, infectious, but the bipolarity of this song will always bother me no matter how much I'll eventually grow to like it.

The video isn't any better actually, in fact it enhances the grave contrast between the chorus and the rest of the song in a very displeasing way. I've found that listening to the song without the MV or even watching the group's live performances isn't as bad as the experience of hearing the song and watching the video together. I suppose it's because the theme of the video changes along with the song, so the verses have their own aesthetic and the chorus has its own as well, and those two visual themes don't match very well either. I honestly think that if the video was more coherent it would've made the bipolarity of the song easier to digest as well, but that isn't the case at all. Instead the shock of the contrast becomes even more apparent as the video changes from the initial mature, sensual look to them dancing in sweatpants and headbands looking like gang members.

Like with the song I enjoy the parts of the video that match whatever isn't the chorus, because those snippets look good and interesting and the girls look gorgeous. They have more of a dark and mysterious approach, somewhat dystopian almost, and as you watch it you definitely feel they're onto something good. All of the members have individual scenes, like Hyuna's wasteland, Gayoon's black and red lace, Sohyun's broken stone wall, Jiyoon's spooky clock and Jihyun's maze of red strings as well the sensual bathtub scenes. Although the items and sets aren't necessarily connected to each other there still is a sense of cohesiveness between them, and if the entire video would've continued like that the experience would've been much different. The outfits are gorgeous as well, and I'm obsessed with both Jihyun's blonde hair as well as Jiyoon's leather get-up and make-up; now that's a visual theme I can root for!

However I cannot for the life of mine forgive those horrendous outfits that they wear during the dance scenes during the chorus. 4Minute were given some flack last year for wearing pieces of clothing normally associated with cholas, and I admit that it wasn't their best move, but the majority of the clothing and accessories they wore looked amazing, as they managed to balance both the bad-ass, fierce style with looking sleek and sexy.

This time they've really outdone themselves, and not in a good way, because it's impossible for me to take them seriously as they jump around in tank-tops, sweatpants and bandanas. They look so try-hard, in a way that usually only boy groups do, and while I understand what they're trying to do the end result is only quite laughable. Now I say this about the outfits worn in the MV, because so far what they've been wearing on stage hasn't been as bad (sometimes they've even looked great), but it is the video that I'm reviewing here after all.

The only real positive aspect about this video (and comeback in general I suppose) is their power on stage and as performers, and the awesome choreography. You remember that I was crazy about their choreography for "Crazy" (see what I did there?), and this one is also really impressive. They aren't resorting to any kind of usual girl group choreography or relying on exaggerated sexiness or cuteness, but are showing their skills by being strong and confident.

With that said I also have point out that although this comeback has left me disappointed in many ways I think it's admirable, and important, that 4Minute makes this kind of comeback with a concept like this. Presenting something that's usually only found in boy groups, 4Minute are definitely breaking barriers and I have to respect them for that. If guys can do try-hard hip-hop, wear gold chains and act tough than girls should be able to do the same thing even if it makes me cringe, right? In the end I don't know where this comeback will take this group, especially with Cube's terrible promoting, but no matter what I hope the very best for them, even if I don't happen to like this particular release.

Song: 2,5/5
Video: 3/5

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