case of the f(x) evidence b: ranking the songs from “pink tape” (2013)

If you ask me, it’s pretty clear now what will happen to f(x). With the way SM has been releasing their schedules, they’re really giving the group the “slow death” treatment in the vein of CSJH The Grace. Sure, there are some efforts for Luna and Amber (?) in terms of their individual activities, but you can’t really expect to bring the whole gang together when Krystal is *this* obvious in calling it quits with SM and Victoria settling well in her homeland.

Former member Sulli is actually in the most stable position right now. Apparently, she’s the CEO representative (?) of some SM subsidiary (bitch posted her calling card on IG lol) and she does whatever the fck she wants. Her live streams where she just stares at the camera while tearing up is something else though – so I really hope she’s well.

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Forever iconic. PARTY!!!!
It’s such a bummer though because I personally would have wanted for them to release one more record. A farewell album of some sorts. Although ending their run with 4Walls is pretty solid, one more comeback wouldn’t hurt, right? I speak for the rest of us K-pop fans that it is something that they deserve given that this is a group that carved their own niche in the scene and will always remain as one of the groups that gave K-Pop enough credibility as a genre outside of Korea. Closure for f(x), chuseyo.

So while SM continually forgets about f(x) , let’s keep the interest increasing. And what better way of doing that but revisiting their magnum opus aka Pink Tape?!

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When I first finished listening to Pink Tape when it was released, I figured out the reason why I liked this album. It is extremely diverse but has always remained faithful to the quirky brand that they pushed. As a result, Pink Tape has a sense of consistency that has truly distinguished the group from the rest. It’s almost as if the whole album is something only f(x) can pull off at that time (which is obviously wrong now because SM has did such an astounding job with Red Velvet).

It’s also a testament to how f(x) has come into their own since their debut when they were clearly launched as a response to the alt-Kpop girl group sensibilities of 2NE1 and 4Minute who at that time, were garnering a lot of steam. Instead of facing their contemporaries head on, f(x) has slowly discovered a lane that they can call their own which still made them one of those “alternatives” – but this time, with a more unusual package. Pink Tape encapsulates that journey.

So here you go, ranking all the songs from this timeless classic! And can I just say, what a fcking tough list to come up with, omg!

12. Goodbye Summer (with D.O of EXO-K) – I mean, let’s just get the obligatory ballad out of the way, shall we? Loljk, but I guess Goodbye Summer is an improvement over the slow jams that they had in their previous albums (see: Beautiful Goodbye). Plus, it was composed by Amber so artistic integrity blah blah, yknow stuff like that.

11. No More – This Ariana Grande reject which sees f(x) with more saccharine is a cute moment, but is later on overshadowed by the other interesting tracks in the album.

10. Snapshot – Similar with No More, Snapshot is another cut in the album which is passable enough as a really strong filler song. Actually, what makes Pink Tape more effective is how they addressed the fillers that plagued Pinocchio and Snapshot is a proof of that improvement. This song suits Girls’ Generation though, donchathink?

9. Ending Page – f(x), actually all of SM acts, have developed a habit of closing their albums with a slow/mid-tempo ballad (in fairness to Goodbye Summer). Thankfully, Ending Page does not sound like an OST of an SM-produced drama. It’s poppified stadium rock-acoustic hybrid works so well that it gives off a “lighters-in-the-sky moment” that is a great way to close such album.

8. Step – A relentless track, Step is one of the album’s “hype” tracks – so to speak. There’s nothing much to describe what this track is except that when you play it, your inner hoe will awaken. For newer fans, this is like their 2013 version of “Papi”.

7. Rum Pum Pum (First Love) – While most people question the choice of Rum Pum Pum as the lead track for the whole album, the song actually fits the whole shtick that f(x) was gunning for in this era. Basically, Rum Pum Pum captures that “commercially quirky” image and with its amalgamation of sounds and references, it does one hell of a good job.

6. Pretty Girl – It’s safe to say that Pretty Girl is the closest thing we have to f(x) sounding like they’re a group from YG but thankfully, it does not descend to that. Pretty Girl combines “that” hip-hop sound with a rock sound to the tune of the Queen classic We Will Rock You. This results to an urban track that is so quintessentially f(x). This also happens to be one of Pink Tape strengths – it breathes an f(x) flavor to all the genres that K-Pop was pursuing on that time, from hip-hop to disco to dubstep and the list goes on.

5. Toy – For this track, f(x) dips their hands on dubstep which was such a thing back in 2012-2013. However, as mentioned earlier, the group gives it their own spin by incorporating elements of symphonic music on top of the dubstep break and the extremely busy electronic ditty that is Toy.

4. Airplane – The diversity of Pink Tape jumps from one track to another which makes it an absolute delight to listen to and with Airplane, f(x) has reached Perfume territory (sort of) which is something not a lot of K-pop acts explore. However, this is a watered-down Perfume EDM – think of the recent Perfume releases with a slight tinge of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. Something like that.

3. Signal – A gorgeous disco/electropop hybrid, Signal does not only give f(x) a glamorous side to the eclectic group, but it also happens to be one of Kenzie’s finest moments. As the other in-house producer of SM aside from the iconic Yoo Young Jin, Kenzie has dabbled with a lot of genres and she definitely has struck gold with this one.

2. Shadow – More than Rum Pum Pum, I know that some f(x) fans consider Shadow as the representative track of Pink Tape. Well, it is the song that introduced that legendary art film which sees f(x) finally unleashing their pseudo-hipster aesthetic. They’re not wrong about it though – Shadow is this ethereal, almost creepy mid-tempo track which is reflective of the whole Pink Tape aesthetic. Also, this is the first f(x) song which really played well with Krystal’s voice, tbh.

1. Kick – This song isn’t as instant as the other cuts in Pink Tape, but what makes Kick stand out is that it pushes f(x)’s sound to a dimension which the group hasn’t explored before. It’s abrasive, loud, scattered, and trippy (and almost alt-pop even), but all of these elements are meshed really well. It is basically is an accessible version of those blaring Hitchhiker songs – which is not a surprise because he did this track as well. Kick just goes to show that f(x)’s musical diversity stretches far and that they are a force to be reckoned with in pulling off such stunts.

There you go, do you agree with my list? Ranking Pink Tape songs is so mind-boggling because the sequence changes everytime but I guess this is how I see it. Leave a comment below and let me know which songs should have ranked higher or lower. Thanks!

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Stream Pink Tape here:

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