case of the f(x) evidence c: ranking the songs from “red light” (2014)

It’s been six years since f(x)’s third LP Red Light was released and after a quick spin of the album recently, my initial thoughts remain the same. That it is curated in a similar vein as 2013’s Pink Tape but with a more “streamlined” sound. All 11 tracks in the album have a “grittier” feel to them which is okay since it matched the whole vibe SM was going for with the album. There is nothing wrong about that at all because why fix something that is not broken, right? But Red Light lived on an unspoken rule to match or even exceed Pink Tape, whether you admit it or not

Did it do the job? Not perfectly if you ask me but, in all fairness, it remains to be a solid effort from f(x) even after all these years. It is a league ahead of other albums within and outside SM which is a plus for their identity and legacy (I guess that’s why there is a so-called holy trinity of f(x) albums).

Anyway, let’s turn on the green light and revisit the finest to the mmmkay moments of Red Light.

11. Summer Lover – Red Light’s second half is actually where the weaker parts of the album are and Summer Lover is a track that could’ve been spared for a repack or even a track for a solo (Amber should have added this on her first EP) or actually be scrapped at all. Think of it not being there and Red Light will be just fine as it is.

10. Vacance – Summer Lover’s other problem is that it is eclipsed by a better variation which is this track. That’s not necessarily a good thing either because it is yet another “misplaced” track that got in the way of Red Light’s could-have-been consistent sonic direction.

9. Spit It Out – This song and Boom Bang Boom are another pair of interchangeable tracks but the thing is both of them contribute a good deal of what Red Light is all about unlike the other pair above. Spit It Out gets a little demerit I guess for being too “Rihanna – Where Have You Been.mp3”. Solid track, nonetheless.

8. Boom Bang Boom – Thanks to BBB’s explosive chorus which is basically just them screaming the title, this track gets a little edge over Spit it Out for being a little more left-field, structure-wise and isn’t that what makes f(x) well…f(x)?

7. Dracula – I can’t really clock Dracula as a track because it is a really strong record but if SM gave a damn about promoting f(x), this would have been a perfect repack title with a Halloween release! And that’s on periodt!

6. Paper Heart – For some reason, SM liked to slow it down when they close their albums around the time when Red Light was released and it’s kinda become acceptable because they chose great tracks – from SNSD’s Romantic Street, EXO’s My Lady, and f(x)’s own Ending Page. Paper Heart is a great addition to that roster and plus points for putting in some country flavor there.

5. All Night – This song’s chic disco vibe works for the album because it serves as a breather to the energy from the Red Light’s first half. A way too great transition to the download spiral of the album’s other half.

4. Red Light – This is f(x)’s contributions to SM’s tapestry of “polarizing” songs that started in 2013. As a title track, this does a good job of representing the gritty vision that SM had for f(x) and this specific album. That’s the most merit I can give to Red Light, imo. 

3. Rainbow – This track has been a standout since f(x) released a sampler for Red Light and when the full version came out, it certainly did not disappoint. This track felt like the quintet’s closest attempt to an M.I.A track and if that’s not rad, then I sure don’t know what is.

2. Butterfly – f(x) serving bubblegum goth realness is another path that SM should have considered for this album! If they weren’t just so scared of pushing their mid-tempos as title tracks, f(x) would definitely slay promoting the hell out of this song in music shows! I can already imagine it, those makeup in the teasers, corsets, chokers, black lace veils, thigh-high platform boots, releasing butterflies to the stafe the angst, the deadpan delivery…everything! 

1. Milk – This track encapsulates f(x)’s brand that fits this era in the best way possible. It’s bizarre as hell from the way it sounds to what it actually talks about. The use of milk as metaphor to heal a broken heart is as amazing as Rum Pum Pum’s wisdom tooth reference. It’s so good that it is definitely title material and people streaming the music video or watching performances would say ”Wow, these kids are weird”…WHICH IS THE POINT OF f(x) TO BEGIN WITH!!! So many wasted opportunities for this group!!

There you go, so what did you think of the list? Let me know in the comments below so that we can discuss:

Stream “Red Light” here:

You may wanna check out the previous posts related to this series:

case of the f(x) evidence a: pinocchio
case of the f(x) evidence b: pink tape

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