It’s difficult to deny that, at their best, the K-pop girl group f(x) is one of the most groundbreaking acts in the history of Hallyu.
Combining melodious harmonies with hard-edged beats and aggressive rhymes, f(x) staked out a sound that is, as the old ad slogan goes, “often imitated, but never duplicated.”
Nowhere in the group’s catalog does this formula come together for a more powerful result than on the song “Pretty Girl” from f(x)’s solid, dance-inducing album “Pink Tape,” released in 2013.
Though any K-pop fan that hasn’t sworn allegiance to one artist only is likely to be familiar with “Pink Tape,” (or, at the very least, the solid album’s chart-topping single “Rum Pum Pum Pum”), the song also offers everything that motivate someone unfamiliar with Korean pop music to check out the genre-a creative take on dance music as unique as it is catchy.
But, as much as anything in the f(x) catalog, “Pretty Girl” is also notable for the feminist message the group slips in between dance breaks.
The lyrical references to alienation and the objectification of women are subtle but poignant. They don’t beat the listener over the head, but offer a unique glimpse into the unrestrained thoughts of a young female artist in a superficial industry. Perhaps because of this, the band members’ vocal performances seem to be coming straight from the heart.
Still currently operating as a four-piece with the prolonged hiatus of member Sulli, who terminated her activities with the band indefinitely a year almost to the day after “Pretty Girl” came out, it is unclear if they will ever be able to top the great heights both creatively and artistically that they achieved on “Pink Tape.”
But regardless of if they do or if they don’t, f(x) will always be one of K-pop’s most important groups for refusing to play by the rules expected of a pretty girl in the music industry.
Listen to the f(x) album cut “Pretty Girl” from the K-pop girl group’s groundbreaking 2013 release “Pink Tape” RIGHT HERE