Ive never been much a 4Minute fan, even from the start. And even after years gone by, I have only been able to reluctantly admit to being a Hyuna fan girl and being unable to enjoy all but maybe two of 4Minutes Korean releases. 4Minutes latest,Volume Up, was a lackluster song accompanied by a hodgepodge album I really couldnt bring myself to care for, and only furthered my poor opinion of the group as a unit. But even when animosity has struck a chord in me to loathe one groups music, a second chance still found a way of happening.
4Minute recently dropped their latest Japanese single Love Tension onto the masses, and I must come clean and say I am thoroughly impressed. The sleek wardrobe and clean aesthetic, not to mention the addictive nature of the melody, have come together to create a production I never thought I could expect from the likes of 4Minute.
The line distribution seemed more evenly dispersed, and for once it seemed like everyone got their fifteen seconds of face time instead of this being another MV starring Hyuna, featuring 4Minute. Whoever styled the wardrobe did a phenomenal job of keeping the colors simple but the lines flattering, and the neutral scheme accented by the shades of pink (as seen in the shoes, flowers, lipstick, etc) was a beautiful approach to the presentation of the song. But watching the Love Tension PV and enjoying it as much as I did also made me question why 4Minute doesnt bring this kind of edge to their K-pop.
At least in my personal opinion, 4Minute has always come to the table with the sassy, party-girl-next-door image. And while I think its great the girls consistently bring their charisma to the forefront, something about them still seems unoriginal. Their brand is a mashup of After Schools maturity, Wonder Girls charm, and 2NE1s over the top fashion; I cant help but see other mainstream influences in their music and image so much so that I simply cant bring myself to be much of a fan.
There have, however, been a handful of 4Minute releases that I have enjoyed, Love Tension aside. I did like Mirror, Mirror and HUH, and both for the same reasons. In these two songs it appeared as if 4Minute was channeling their own concept and sound. It was in these moments that 4Minutes performances were more signature, and I couldnt see a reflection of another group.
Of course, Im not trying to say that 4Minute has not been successful doing that theyve been doing. Quite frankly, by sticking to their guns, 4Minute has made their way into the big leagues of K-pop and won over much fame, so it needless to say theyre doing something right. Rather, what I am suggesting is that now 4Minute has finally been established, it may be worth developing a more unique image that is synonymous with 4Minute, and not readily identified with other acts on the K-pop scene. The chic and sleek aesthetics of Love Tension, and yes, even Mirror, Mirror and Huh all seem to be steps in the right direction.
The image I am talking about is sophisticated, seemingly effortless, and alluringan image that fewer female acts in K-pop choose to do and even fewer do successfully. 4Minute has the girl power to be the bridge between the outright mature and the downright whimsical. Somewhere in them is this capacity to be fierce and also feline, a balancing act of grace and attitude that can create an image iconic to them and only them.
And Love Tension is exactly that: a harmony between two images, one girly, one sophisticated. Ive never seen 4Minute look more stunning, and this is coming from a person who has never been much a fan for 4Minute from the beginning. After this release, I hope 4Minute can recognize these strengths and monopolize this image to their own benefit. For a group of girls whove braved the treacherous climb up the echelons of the K-pop thus far, they deserve an outlasting image that brands their music for what its worth. For now Love Tension may be Japans new gem, but heres to hoping 4Minute keeps coming back to the plate with something just as commanding in presence. That way they dont pale against the comparison of others, and can shine in a light all their own.