While their visuals still pander to the wants and needs of horny teenage boys, musically 4minute have matured. Well, sort of.
It should come as no great surprise when I admit I’m not a real lover of girls groups; with the exception of 2NE1 I find the cutesy, sugar-flower looks and sound of many groups entirely painful. But I’ve always found 4minute to have a bit of an edge and it’s because of this I approached their new release with mild excitement.
We all know I hate intro tracks so skipping over Get on the Floor the first song on this little mini is title track Volume Up. Coming off the back of previous releases I My Me Mine and Mirror Mirror, Volume Up sounds classy as hell. With the delightfully smooth saxophone combined with HyunA’s fierce rap and the delicious wails from fellow members, Volume Up certainly has impact. Not to mention the video is still jam-packed with 4minute’s trademark sex appeal.
Love or hate HyunA—and I know she has a lot of haters—people can’t deny her sexiness, especially in this video with hoards of backup dancers grinding into her. Against an expensive set and fabulous outfits the girls all look fierce and erotic causing even the straightest of females to go woah mama. While I don’t understand the ‘vampire’ image I’ve heard the MV described as containing, it certainly is dark, edgy and mildly gothic with a hint of sophistication which is reflected in the music itself. While their visuals still pander to the wants and needs of horny teenage boys, musically 4minute have matured. Well, sort of. The emotion, power and overall feel of Volume Up certainly reflects this but the girls disappointingly fall back into their party ways in the latter half of the album.
Following on from Volume Up is I’m Ok which continues this newfound mature vibe. In spite of the mellow appearance, I’m Ok is chock-full of powerful, raw emotions, making it one of the best tracks on the mini-album and possibly one of their greatest songs to date. Say My Name falls back into 4minute’s familiar party girl rhythm and is certainly high in the energy and fun departments. While not as memorable as Volume Up and I’m Ok thanks to the comparatively hollow emotion, it’s a solid enough track and progresses the album nicely.
Femme Fatale is once again a high-powered dance tune but is a little light on the badass-ery the title suggests. Dream Racer is relative funky and it’s no surprise the girls’ elected to perform this alongside Volume Up during their comeback stage. Still, I personally would have preferred to see I’m Ok up against the title track as I feel the two complement each other nicely; however Dream Racer is a safe choice due to the familiarity it no doubt possesses for 4minute fans.
Finally this leaves Black Cat, which is by no means the weakest track on the album. With its jazz feel spoiled by auto-tuning the vocals, the originality of the track is weakened but still contains enough difference in sound to make it stand out amongst the other songs on offer.
4minute’s new mini-album is a fun, energetic floor-filler underpinned with mature emotions. The girls’ have well and truly maintained their sexy sound and image and managed to grow a little in the process. Although the subtle power of title track Volume Up is not carried solidly across the whole mini-album, overall it is fun enough to listen to. That said, it’s probably better enjoyed on the dance floor of a party than through the speakers of one’s stereo.