Review: f(x) – “Rum Pum Pum Pum” is the Definition of Meh

fx-Rum-Pum-Pum-Pum

With their latest release of “Rum Pum Pum Pum”, f(x) aims straight for the middle and hits it with a bullseye. Huzzah?

f(x) has always been an SM Entertainment anomaly. It is a group and concept which is supposed to be a little off beat and pretty edgy but due to SM’s conservatism when it actually comes to trying anything new, it often feels like f(x) concepts and songs start off like independent films that have gone through fifty editors to be yet another summer action flick. There are always hints of an original idea and point of view, but they have to be found under layers of standard sets and mediocre stylings (if there is one thing that f(x) does well, it’s getting a mean hook down). “Rum Pum Pum Pum” is not even that. The song lacks a punch that usually accompanies an f(x) single and the video is one of the most disappointing things released this year. For a group that has built its image on being electrifying, “Rum Pum Pum Pum” fails to deliver any shock and awe.

“Rum Pum Pum Pum” sounds different from any single that f(x) has released so far. Instead of going for a hard electro-dance pop beat, the girls opt for a much bass heavier dance track. The result is a pleasant funky song that brings to mind hip-hop splashed with reggae and dance-pop. It isn’t an assault to the senses that most f(x) songs are and while that could work for another group, the arrangement fails to take advantage of it’s subtly addicting beat. The vocals end up being too flat for a rolling summer beat like this. A group like 2NE1 could have killed this one (the audio track to “Rum Pum Pum Pum” is a superior “Falling in Love”) but SM doesn’t really allow any of it’s vocalists to stand above the beat even when they have some personnel who could (Luna and… well Luna). Amber gets a rap verse to break up the repetitiveness but even that takes up all of what seems like five seconds. The hook isn’t bad but it barely registers with the morass around it. With no real differentiation in the beat or the vocal work behind it, “Rum Pum Pum Pum” ends up sounding like a three minute intro for another song.

So hyped. Look at the hypeness.

So hyped. Look at the hypeness.

If the song fails to capitalize on a solid beat and nice hook, the video fails to capitalize on anything at all. At this point, it would not be outside the realm of possibility to suggest that SM is making an argument that dance-in-a-box concepts is their signature concept. The sets, transitioning between sterile white and neon pink look so similar to “Electric Shock” that one could understandably come to the conclusion that someone accidentally overlaid f(x)’s new track over their old music video. Near identical sets, editing, close up shots, camera pans and even ridiculous color contacts all come into play again. Even the wardrobe outside of the Irish kilt inspired get-ups are impossible to distinguish from those in “Electric Shock” stylistically. For a group which is designed to be at least a little more kinetic, “Rum Pum Pum Pum” looks like f(x) sleep-walked through this one

This is about as creative as it gets.

This is about as creative as it gets.

It is hard to root against f(x) as they are a group which has a sound that, while not entirely original, approaches a signature identity. One could always count on f(x) for a killer dance beat and high energy vocals with a video that, while workmanlike, would match the tenor and sizzle of the production. What makes “Rum Pum Pum Pum” so mediocre is that while the song does try to do new things with f(x), the video fails to surprise at all. And when thinking of f(x), there is nothing more disappointing than seeing them fall prey to going through the motions. “Rum Pum Pum Pum” had the potential to demonstrate a different take on f(x)’s sound but the video would rather prove nothing at all rather than risk anything.

Rating: Meeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh it’s hard to work up anything at all for this one. Even this review is about as perfunctory as this release.

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12 comments

  1. Pretty boring and lazy, but at least it’s different. I’m also getting a huge “Wtf” when I look at the pic you posted at the top. Looks like they had a rough night out or something.

    1. Yeah, the teasers looked much more promising than the final product.

      1. Remember the “Electric Shock” teaser?

        SM apparently just likes trolling us. They get you thinking “Now this might be something new and interesting…”

        Then… “Nope! More of the same shit, guys. Gotcha!”

      2. The only time I’ve been relieved with the bait-and-switch has been for TTS and “Twinkle”. The f(x) one’s are just aggravating now. I didn’t post anything about the teasers because I was thinking, “There’s no way they actually do anything that resembles this”. Sucks to be proven right.

  2. Fleur De Seoul · · Reply

    I actually think that all it needed was one thing. I felt like the music and vocals had too much going on and all the parts drowned each other out. What would have been memorable by itself was boring all together, save what amber did. I’ve gotten so tired of the box sets and rolling all the members of f(x) through a thrift store prior to shooting and the stylists’ insistence that Amber must always look like an effeminate boy and Sulli a Korean styled loli. I think this becomes workout music: good enough to be background noise, not good enough for me to learn the lyrics to the song.

    1. That what it’ll be to me. Background workout music. No more, no less. And that way, I won’t ever have to watch the video either!

  3. “…rolling all the members of f(x) through a thrift store…”

    Something about this video smells like R. Kelly’s sheets.

  4. This song was eh and not even background music for me, hopefully their next comeback is better.
    And maybe i’m one of the few’s and even though I love amber(my bias) I wish they would try to dress her a bit more feminine. Just once I would love to see her in a pair of nice fitted jeans and a tight shirt,lol and show every thing she’s got XD. Cause the ways she’s dressed through out this mv…I don’t like it,lol

    1. Yeah, at this point Amber is the only interesting thing about f(x). It would be cool to see her get a concept change at least once, but she rocks what SM gives her (which isn’t enough. Ever).

  5. This is seriously the lame version of Electric Shock.
    At first, I thought the song was bad but after a few listens (yes, I had to force myself to like the fucking song; damn me being a fan of f(x)) it became AVERAGE. It was almost like SM said ‘Oh. We need an f(x) comeback? Eh, give them the same basic shit we used on them last year but just change their outfits.

    1. And it was barely an outfit change at that. They need a shake up at this point in their career and this was a stalling mechanism.

  6. The song from the early teaser is a lot better:

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