The Brave Brothers and 4Minute love-fest continues with “Whatcha Doin’ Today” but while the results this time around are a bit more consistent if a little underwhelming musically, they are also wildly inconsistent and overwhelming at the same time visually.
4Minute’s love of synth-laden funk beats should fall right into Brave Brothers’ wheelhouse but as has been the case with their collaborations with 4Minute so far, it’s a case of both sides sticking too close to their established comfort zones. The horns are a treat (and the real star of this show) and the synths which play just above them give a little depth and richness to the overall sound, an effect which helps bridge 4Minute’s penchant for electro-pop with Brave Brothers’ disco sound but there’s not much that one hasn’t heard from either party in the past.
The vocals don’t do much one way or another but there are a couple of good moments to be found in the purposely overwrought auto-tuning of the lyrics. The “ah-ah-ah-ahs” and the interplay with the horns are exhilarating at first but after a couple of minutes the effect of listening to 4Minute employ various attempts at panting becomes a bit numbing. Gayoon and Jihyun bring a much needed lighter touch to the verses. Hyuna does her thing and won’t change anyone’s opinions about her abilities as a singer-rapper with this one. Jiyoon is the highlight of the track with her rapping bit being the one point where the song comes alive and the vocals rise above the beat. Unfortunately, the rest of the song isn’t nearly as good as the track shambles around from autotuned hook to autotuned chorus to verse and back again. The electronic processing, combined with the admittedly funky production makes “Whatcha Doin’ Today” passable but all the sheen makes it almost too slick for its own good as hardly anything sticks.
4Minute is no stranger to making music videos which aim for laughs (“Heart to Heart”) and they are certainly used to blinding people with neon (pretty much everything but “Volume Up”). As for “Whatcha Doin’ Today” they miss the mark on the former while they’re much too good at achieving the latter. The editing is the main culprit and is largely why “Whatcha Doin’ Today” doesn’t work nearly as well as it should, especially when one is working with idols who look as good as Hyuna or Jiyoon.
Humor can be nonsensical and doesn’t need a lot of context. Indeed, (although this may be an unfair comparison) Psy’s “Gangnam Style” showed that explicitly foregoing any sense of plot can be freeing and delightfully humorous in an anarchic sense. And lord knows that “Whatcha Doin’ Today” aims to not make sense. The sets don’t connect with each other. Various outfits and stylings are employed and then thrown away in a blink of an eye. There’s Hyuna and a pole, butts being spanked and dudes making out. There’s heads growing in size and extras being shoved into lockers. Light shows interchange with tea parties. It’s promising material but where “Whatcha Doin’ Today” falters is through a lack of escalation. Whereas something like “Gangnam Style” had a shrewd sense of how to keep upping the ante in its bids of chaos, “Whatcha Doin Today” can’t even find where the ground floor is. The backing sets all seem similarly small and confined which grants no scale and the antics aren’t shown in a way that gives the viewer a reason to think that things will get more interesting as the video progresses. The editing cuts so quickly between each scene that nothing can be digested while also having the unfortunate drawback of divulging the video’s entire “hand” almost immediately. In terms of crafting a video, the line between the non sequitur humor of something like “Gangnam Style” and that of “Whatcha Doin’ Today” is the difference between an eccentric genius and an incoherent madman.
“Whatcha Doin’ Today” ends up being a pleasant enough, if disposable, track. It’s background music, the type which won’t warrant skips or repeats when it comes on the speaker. As is the case with Brave Brothers lately, it’s too well-oiled for its own good. The video suffers a fundamentally different problem of structure (namely, that it needs some). Together, the lack of coherence in the video and the lack of lasting impressions in the song makes “Whatcha Doin’ Today” too easy to tune out for a music video which tries so hard to hold attention.