Review: 4Minute – “Whatcha Doin Today” is a Safe Plea of Insanity

4-minute-mv-teaser

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.

Granted, there's some things which are quite memorable.

Granted, there’s some things which are quite memorable.

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.

Hypnotizing.

Hypnotizing.

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.

Of course, this could turn anyone into a raving lunatic.

Of course, this could turn anyone into a raving lunatic.

“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.

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10 comments

  1. The whole MV is a giant WTF?. Hyuna’s boobs stole the show.

    1. I was like “NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE BUT BOOBS SO K, I GUESS”.

      Then I wrote six hundred more words to pad it out a bit.

  2. black soshi · · Reply

    Thank you for the last gif! That is incredible. The song will probably grow on me after I’ve watched the video 100 times just to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. I’m was hoping for Muzik, HuH -style stuff to be honest. Looks like that’s a no.

    1. Nah, the song is pretty mediocre and the video’s craziness sort of bleeds together into nothing memorable outside of Hyuna’s boobs after a while as well.

    2. It’s strange because Brave Brothers should work with 4Minute but so far it’s been very boilerplate and bland. Also, love how every comment mentions Hyuna’s boobs in some capacity.

  3. Anyone else hears Wonder Girl’s ‘So Hot’ at the beginning of the track?
    Overall a pretty disappointing 4Minute release. I don’t like the direction they are taking with their music and I blame Brave Brothers. Unlike their earlier work, this and ‘What’s Your Name’ lack a proper melody (‘Is It Poppin?’ was alright). Underwhelming musically is an apt summary.
    4Minute is also very capable of making MVs without blinding neon (‘Huh’, ‘Love Tension’, ‘Ready Go’ comes to mind). Again, I blame Brave Brothers as the MV is made to compliment the song. I want the old 4Minute back, and for Ga-yoon to put back some weight.
    That Hyuna gif, though..

    1. I haven’t been the biggest 4Minute fan (my favorite thing by them is “Volume Up” which is about as far from a “4Minute” release as one could expect but I’ve expected more out of them than this. At least they’re good at showcasing Hyuna?

  4. i HOPE this isnt the direction they are heading this year. We dont want more “Wash your name wash your name ” songs.. we want songs like HuH, Love Tension, I Me Mine and other strong punchy woman-power songs that defines 4Minute. This song suits nugu rookie bands.
    Although i love Gayoon, she totally dominated the song and the MV to the point that people will think Sohyun and Hyuna are just a side dancers. And whats with Jiyoon rapping? Pleaseeeeee, dont insult her voice!!!!!

  5. This dance practice video almost makes me like the song.

    5 seasoned K-Pop veterans showing they can still bring it. Hyuna looks smoking hot in shorts, sweats and sneakers (even on top of a table tennis table). I absolutely love how she has put back some of her weight and, more importantly, curves.
    I still want to tie Ga-yoon to a chair and force feed her rice cakes.. poor girl is wasting away.

    1. Sigh, the choreo videos are somehow better than the actual MVs way too often.

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