Given how successful their last comeback was as a music video, 4Minute’s Skrillex-assisted effort “Hate” was going to have a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, while an EDM/hip-hop genre-masher conceptually plays to 4Minute (and Skrillex’s) strengths, “Hate” misses the mark by being too cute-by-half with its incongruous beat.
To start with the positives, everything surrounding the ‘drop’ in “Hate” is pretty sublime. The slow opening beat and 4Minute’s theatrically beautiful delivery does a fantastic job of playing against expectations and it serves as a reminder that 4Minute can do a hell of a lot more than energetic EDM music. The sets and 4Minute’s wardrobe during the non-drop parts are similarly cinematic and sometimes breathtaking, whether it be the opening shot of Gayoon in a white wedding dress being surrounded by a forest of flowers, Hyuna bringing some utterly fantastic shades to a golden desert or Jihyun bathing in an oddly-shaped white tub (seriously, the way that thing contours doesn’t make it look like the most comfortable place to take a bath).
The attention to lighting, the variety of camera angles and diverse editing techniques from the slow-motion shots to the smash cuts and even the way that the aspect ratio is played with at the start of the video all do an effective job of keeping the video visually interesting. Had it just been the slower, more methodically composed pieces of the song, “Hate” would have been complete fire. Sadly, “the drop” exists.
On some sort of elevated conceptual level, having the drop of a song entitled “Hate” be so jarringly different from its setup works because hatred is a wild emotion that is rarely collected or rational. However, the drop in “Hate” is so radically different and off-putting that it can’t help but drag down the entire music video with it. The transition from rich somber bass, keys and percussion to hard, hollow, sparse thwomps is abrupt and admittedly frustratingly catchy in a way that is definitely purposeful but doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to hear. The video’s aesthetic switch to hip-hop choreography shots also comes without warning and disappears just as quickly, which, again, works somewhat as a concept but just seems unfocused and randomly thrown together in execution (although I am a fan of the sweatshirt, jeans and Timbs look that the group swags out in at the end). On its own, the drop is fine as a hard and trashy beat. Embedded in “Hate,” it doesn’t add to the song so much as it competes for attention.
While this discontinuity is likely The Point of “Hate”, the emphasized detachment between the drop and the rest of the song is so great that it only makes me think that both parts of the song would have been infinitely better off as their own tracks (or even videos) because both elements do a fairly good job of showing what 4Minute is capable of when it comes to the group’s try-hard hip-hop and slower pop efforts.