Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

f(x) – Rum Pum Pum Pum

Awaiting a K-pop single based on “Do You Hear What I Hear?” next. Someone, please!

Brad Shoup: Another week, another maximal confection from S.M. Entertainment. It’s another one of those comebacks that shows off every possible strength: f(x) sings in rounds, harmonizes in their upper register; Amber raps her few bars in a tone that’s grown-up, no growl. In fact, spinning absence into seasoning seems to be the focus of the tune. “You probably think you experienced it all when you were young,” goes the Pop!gasa translation, which could be about these torturous pursuers, or maybe those fantastic harmonies bouncing off that rubberband bass.

Edward Okulicz: If you thought “I Am The Best” needed variety and even a dash of sweetness, this song is completely made for you. Of course you’d be completely wrong, but those elements do make “Rum Pum Pum Pum” quite intoxicating on its own merits. Not only that, but it brings the funk; surely a mash-up with “Cannonball” awaits. The use of voice (the prechorus, and that melodic hum over the middle eight in particular) is art of a like we don’t get often enough in Western pop.

Alfred Soto: The bass line evokes Ashanti and Kelis, the mulitracked chorus purest honey.

Patrick St. Michel: “Rum Pum Pum Pum” opens up f(x)’s Pink Tape, which is somewhere near the top of my mental “favourite albums of 2013” list, and it is one of the more straightforward sounding cuts on it (this follows “Rum Pum,” and is stunning). But lyrically, “Rum Pum” sets the mood for the entire album and stands out even when isolated. “Hello, you probably heard of me at least once/your wisdom tooth” is how this song starts, and it only gets more diabolical from there. The “Little Drummer Boy” aping music serves as a good backdrop for each of f(x)’s members to drop lines like “Ouch your head will hurt/you won’t be able to sleep” and “I’ll be crooked and torture you/I’m not easy.” It comes off as interesting just from reading in silence, and sounds even better with the music. And it only gets better from there.

Anthony Easton: The chorus is so absurd, almost irredeemable, evoking memories of “Rum Tum Tugger” or “The Little Drummer Boy”; some nonsense syllables should be left alone. But it starts out at 90 and speeds to 100, and there is no time left for such thoughts — if the work is going to be so breakneck restless, an aggressive spitting out of anything should be allowed.

Iain Mew: The percussive title bit is very catchy, but that being backed up by the odd serenity of how their vocals glide over the itchy guitar part elsewhere is what stands out. That makes “Rum Pum Pum Pum” not only the catchiest but also the most distinctive and most approachable song I’ve heard from f(x).

Jonathan Bogart: That break where it cuts down to just the kicky rhythm line and you realize it’s MASS TAP CHOREOGRAPHY. I am never not going to love a song that does that. That a perfectly zooming 90s-R&B-but-more-so K-pop song is built on top of it is just perfecting perfection.

Daisy Le Merrer: I’ve got a theory that K-pop girls band are big fans of late 90’s-early 00’s pop-rnb because they’re all about transgressing traditional gender roles, and the last time western pop was remotely interested in that was a decade ago. Obviously this theory has huge holes in it, one being my cursory at best knowledge of Korean society, and another is that even if this reminds me of Britney & Pharrel’s “Boys,” it obviously also sounds like a dozen contemporaneous Neptunes tunes that are gender-normative as fuck. The number one reason I love music of the period is purely nostalgic, and surely, there’s something along those lines happening with K-Pop producers. That being said, like EvoL’s “Get Up”, a song that mined the samed territory, this isn’t just a vintage Neptunes-like beat. It’s sugary and pop in a way that’s pure K-pop. I’d like for today’s Pharrell to hear “Rum Pum Pum Pum” and realize he can fuse the impulses of “Blurred Lines” and things like his Despicable Me songs. K-pop may barely transgress any gender to the casual western observer, but it does transgress a few genre lines.

Madeleine Lee: I’m glad that a “Love Buzz”/”I Am The Best” mashup sounds as good in real life as it does in my head.

Reader average: [8.44] (25 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

3 Responses to “f(x) – Rum Pum Pum Pum”

  1. This is a great set of blurbs for maybe the grower of the summer. My thoughts earlier from the site I write for:

    Looks like the trend of the summer in Korea is girl groups toning down the tough to get to something sweet. 2NE1 did it with “Falling In Love,” and I think this is another good example of how to do it properly. Those guitar strums and marching drums driving the verses are straight out of a Western, and the ladies of f(x) handle those passages with style, swaying their bodies with deceptively assured poise. But then they’ll get to that hook–the explosive RUM PUM PUM PUM PUM–and without missing a beat, they’ll segue right into a series of playground antics: starting improptu games of patty cake, stomping down the sparkly dance floor, wagging their fingers at each other like friends that have become something closer to sisters. It’s a balance between mystique and friendship which “Rum Pum Pum Pum” pulls off perfectly.

  2. Why why oh why didn’t you review Brown Eyed Girls’ Kill Bill yet? Ooh please do it.

  3. Great timing, our review of it is coming tomorrow!