Give 'Hate' a Chance: A Look at 4Minute's Audacious New Release

4Minute Hate MV

Here we all were thinking that 4Minute was just toying with us with a variety of different sounding teasers for "Hate." Turns out that "Hate" comes in many forms, friends, as we're taken, transported, catapulted from one song and dropped (with the drop) into something else entirely. Let's take a look at this single (I'd look up Act7 to hear the other songs - "Canvas" especially). But you have to watch the music video first if you haven't seen it already (why haven't you seen it already?!)!


Okay, you listened to it. But listen to it again. Like four times (natch) in a row, at least. This is a song that takes time to grow inside you - or for your ears to catch up. Because "Hate" is kind of a mess on first listen.

It has been compared with Big Bang's "Bang Bang Bang," and with good reason (and good company). The drop drops the song in unfamiliar territory, and on first listen, second, third, it's downright off-putting. 



But then by the fourth listen, "Hate" is gold. If you don't like EDM and have an intense hatred for Skrillex, this song will not make you happy. And true, "Hate" being Skrillex produced, makes it have more similarities to another Skrillex-based collaboration, "Jack U,"  featuring Kiesza (YOUREDM smartly pointed that out). 



The effect can be jarring, enraging even - here we have beautiful vocals in an emotional, heartfelt ballad, one of those songs you listen to after a breakup or when you're feeling particularly forlorn, crying in the streets during an unexpected downpour. And then we get the Skillrex drop, and the effect is tantamount to strolling on that rainy street and getting hit by a truck. It's EDM, but it sounds more mechanical than electronic - a robotic reinterpretation of feeling.

Which is to say, "Hate" won't be for everyone, and certainly won't be for those that have escaped to Kpop in hopes of avoiding the mechanically apocalyptic and (some would argue) over-produced music that has taken over western airwaves. Those same Kpop netizens seem in search of the golden nineties, and they're in a good place right now - for every 4Minute, there are at least ten girl groups that have taken the reins of not just 90's pop, but 90's Kpop (Think: S.E.S), where the trends seem to be returning to, with groups like Lovelyz and G-Friend (who just won their first music show for Rough - congratulations!) gaining immense popularity. It's strange to think that while boy groups are becoming more edgy and hip-hop (Block B, BTS, Monsta X, etc), that girl groups are retreating the opposite direction. But that's another story.

So anyway, on this other end of the 90's girl group spectrum we have 4Minute, who have embraced this more modern western sound - and, while they're not necessarily revolutionary for doing this, they have at least distinguished themselves as one of the most current girl groups in Kpop, and definitely the most cool. 


4Minute Hate

This shift could point towards HyunA's solo masterpiece, "Red," as a starting point. The reddening of 4Minute took them away from their Brave Brothers' "What's Your Name?" quirkiness to a more aggressive, edgy sound and look in "Crazy." Continuing this feel, "Hate" takes the music a step further with a song that sounds like a remixed mashup of multiple songs - placed together, haphazardly, by some ambitious DJ. But it's not a remix, or if it is one, it's an original remix, or, as I'm coining it: a Remix Original ©.

The somberness, the light colors, the wedding garments that Gayoon wears gives the music video a touch of melancholy to start, giving the impression that we're set for something closer to "Cold Rain" than "Crazy." Even the colors in "Hate," at this intro, look like a red-shifting from the cool, moody blue of "Cold Rain."

I've already spent a lot of time discussing the jarring nature of the drop, but by the fourth listen, expecting this drop, the shift isn't so dramatic. We get the build with HyunA and a developing beat that gives just a hint of Skrillex, and by the time we get to Sohyun a minute in, we return to the ferocity that made "Crazy" so iconic a release.

Sohyun 4Minute Hate

After that, the song is never the same - even the quieter parts are infused with more electronica and a rising energy. While, even then, the song isn't as satisfying and cathartic as "Crazy," few songs really could be ("Crazy" was just that good).

I'm bringing up "Crazy" a lot, but there's a reason. With "Hate," we have a release that, in many ways, is both too similar and too different from "Crazy" to avoid the comparison. The colors of the music video, with the stark whites and reds during the choreography bear a (probably intended) resemblance to the stunning black and whites in "Crazy." Where it's dramatically different is the cohesion - "Crazy" is simply a more cohesive song - an angry cathartic jam from beginning to end, whereas "Hate" is more challenging, both to discuss and to listen to.

And still, I love it. I love "Hate" for its ambitions, for its jarring sounds, its attitude, and even for its failures. I love that 4Minute is on the opposite side of the G-Friend spectrum of girl groups, and they're holding that side down with audacity and pride. I love the drop, I really do.

You just have to embrace the "Hate." Give it another listen, friends. Give "Hate" a chance.


Timothy Moore writes from Chicago. He blogs at Read My Blog Please, and edits at Ghost Ocean Magazine. His biases are T-ara, Block B, Nine Muses, Brown Eyed Girls, and Girl's Day.


3 comments:

  1. I gave "Hate" a chance and I'm so glad I did. Like some recent mashups (Tim mentioned "BANG BANG BANG" or even SNSD's "I Got a Boy") it's jarring at first, but once I settle in, I am able to really enjoy it. The whole album is pretty fantastic. Blind" is the jam I needed in my life. I think it's really interesting to listen to the instrumental track at the end of the album. Without the vocal, I could really see the momentum and the build. Enbrace the crazy. Dooo ittttttttt

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  2. it really puzzles me to hear people describe this song as "jarring" and "incohesive." it's a dynamic song. while this kind of thing is more prevalent in electronic music, I wouldn't say it's limited to it. And I actually feel like the style suits the narrative perfectly... I guess depends on what kind of break-up your having lol. it's not unusual to oscillate between rage and saddness if you've been wronged by your significant other. in describing the tumultuous feelings at the end of such a relationship, the contrast this song presents is perfect.

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    Replies
    1. I freaking love this song. A lot of people don't like the chorus, but for me that's the best part. If not for the chorus, the song would sound like a typical boring, vanilla kpop song.

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