K-Pop Music Reviews: 4minute – Heart to Heart

Title: Heart to Heart

Release Year: 2011

Let’s have a Heart to Heart to Heart!

4minute consists of – somewhat surprisingly – 5 members: Jihyun, Gayoon, Jiyoon, Hyuna, and Sohyun. They’re one of the more older girl groups that have achieved success, having debuted all the way back in 2009. They’ve also been active in Japan as of late, and actually have released more Japanese albums than Korean albums!

Thankfully, they came back to Korea in late March with their latest Korean album, entitled “Heart to Heart”.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: “Heart to Heart” isn’t the kind of song that 4minute is known for. 4minute is known for their powerful, rave-quality music: thumping beats, grinding bass, guitars, and the occasional use of autotune.

In that sense, “Heart to Heart” is something new for these girls. This track uses acoustic guitars, soft pianos, organs, and – most of all – vocals to create a package that is much “easier” to listen to than some of 4minute’s other works.

It’s clear that the composers of the song wanted to take a new direction with this new track, and they succeeded flawlessly – it’s definitely easy on the ears, and the chord progressions of the chorus is both smooth and catchy. It’s an easy listening track, and if you were expecting yet another example of 4minute’s trademark thumping club music, you will be disappointed – because “Heart to Heart” simply isn’t that kind of song. More chic and sophisticated than their earlier songs, it represents the flip side of the coin.

However, it appears that the girls of 4minute themselves missed the memo.

There are specific voices that are suited to specific kinds of songs. SNSD’s Taeyeon has a voice that is perfect for soft ballads, while After School’s Kahi has a rough, slightly mousy voice that is perfect for rapping.

However, the true mark of an artist lies in how well they adapt their voices to match songs that their voices usually wouldn’t be compatible with. For instance, the girl group Secret made a complete transformation from “Madonna” – which required powerful, belting vocals, to “Shy Boy”, which needed the girls to transform into more of a “cute ice-cream girl’ concept, and their voices along with it. If you compare these two songs, it’s hard to tell that they’re the same girls singing – which is an indicator of how tensile their voices are, and how well they adapt to different needs.

Unfortunately, the girls of 4minute seems to have carried their voices straight from their previous single. They simply don’t match the song; what would’ve been an absolutely fantastic track with the right voices, becomes a muddled tramp through swampy ground thanks to some of the vocals. “Heart to Heart” is meant to be a soft, slightly jazzy piece, and the voices seem as though they were ripped from a screaming rock track, especially during some parts of the chorus. Thankfully, this isn’t always the case, however – some parts of the song is stronger than others, and thankfully, this results in a better match-up with the voices. In other cases, the girls actually deign to lower their volume a little bit, and hence, sounds better. But on the most part, the vocals are the most disappointing part of the track. Not because they’re bad, per se – as a matter of fact, they’re some of the strongest vocals I’ve heard in a girl group. But that actually turns out to be part of the problem: “Heart to Heart” isn’t a song that particularly needs strong vocals.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

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