4 Walls (song)
CD-only cover for "4 Walls"/"Cowboy"
|Single by f(x)|
|from the album 4 Walls|
|Released||October 27, 2015|
(Seoul, South Korea)
|f(x) singles chronology|
"4 Walls" is a song recorded by South Korean-based girl group f(x) for their fourth studio album of the same title. The track was written by Jam Factory member Lee Seu-ran, whilst production was handled by LDN Noise, Tay Jasper, and Adrian McKinnon. Lee Soo-man, the former president at S.M. Entertainment, served as the executive producer to the track. It was released on October 27, 2015 as the lead single in conjunction with the release of the album. Musically, "4 Walls" is described as a hybrid of tropical house, UK garage, and deep house.
The track garnered generally favorable reviews from music critics, most of whom highlighted as one of the album's best tracks and complimented the song's music styles. Commercially, the song peaked at number two on both South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart and United States' Billboard World Digital Songs. An accompanying music video features the members witnessing themselves in different dimensions. The group promoted the song by performing it on several Korean television shows, including Music Bank and M Countdown.
Background and release
South Korean girl group f(x) had achieved success in South Korea, and through Asia with singles including "Electric Shock" and "Hot Summer" as a five-piece group, consisting of Victoria Song, Amber Liu, Luna, Krystal Jung and Sulli. During the promotion of the group's third studio album Red Light (2014), member Sulli did not participate in live performances due to her "suffering from continual negative comments and false rumors," according to the group's parent company S.M. Entertainment's official statement on July 25, 2014. f(x)'s promotional activities thereafter involved the four other members, while Sulli took a career hiatus. On August 7, 2015, it was announced that Sulli had officially withdrawn from the group to focus on her acting career, and f(x) would continue to promote as a four-member group.
On September 11, 2015, the group confirmed work on a then-upcoming studio titled 4 Walls, and the release of a new single and music video, which was revealed to be the title track to the album. It premiered on October 27, 2015, the same date as the album's release, as the lead single. A Japanese version of the track were released alongside the newly-recorded "Cowboy" (stylized as "COWBOY"), as a double A-side single in Japan on November 2, 2016 via Avex Trax.
Composition and style
"4 Walls" was written by Jam Factory member Lee Seu-ran, whilst composing and production was handled by LDN Noise, Tay Jasper, and Adrian McKinnon. Lee Soo-man, the former president at S.M. Entertainment, also served as the executive producer to the track. Musically, it is a song heavily influenced by electronic dance music. It was described as a tropical house song with "slinky" synthesizers and "dreamy" hooks by The Star's Chester Chin. It was characterized as an "update" of UK garage by Spin, while Jeff Benjamin at Billboard detailed it as having a deep house sound. John Chiaverina from Kpopstarz.com had written an extended review on the track, and noted that the song was heavily inspired by the British music scene and Western electronic dance music. Chiavernica compared the tracks composition and vocals to a large variety of work by different artists, including Disclosure, Mariah Carey, Pitbull, and the song "Show Me Love" by American vocalist Robin S..
Upon its release, the track garnered generally favorable reviews from music critics. Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy from Vice.com gave the song a positive review, feeling that "the group’s romantic fervor fulfils the euphoria that drives some of the best house and pop music." An editor at Seoulbeats.com praised the composition and production of the song, stating "It achieves this laid back intensity as the song progresses and manages to have this without the usual heavy bass drop or shift in chords that one can find in usual K-pop songs." A reviewer from Selective Hearing was also positive, highlighting the track as one of the best entries to the album, and commended its "four on the floor" vibe.
Jeff Benjamin from Billboard complimented the song's composition, and compared it to the song "View" by South Korean boy band and brother group to f(x), Shinee; he explained, "The deep house sound is perfect for f(x) and creates a superior sister to "View," complete with moments of belting, rapping and even an awesome synthy breakdown at the bridge." Writing for Pitchfork Media, Sheldon Pearce described the song as a "superficial rebirth", furthering explaining, "though the album’s lead single and title track has veiled references to changing and becoming new, f(x)’s synthpop bounce remains steadfast and uncompromised." He also believed that "though Sulli was undoubtedly a standout among the group, her departure allows others to grab the spotlight...". Jakob Dorof from Spin discussed the album's "minor misgivings", and contrasted it with the title track, stating "Nowhere moreso than its title track, a deft U.K. garage upgrade that becomes definitively K-pop with rapper Amber’s surprisingly fire verse and a visionary double-bridge that shifts time, feel and genre with a logic all its own. " Chester Chin, writing for The Star, believed that the song's tropical and deep house elements was "leaps and bounds ahead of the conventional K-pop fares."
Commercially, "4 Walls" was successful in South Korea. It debuted at number two on South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart for the week of October 25, 2015. It was the twenty-sixth best-selling single of October 2015 (199,976 digital units sold), and the twelfth best-selling single of November 2015 (247,232 digital units sold) in South Korea. As of June 2016, the track has sold over 619,022 units in South Korea, the group's highest selling single since "Rum Pum Pum Pum" with over 900,000 units sold. The track debuted at number two on the U.S. Billboard World Digital Songs, becoming their highest-charting song on the chart.
|1.||"4 Walls" (Japanese version)|
|3.||"4 Walls" (instrumental)|
|1.||"4 Walls" (music video; Japanese version)|
|2.||"4 Walls" (making of music video; Japanese version)|
|3.||"Making of the single's cover"|
Credits and personnel
Credits adapted by the liner notes of the 4 Walls album.
- Recorded in South Korea (2015).
- Victoria Song – vocals
- Amber Liu – rapping, vocals
- Luna – vocals
- Krystal Jung – vocals
- Lee Seu-ran – songwriting
- LDN Noise – composing, producing
- Tay Jasper – composing, producing
- Adrian McKinnon – composing, producing
- Lee Soo-man – executive producer
- S.M. Entertainment – record label, management
- Pareles, Jon (March 13, 2016). "SXSW Music: Korean Pop With Its Own Special f(x)". Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Ha Soo Jung (July 25, 2014). "SM Releases Official Statement Announcing f(x) Sulli Will Stop All Promotional Activities". Mwave. CJ E&M. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
- 설리, 에프엑스 활동 중단 1년만에 공식 탈퇴 '연기 집중' [Sulli withdrawn from f(x) following one-year hiatus]. The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). Chosun Ilbo Company. August 7, 2015. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
- Lee Seung-rok (September 11, 2015). [단독] f(x), 오늘(11일) 제주서 극비리 뮤비 촬영…컴백 프로젝트 시동 [f(x) started filming a secret music video today] (in Korean). Naver. Naver Corporation. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
- 4 Walls (CD album; Liner notes). f(x). South Korea: S.M. Entertainment. 2015. SMK 0569.
- Dorof, Jakob (November 4, 2015). "Review: F(x) – 4 Walls (album)". Spin. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Chin, Chester (January 6, 2016). "Review: F(x) – 4 Walls (album)". The Star. Malaysia. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Benjamin, Jeff (November 2, 2015). "Review: F(x) – 4 Walls (album)". Billboard. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Chiaverina, John (November 6, 2015). "Review: F(x) – 4 Walls (album)". Kpopstarz.com. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Montesinos-Donaghy, Daniel (November 10, 2015). "Are f(x) the Most Underappreciated Heroes of K-Pop?". Vice.com. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Pat (October 28, 2015). "F(X) Matures In 4 Walls". Seoul Beats. Archived from the original on October 28, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Greg (November 2015). "Review: F(x) – 4 Walls (album)". Selective Hearing. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Pearce, Sheldon (November 18, 2015). "Review: F(x) – 4 Walls (album)". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
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- "Gaon Digital Chart – November 2015" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
- "Gaon Download Chart of October 2015" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
- "Gaon Download Chart of November 2015" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
- "Gaon Download Chart of December 2015" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
- "Gaon Download Chart of January 2016" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
- "Gaon Download Chart of 2013" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
- "World Digital Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
- "Oricon Chart - F(X) Singles Chart History". Oricon Chart (in Japanese). Retrieved November 8, 2016.
- on YouTube