f(x) has one of the most critically acclaimed discographies by fans and critics alike.
They are renowned for their quirky experimentalism and adventurous concepts. While their songs often seem light-hearted and fun-spirited, their lyrics are usually sinister, strange and “mysteric”.
That is exactly what people love about f(x)’s music.
Billboard critics have analysed K-Pop B-sides over the past decade to pick out “The 40 Best K-Pop Deep Cuts of the Decade So Far”.
But the writers admitted that there was only one group that had so many great B-sides, that they couldn’t just list one.
f(x)’s fan favourite song “Airplane” and Luna‘s solo “Galaxy” were also named, making f(x) the only group that made the list more than once.
But it should be no surprise to MeUs that what topped the list was the beloved B-side “Shadow”.
This endearingly creepy song is all about a shadow that falls madly in love with its master. But the suggestive lyrics frame the shadow as if they are a stalker.
Fans even jokingly nickname it the anthem for saesang fans.
MeUs will recall that this song had the honour of being played across the iconic teaser video for “Pink Tape”.
Music critic Caitlin Kelley pays tribute to the song by praising its unique instrumentation.
It is a clever trick to take whimsical elements – like the xylophones, vocal samples and lyrical love theme – and twist them into something sinister.
The sinister backdrop of the music creates a unique aura. It is almost as if the song entraps its listener in a distorted fairy tale.
While it sounds colourful and imaginative, like the melody of a music box, f(x)’s soft singing suggests something more disturbing.
Those descending xylophones at the beginning paired with the warped vocal layers sound deeply unsettling – then you read the lyrics, and the song becomes straight up chilling
In f(x)’s world, even something as innocent and personal as a shadow is distorted into something menacing and frightening.
On the surface, lyrics like “When the sun rises, together with you / I walk in sync” sound-romantic. But on a closer read, the song is sung from the perspective of a stalker
In the chorus, the song continually echoes, “When the moon rises, in my arms, you will fall asleep” as if in the darkness, the shadow embraces its beloved.
In this imaginative world of fantasy and menace, f(x) carves out its unique place in K-Pop history.
It is no wonder why Krystal has referred to this as her favourite f(x) song, as have many K-Pop fans.
“Shadow” is unsettling, disturbing and will never make listeners feel the same about their shadow. That is why this song is so adored.
“Shadow” is a perfect addition to the legendary “Pink Tape” album that continues to be heralded as the the “Pink Bible” of K-Pop albums.
As f(x) marks its tenth anniversary this year, it is surely hoped that they will come out with equally as iconic and fantastic songs.