Looking like a schoolyard gang and Posh Spice cosplayers, 4minute return with yet another big track, “Hate”. Produced by Skrillex, it follows “Crazy” into chaotic banger territory but with a certain pristine quality. Again, unfounded comparisons between YG Entertainment artists are bouncing around due to the sound and look of the music video. As we will see, 4Minute and Skrillex bring a higher level of craft when it comes to run of the mill electro tracks.
Calling this an electro song is a bit reductive. It is the centre of controlled chaos between genres vying for dominance. Where “Crazy” started at top speed, “Hate” allows consecutive parts to sound completely different. They lead to a huge chorus that does not let up once it comes out.
From Gayoon’s opening to Sohyun’s pre-chorus, each part of “Hate” that leads up to the chorus increases in tempo as they come. Gayoon’s beautiful intro threatens us with a ballad. The pain in her voice sets the song up though, as something that won’t take any prisoners. While not hateful there’s a defiance to her pain; she’s done with this man once and for all. The piano melody takes us slowly by the hand into “Hate,” not giving anything about the destination away. Right after, a beat is finally introduced with Hyuna rapping on top of it. Her usual snarl is restrained for the moment, she allows the build before going for the jugular. Jihyun continues with this beat but with added drum flairs, her voice perfectly balanced between singing and rapping to prime us for bigger moments without giving it away. This comes in the form of Sohyun’s electrifying pre-chorus. Skrillex introduces his well known dub over her shouts of “go, go, go.” The song and girls are fed up of playing nice, the hate is real. Like in “Crazy,” the increasing tempo of the beat and screams leads perfectly into a chorus that is at once predictable and surprising.
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The chorus is predictable, given the nature of the song and the name of the producer. Surprising because the song’s build up at first masked it, and because of just how big it is. The horns explode with glee as Hyuna snarls in her familiar nasally voice “I hate you.” At first listen, these horns jar, using music rather than vocals as the hook is still relatively rare in K-pop. Despite their inherent conflicting sound they are shaped into a force by 4minute. It’s a sound to be angry to, to take action to.
Once it ends, “Hate” does not stick to what it knows. Jiyoon replaces Hyuna for the rap verse, similarly sounding as if she’s holding back. She knows she’ll get her chance in the chorus. The big change is the pre-chorus, which Gayoon takes and molds it into her own. Her banshee wail, a call for the hate filled chorus. The song always takes the time to got to quieter moments between those choruses. Mercifully giving us a break but more importantly creating contrast to sit the chorus on a pedestal. A throne to hate.
The video does little to prop up the theme of the song with a story, it does have the distinction of being 4minute’s most beautiful video to date. Like the verse chorus relationship different sections of the video contrast with each other. Gayoon’s opening of restrictive mesh clothing, veils, and small frames shows a woman trapped in her hate filled relationship. Right after, Hyuna walks open deserts. The frame stays full as she walks amongst the dust. The expanse is just as scary, too open to the point of loneliness.
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They do something similar with the styling too. Gayoon’s vengeful bride aesthetic and Jiyoon’s dominatrix look are total opposites, but work to tell the same story. Gayoon’s innocence, similar to the song, creeps up on you. Something that doesn’t seem hateful at first can quickly change. Jiyoon is the chorus then, an image of controlled hate.
Over the years, 4minute have changed their style time and again to showcase everything a girl group can be. Mostly focused on a heavier sound based in hip-hop and electro, and every time they executed it perfectly. This era of trap and dubstep influenced work suits them just right once again. “Hate” is a slow burn that tortures the soul of weak men. It cracks with dubstep flourishes and bites with mean raps. No other song has fit these type of sounds so well before.
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