4Minute – “Whatcha Doin’ Today?” Review

4Minute – Whatcha Doin’ Today (Dance Practice)

4Minute – Whatcha Doin’ Today

Reviewed on September 6, 2014

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Personal Message: Finally, the first review of September. I’m on a ridiculously busy schedule, so forgive me for not putting out many reviews lately. Anyhow, the song we’re looking at today was one that was requested for review. We are going to take a look at the adept dancers, singers, and clever, intelligent ladies of 4Minute. They claim it takes 4 minutes for boys and ladies to fall in love with them, however, it took me 30 minutes to truly become infatuated. Then again, the person who recommended this song fell in love in exactly 1 minute and 7 seconds. 

Silly jokes aside, I personally am not familiar with 4Minute; from what I can tell so far, they’re a “poppier” group in the K-Pop scene. Nevertheless, they have their set style and bursting personalities. While we’re on the topic of personalities, I’ve never seen such clever, cheap ladies. For the variety show of “Weekly Idol”, they did whatever it took to win the games, even if it involved a little cheating. Anyhow, despite their witty actions there, they certainly won me over for their silly antics. On the serious side of the show, they definitely impressed me with their dancing; 4Minute killed the “Random Dance” section with superb movements and cohesion.  

Bringing the review back on track, “Whatcha Doin’ Today?” Personally I will be reviewing this song, and I hope you follow as well.  

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Song Total Score: 7/10 (7.4/10 raw score) – Average score of the sub-categories, separate so Choreography Score doesn’t affect it.

– Vocals: 7/10 – Rating this either a 7 or 8 is something I’m struggling to decide. Overall, I’ll push it towards a 7.

The vocals in this are great, but that’s assuming they’re individually singing. Member by member, each of them sounded wonderful. Gayoon aided the song with her sweet, melodic voice, Jihyun and Sohyun had solid vocals for their part, and Hyuna and Jiyoon were very impressive with their rapping voices.

What does prevent me from confidently claiming the vocals in “Whatcha Doin’ Today” are amazing is when they sing in unison; whenever they’re singing as one, it sounds extremely stale. In fact, there’s almost a tint of autotune at use. Luckily for them, since I can’t properly gauge if that’s their vocals sounding as one or if it is autotune, I’ll have to let it slide. Nevertheless, 4Minute simultaneously singing is disappointing; they lose a lot of the flow and melody they individually possess. 

4Minute doesn’t possess the strongest vocal talent in comparison to numerous groups, but they hold their ground adequately. Slightly above average vocals. 

– Song Structure: 7/10 (7.125/10 raw score) – Going to have scores for “Verse score”, “Pre-Chorus score”, “Chorus score”, etc.)

The song goes in this structure and order:

Introduction, Chorus, Verse, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Rap, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Bridge, Conclusion (Chorus)

So for “Song Structure”, I’m going to go through each section (Verse, Chorus, etc) and give a score per section. After that, the average is the “Song Structure” score.

1. Introduction: 8/10 – Hyuna is in charge of leading the introduction. 

The introduction starts off with a saxophone/trumpet instrument (once again, forgive me for my ignorance on instruments). This key instrument will remain prominent throughout the song. Now a few more seconds in, Hyuna does the usual 4Minute introductions of “Yeah, It’s 4MINUTE and Brave Sound, Let go” (for those unfamiliar with the Brave Sound part, in short, he is a song producer/writer and he always includes a labeling at the start of every song he produces).

So far, “Whatcha Doin’ Today” gives off a strong start; the key instrumental is already given along with some confident-leaking words from Hyuna. This sets a nice atmosphere on how the song will play out; stronger vocals can be expected.

Progressing on, after Hyuna finishes her main lines, her final one is “Let go” which provides a smooth, blatant transition to the next part of the introduction. The following part is where 4Minute throws in a few melodic phrases of “A-ha”. To transition to the next song section, there’s a strange “Brrrr” sound. And, unfortunately, I am adding a connotation of bad to “strange”.

Looking at the introduction as a whole, it does its job. It sets up the mood, delivers forth the melody, and it contains 4Minute’s traditional greeting of introducing themselves. The transitions are well done, although the last part is questionable. Overall, a solid introduction that hops straight into the song. 

2. Chorus: 5/10 – Perhaps 4Minute hopped in a little too soon. The chorus is sung by the 5 ladies of 4Minute.

Firstly, going straight into the chorus when the song is hardly developed is an interesting decision; typically, the chorus is held off until later. The reason behind that is due to how choruses tend to be the core part of a song, and in many cases, is where a climax occurs. For “Whatcha Doin’ Today” using the chorus prematurely, it limits any build-up potential in the future. 

Now analyzing from the vocal perspective, it is rather mediocre. While every lady has proven their skill individually, when it comes to singing a single, cohesive voice, they utterly falter. 4Minute’s combined vocal sounds quite robotic, whether that’s due to autotune is too vague to decide. Either way, with such a monotone sound, it creates a dull chorus. The instrumental remained quite neutral, so its role did not hurt nor help the chorus. 

Overall, the chorus in this song is disappointing. With a repetitive flow, uninteresting vocals, and a plain instrumental, nothing is exciting at all about the chorus. The only strength that emanates from this song part is how it slightly lingers around and becomes catchy. Disregarding that, however, and we have an average chorus.  

3. Verse: 9/10 – While the choruses hold as faulty, at least the verses remain very delightful. Sohyun is responsible for the first verse while Jihyun tackles the second verse. 

I will be criticizing the first verse, as Jihyun’s verse remains quite identical minus lyric modifications.

Sohyun does an outstanding job with this part. The transition into the verse is completely smooth. It’s a natural flow into this part. Sohyun follows a catchy melody with her voice; while she doesn’t show off intensive vocal work, it’s still catchy. Another key part of the first verse is an incredible play on sounds. Even if this remains a minuscule detail, it provides an extra flow of her lines. Every ending line has an “oh” sound, as seen by the last words of: “eomnayo…hanayo… sirheoyo”. Through this, it augments her flow. By having a repeated sound at the end of every line, it creates a pleasing, lingering effect. 

In terms of Jihyun’s verse, it follows the same, slower pacing in Sohyun’s part. The only change are the lyrics. Melody and such remains quite similar.

Looking at the verses, they are very solid. With decent vocals from the two ladies and a catchy, slower pace, it compensates for the weaker chorus.  

4. Rap: 9/10 – There are two rap sections in “Whatcha Doin’ Today”, however, I will be grading them in one take. Jiyoon and Hyuna are the rappers for this group.

For the first rap that occurs, Jiyoon handles it. Jiyoon does an exceptional job with her part; this is one of the better raps I’ve heard in songs. She has flow, power, and melody. For a rap, that is, in summary, all you would ever desire. Her flow was quite outstanding with being able to spit out word after word. In addition to how smooth her words were, she had a phenomenal impact with her lines. This becomes apparent with her endings of “bwa” which leave a strong, lasting impression on listeners. Lastly, she still carried on the song’s melody. The melody did not become lost nor did she go off track. As a result of this, the chemistry between the instrumental and her rapping played off one another and strengthened the rap. 

The second rap that occurs is with Hyuna, arguably the most popular member of 4Minute.

Hyuna initiates her part with some English. Sadly, it doesn’t go too well in terms of fluency. Everything goes well until she hits the sillier parts of the lyrics: “Show me the lol face”. And while I’m at it, “lol” at the lyrics she has to handle here. I’m not sure on what the idiot music producer had in mind for this. Perhaps it was to create a play on words for Korean and English, but I could not locate that. Anyhow, what goes wrong in terms of fluency here is “lol” sounded unclear. Furthermore, “face” turned into “race”. Keep in mind, however, English is quite difficult for Korean speakers. The mistake on “face” is completely understandable as Korean possesses no “F” sound. 

Ignoring some pronunciation errors, Hyuna’s still rocking the rap. Her pacing and flow was sharp; her nasally voice definitely became a helpful tool in making her words flow quickly and smoothly. What she lacks in power in comparison to Jiyoon is redeemed through even stronger pacing. Speaking of Jiyoon, she makes a return to rap once more. Towards the end of Hyuna’s rap, Jiyoon’s entry allowed the second rap section to gain extra power along with a clear, crisp conclusion. Jiyoon’s ending of “We gon’ rock it, kill it, that’s how we do it” was perfect with flow; the chopped “it” sounds worked out very well. 

Overall, extremely impressive rapping from these two amazing ladies. Both of them are highly talented rappers, and these two raps aid the song as a whole. I couldn’t say it better than Jiyoon; “that’s how we do it” is well said.

5. Pre-Chorus: 8/10 – Gayoon is in charge of every pre-choruses. 

In this section, Gayoon showcases a wide range of vocals. She’s able to hit the middle pitches as well as the higher ones.

 For the pre-chorus, she’s utilizing her sweeter, softer voice to carry on the melody. At “hamyeonseo~” she hits a high note on the word. The last word of “jeonhwahalgeyo” was also sung in an exceptionally high pitch. Impressive vocals. Focusing on the pre-chorus as a whole, the biggest asset is how she was able to maintain the melody in a gentle, soft tune. The instrumental also became lighter and due to that, created a nice connection between the soundtrack and vocals. 

A soothing, sweet part by Gayoon’s vocals. A solid piece.

6. Post-Chorus: 7/10 – Gayoon is heard once again. She’s also in charge of every single post-chorus. A quick disclaimer, while this is arguably part of the chorus, I think it deserves its own spot since it differs completely from the core of the chorus (the horrendous, autotune-like part).

In comparison to her pre-chorus parts, for this section, her singing becomes slightly rougher. It works out well, though, as the instrumental is heavier as well. Her section her does contain some short, high note holds being used, such as at “…geoya” and “party tonight”. Even with some talented vocal work, this part still remains pretty stale. On the bright side, thanks to Gayoon’s high note ending, it allows a smooth transition to other parts.

The post-chorus sounded too similar to another section, such as the pre-chorus. Essentially, the post-chorus is a “heavier” version of the pre-chorus. It loses the softer tone, but it still follows a similar flow and pacing. Due to that, this score remains only slight-above-average. Impressive vocals here, but the staleness brings it down.

7. Bridge: 4/10 – This song seems to be the complete opposite of other K-Pop songs; normally the verses and pre-choruses are weaker, with the choruses and bridge being extraordinary. Here it’s the inverse. Strong verses/raps, weak choruses and bridge. 

Looking at “Whatcha Doin’ Today” as a whole, it would potentially benefit without the use of a bridge at all. This bridge was almost added as a filler. 

This bridge here is quite poor. The transition to it is somewhat abrupt. Almost out of nowhere, the instrumental becomes “funkier”. In short, the beats become heavier bass-wise and the same “A-ha” at the introduction is heard once again. Eventually a “Come on let’s party, yo” is heard, which isn’t too abstract from the song’s theme. That line was able to add some diversity. Now to transition back to the song as a whole, there’s a counting of “1, 2, 3, go”. An easy, cheap transition, but it works.

What gives, then, for a low score? My reason is that what I wrote pretty much sums up the bridge; bass-heavy beats become the main instrument, the “A-ha” comes back, and other phrases are thrown in. This part felt like a filler. This bridge was seemingly created just to fill in a spot for a bridge. It’s plain with the instrumental, the phrases are obnoxious, and it doesn’t seem to do anything but extend the song’s length.

A very boring, horribly crafted section. Very little instrumental work here. Vocals weren’t good here, either. 

8. Conclusion (Chorus): 7/10 – For the conclusion, the dreaded chorus is recycled. Thankfully, though, this chorus does work out well to conclude the song.

Since the bridge was relatively low in intensity, having a chorus with a similar level would be perfect. It works out in this song’s favor as the chorus wasn’t energetic, either. As a result, the transition is perfect and as a whole, both sections mesh very well.

At the very end, there is an extra line of “oneul mwohae” (translated roughly as “whatcha’ doin’ today”) and that allows a final, clear and simple wrap up. 

Mechanically looking at the conclusion, it fulfills its needed roles. The only thing holding the conclusion back is the sheer chorus itself. If the chorus was stronger, the ending would be even more momentous. 

– Line Distribution: 9/10 – 5 members in 4Minute, let’s see how they divided their lines.

Jihyun had her solo part with the second verse. Other than that, nothing else (excluding the chorus).

Sohyun is in a similar situation; she had the first verse to herself, but that was it.

Jiyoon had a solo rap section and made a return during the end of Hyuna’s rapping part.

While we’re mentioning Hyuna, she had a solo rap section as well. In addition, she was also in charge of the introduction.

Gayoon had both the pre-chorus and post-chorus, and given how numerous those sections were, it allowed a lot of time for her to shine.

Something else to keep in mind, however, is that the chorus involves everyone singing. 

Overall, looking at this, the members all had a fair share. The only issue would be Gayoon slightly has more time than the members, but nothing too bad. 9/10 for Line Distribution.

– Instrumental: 8/10 – The instrumental for “Whatcha Doin’ Today?” is actually quite solid. 

The key instrumental of the trumpet/saxophone works out quite well; it gives the song a unique attribute. In addition to sounding well alone, the instrumental fills its role with aiding the vocalists. Transitions were supplied and it replicated how the vocals went. For example, during the pre-chorus, it became “lighter” and accompanied Gayoon’s voice well. Another example is during the rapping section; it remained clear enough to support the rapping, yet passive enough to not become a distraction. 

A solid instrumental.

– Meaning: 6/10 – A time you would ask, “What are you doing?” is when you’re trying to start a conversation. The only time you would ask, “Whatcha doin’ today?” is when you’re trying to act cute/very casual and trying to set plans with someone. If my message is not yet clear, I’m expecting these lyrics to be a flirty story. Let’s find out through these translated lyrics. Not 100% accurate:

Yeah It’s 4Minute and Brave Sound,
Let go

A-ha a-ha ah ah a-ha
A-ha a-ha

Whatcha doin’ today (4Minute)
Whatcha doin’ later (ha)
whatcha doin’ on the weekend (let’s go)
Lalala lalala

Whatcha doin’ today (4Minute)
Whatcha doin’ later (ha)
whatcha doin’ on the weekend (let’s go)
Wanna meet up? (Come on)

Have no where to go after school?
Have nothing to do after the housework is done?
Wandering around after work?
I hate the same old boring days

You do everything you have to but have nothing else to do
People who are looking for something to do
People who turn on boring TV shows
and laugh along
Come inside, come inside here,
play with me for today
Everyone listen, just listen first,
whatcha doin’ today, everyone listen

Don’t try to make things up, just enjoy life
The world is a bright place
Fall in love,
have fun, I’ll call you later

Whatcha doin’ today
Whatcha doin’ later
Whatcha doin’ on the weekend
Lalala lalala

Whatcha doin’ today
Whatcha doin’ later
Whatcha doin’ on the weekend
Wanna meet up?

Watch a movie, eat good food, meet some guys
I wanna drink a cup of americano and just talk
Let’s go crazy all night, tonight,
everyone together, party tonight

Stop worrying so much,
everything will be fine
(everything will be fine)
Stop frowning and smile brightly
Ha ha ha ha ha ha

I love that
Show me the lol face
Hardened by grimy stress
Escape from those days for 4 minutes
Fill your surroundings with laughter
People who look far to the mountains blankly
People who are tired from life
Come gather here, we gon’ rock it kill it
That’s how we do it

Don’t try to make things up, just enjoy life
The world is a bright place
Fall in love,
have fun, I’ll call you later

Whatcha doin’ today
Whatcha doin’ later
Whatcha doin’ on the weekend
Lalala lalala

Whatcha doin’ today
Whatcha doin’ later
Whatcha doin’ on the weekend
Wanna meet up?

Watch a movie, eat good food, meet some guys
I wanna drink a cup of americano and just talk
Let’s go crazy all night, tonight,
everyone together, party tonight

A-ha a-ha ah ah a-ha
A-ha a-ha, Come on, Let’s party yo

A-ha a-ha ah ah a-ha
A-ha a-ha 1, 2, 3 Go

Whatcha doin’ today (4Minute)
Whatcha doin’ later (ha)
whatcha doin’ on the weekend (let’s go)
Lalala lalala

Whatcha doin’ today (4Minute)
Whatcha doin’ later (ha)
whatcha doin’ on the weekend (let’s go)
Wanna meet up?
Whatcha doin’ today

It turns out, I was somewhat correct, although it’s not too much on flirting. 

The lyrics remind me of “Jeon Won Diary” by T-ARA N4 (check out my review of that song if you haven’t). Both songs have a similar idea of relaxing and not getting stressed out. Take life easily. Enjoy it. 

For “Whatcha Doin’ Today?”, the lyrics seem to be about wanting to hang out to relax. These lyrics could be about going on a date, but it might be as simple as heading to a nice coffee shop with friends. While there are some nice details, the meaning itself isn’t too deep at all. Regardless, there is still an important message of enjoying life. Be happy, do what makes you feel that way. 

An important message, but the song itself isn’t rich in meaning. Very slightly above average lyrics.

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Choreography Score: 8/10 – Probably one of the harder choreography I’ve had to grade. For once, I’m unable to confidently pinpoint a score. Overall, I’m going to have a score of 8.

Before I get any further, I’ll like to point out the disgusting parts of the dance: the butt-shaking parts. For the love of K-Pop, it’s one thing to have a blatant sexual orientated part, but it’s another to make it extremely awkward and out of place. 4Minute’s “Whatcha Doin’ Today?” manages to hit all of those points; the butt-shaking at the introduction and bridge were beyond awkward. I will agree it was synced, but the execution and positioning were very, very horrendous. On the bright side, those were the only two parts including butt-shakes. 

Another criticism is the use of backup dancers in specific parts. For example, in the chorus and post-chorus, there were way too many dancers. 4Minute themselves would’ve sufficed. 

In terms of what was excellent, the choreography as a whole was well synced. Every movement was well connected to the music, whether it was in moving the hips, arms, and such. Also, while there were some mistakes in using backup dancers, there were other times where that was well done. Individual singing parts were supported by backup dancers, such as in the rapping parts and verses. The backups did a fantastic job boosting the choreography’s style during those moments. 

In the end, a completely solid choreography. With lots of syncing and unique maneuvers, it remains a solid dance. The only issue is with the backup dancers at certain times and the erroneously executed butt-shaking parts. 

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Overall Score: 8/10 (7.5/10 raw score) – The song comes out with an 8/10 or 7.5/10, depending on how detailed you would like to be. 

I believe this song is still worth listening to, despite specific parts being lacking. It’s quite catchy and the rapping and verses completely compensate for the weaker choruses and bridge. The rapping is personally my reason for why I still return to this song. In terms of the choreography, it still remains well synced, even with the poorer executed parts. 

4Minute is a “poppier” styled group, with lots of focus on remaining catchy. Nevertheless, they have decent vocals and solid dancing skills. Some other notable songs by them are “What’s Your Name?” and “Is It Poppin’?”, both of which could perhaps end up being reviewed in the future. 

As I always do for the end of my reviews, thank you very much for reading this. I genuinely appreciate your time. Hopefully your own opinions are triggered; the world would be worthless if everyone agreed with each other. Check out the song/dance for yourself. Anyways, thank you very much for reading. Another thing is I would like to directly thank the person who requested this song. You know who you are and I have to say, thanks for recommending this and I hope you love it as much as you love Gayoon. For anyone else who would want to send a request, feel free to. Send me songs you think I would love, but don’t forget to also recommend songs that would make me rip out my hair.

For this review, it personally took a while (2 hours or more?). Strangely, reviews have been taking longer. Perhaps it’s due to more thoughts, or maybe I’m not able to articulate myself as quickly.

Upcoming reviews will be either Nasty Nasty’s “Knock” or Ladies’ Code’s “I’m Fine Thank You”. I still need more time to analyze “Knock”, visually and…audio-wise? Can’t think of the word right now. “Knock” seems pretty interesting, though. Once again, another sexy concept that’s quite similar to Trouble Maker in a way, but obviously still different. I’m leaning towards reviewing “I’m Fine Thank You” even though that will be emotionally harder. 

I also just remembered, I will be (hopefully) making another show review in the future. Read my review of “Jessica & Krystal” if you haven’t yet. 4Minute’s member, Hyuna, has a reality show. Similar to J&K, it shows the behind-the-scenes of her life. “Hyuna’s Free Month” is the title. I’ll still have to keep watching before I get a sound opinion, but we’ll see what happens.

Anyhow, thank you once again. Stick around for more. “I wanna drink a cup of americano and just talk” with you, so keep checking back for more reviews.