The latest debut in the K-pop industry is the four member girl group 4TEN. Hailing from Jungle Entertainment, the girls are label mates with hip-hop group M.I.B. and are the first girl group to debut under the company. The group’s roles are evenly split with two rappers — Tem and Eujin — and two vocalists — Hye-ji and Hye-jin.

Not only did the members participate in writing the lyrics, but the music video for “Tornado” was also filmed in Los Angeles — a far destination for rookies. But did their travel pay off?

I’d have to say no: filming in LA was a waste. 4Ten did not utilize the location well and the background scenery is so forgettable that the group squandered money. They should have either filmed in more interesting locations or just stayed home in South Korea.

The MV also had an identity crisis, not knowing whether it wanted to tell a story or not. The first half tried to establish a story line with member Hye-jin and her boyfriend breaking up. Yet, this was abandoned in favor of the girls just hanging out. It seems the MV wanted to show the girls spending time with each other and supporting Hye-jin in moving on from her break-up, but the execution was poorly done. Had the music video picked one or the other, it would have been much more coherent.

4Ten also needs to work on their dance skills. Yes, they come from a mostly non-idol company, but that doesn’t excuse their bad dancing. They are debuting as K-pop idols and a huge part of being an idol is dancing. If they didn’t want to dance then the company should have chosen a different concept. But their debut seems to be aimed at the general K-pop audience, and thus, the girls need to deliver.

20140827_seoulbeats_4ten_temThe only part of the MV that was truly interesting was Tem’s raps. She shined in her solo scenes, seeming to truly enjoy what she was doing, and was the only member who appeared comfortable instead of awkward in their solo scenes. Tem has natural charisma and if she is able to bring that to a live stage (along with good rapping), she has potential to go far.

“Tornado” as a song fares better than looking at just the music video. The music is cheerful and dance-able, albeit a tad generic. In fact, “Tornado” sounds like an American pop song that could have been on the radio a year or two ago.

At times, the music drowns out the members’ voices, especially during the chorus. Because of this, I can’t tell whether their vocals are good or not. However, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because their song does stand out among K-pop’s current releases and because Tem completely sells her raps.

“Tornado” is not a strong debut for 4Ten but it does show that the girls have potential. That they participated in writing lyrics shows that they are interested in being more than just singing idols and Tem’s confident rapping shows that there is talent in the group.

How Jungle Entertainment handles 4Ten going forward will determine whether this group will find success or fade into oblivion. Hopefully 4Ten will improve their dancing and show off their vocals in their next comeback. Until then, “Tornado” is a good enough song to pass the time until another K-pop release catches your ear.

MV Score: 1/5
Song Score: 2.5/5

Enjoy 4Ten’s debut? Which member stood out to you?

(Jungle Entertainment, Official Facebook)