Look I have been caping for this group, so I had a lot of expectations musically. By that, I didn’t want to be here saying they are a decent group and then hear their first album and be mad about it. To be honest, I was a little worried.
Thankfully those worries were unfounded and Red Velvet pretty much exceeded my expectations musically.
Ice Cream Cake
So I was right in my exertion that SM once again fucked up the chorus. Musically that entire sections takes the song into a different genre for no reason…More than likely they sprinkled the trap in there just to make it sound more SM…which they’ve done before and pretty much all resulted in being messy in some way. The music actually reminds me of an ice cream truck. Like it is simplistic childlike and kind of like a nursery rhyme. Couple that with the lalalas and some of the lyrical content and you have a big ole allegory…for ice cream trucks. Listen to the demos and that is what is said is said “vroom vroom vroom in an ice cream truck. Rolling through your neghborhood, something about the flavor good…I don’t know). I got five dollars in the pot that SM had one of their writers baisclaly write the lyrics in Korean and make them fit. Ice Cream Cake doesn’t fit when you hear: I scream, you scream, gimme that gimme that ice cream.” Nobody thinks about an ice cream cake when they hear that. They just think of Ice Cream by itself. They should have just went with the ice cream truck and left it at that…but whatever. The song is doing well.
Automatic is the pallet cleanser of Ice Cream Cake. The album is very sugary and pop, where has Automatic goes a different route looking to be a mellow R&B track. I love everything about it. As a single and as an album track. The only problem is that Automatic stands alone. To play off their supposed dual concept, I wish they would have added more tracks for Automatic to assist off of. I don’t know…The song is a fave. It lacks intensity and I end up just meandering with it, which I like doing. ICC is the intense track, this cools us down.
Something Kinda Crazy
If there was an option for another lead single, Something Kinda Crazy would probably be first choice. It’s very sweet and cute. It doesn’t have the vivacious energy that ICC has, but it still moves really well. I think the only thing I really didn’t care for was the ugly loud whispering Wendy was doing. Also the lyrics are really literal in a fictional situation which is hard to take seriously. Of course it is a metaphor, but still…eh…too literal for my taste. Other than that…nothing really to rant about. It maintains the quality the album has so far created, which is a plus.
The sound of an SNSD song with the lyrical quality of an f(x) song. It’s nice for what it is. The song pushes through, and I appreciate it enough. I do think it really sticks out in a good and bad way. The album
Take It Slow
Take it Slow is the cheesy pop song you hear in a teen movie, specifically at the scene where they are at a school dance. Which fits perfectly with the song’s lyrics. The song is about a younger fellow trying to run game on the ladies of Red Velvet. Considering Yeri is only 15, that means some 14 year old trying his hardest to impress her with the allowance he saved up. It’s cute. I can’t really find anything wrong with the song, but I don’t want to just sit and give endless praise. It works for what it is.
I don’t hate this as the album finisher. It reminds me of very late 90’s early 2000’s pop. I really like that. I appreciate that Take It Slow really set it up for this song. Candy is a really sweet song, and works nicely as a cute pop ballad. The bridge and final chorus was lovely. Gave the song some life that brought the song out of it’s possible monotony. I do think the chorus is a little eh…I like my chorus to be as simple as possible and leave the complexity to the verses. Outside of that, I was really into it.
Ice Cream Cake is surprising because there really isn’t a surprise. ICC is possibly their shock factor song, but outside of that…the rest of the album is a no calorie sweet treat. I waited for them to do something…SM like. SM can’t just make an uncomplicated album…they can’t…but I was wrong. They can and they did.
(This is ignoring their solo and sub-unit projects)
If I could actually compare them to someone else it would be AoA musically. Both groups are staying in their lanes, and make cute songs. When you do that you are bound to hit the mark.
This is not to say that the album is without fault. If you were looking for a banger and a half, you are looking at the wrong album. To be honest, I want to see Red Velvet take on something edgier. They float by on this entire album, and that works for them, especially with the youngest Yeri added to the team. Eventually that frill and floatiness will get old (see SNSD), and they will have to grow up. But for now, Ice Cream Cake is a solid start for them. Also some of the lyrical content isn’t exactly the best
I didn’t speak about it in the song discussion, but Ice Cream Cake…well…I doubt that the song was meant to come off as lewd, but it does at some points, and for people that see the worst, they will see that. Also despite being one of the best songs on the album, Something Kinda Crazy is really too literal in it’s meaning for me. The whole star thing is just…I had the same problem with Exo’s Moonlight. And the chorus to Candy just feels like an extra verse to me.
(Sidenote: Keep in mind that these are all translated so somethings tend to get lost in translation)
With all the little nitpicky things in mind, the album is till rather solid. Just listening to it since it came out, and I have yet to really dislike any of the songs. Of course I prefer some more than the others, but this album isn’t anything less than a pop confection.
Ice Cream Cake isn’t some sign of the new pop order, nor does it come off that way. It’s catchy, it’s fun, it’s colorful. It’s the right start for this group in my opinion. There are no major expectations, and Red Velvet can grow from here. I do hope their next album takes what happened in Automatic and makes that the next sound.