Red Velvet have been on a meandering path to a single form. In the past the group took to splitting their image between bright and vibrant pop and more demure mid tempo R&B retreads. This has since stop for their last three projects, where they have come back more affirmatively on the bright pop side. Russian Roulette was a standard attempt at the typical cute group look. Rookie was a fun track that was betrayed by SM’s attempts to maintain a weird idea of Red Velvet. With Red Flavor, we see the group return to a modified version of 2014
2017-2014=3 years. Well for Red Velvet its been 2 years and some change, but right now I am just gonna go with three years. Anyway, Red Velvet has been around since 2014, almost three years, which for some doesn’t seem like a long time. Still we have moved through several albums now, which means several comebacks…and…a lot of them feel the same.
This isn’t going to be a long or thorough review.
Rookie sounds like Red Velvet. That’s about as much as I can say really.
(Of Course there is more)
The song fits Red Velvet’s brand of cute offbeat pop while not coming off weird or strange. It’s a very average K pop song, and the group handles it well. I do like the beat and it swings hard. It’s funky and fun. It’s on par with what the group has released,lining up with Dumb Dumb in several ways.
Overall I can’t think of a reason to not like this song, after so long. The video is strange, but to be honest fits the group in their strange ways. The video reminds me of Happiness with the random and very noticable sets. However here the group leans heavily on the fourth wall with the opening and ending scenes indicating that is not their reality. Once again…something the group has done before.
Rookie is Red Velvet in the most comfortable, and frankly too familiar setting. While it doesn’t excel like Dumb Dumb or is as catchy as Russian Roulette, it is a passable track.
We are back with part 2 of a 4 part series. Once again 2016 has been a surprising meh year, but I found some gems that I did indeed like. Sadly once again, I did not get the full spectrum of music in 2016, so this list is heavy on established idols. Hopefully next year this will be remedied.
- The order is non-existent except for the fact that the top 10 were played more throughout the year for me.
- The list is mostly women…hopefully next year I won’t think boygroups are releasing crap.
- A special link will be available for this list in the upcoming future
If you want to read the last entries, click here!
Red Velvet return with a new EP titled Russian Roulette, and led by the promptly titled song as well. Having started the year with the somber ballad One Of Those Nights, the group have returned to the fun brighter side of them with this comeback.
I like the song. It’s catchy enough, and fun. On to the important stuff though.
Red Velvet make a return with a new ep titled The Velvet and single One Of These Nights (7/7). Ultimately the song finds itself dealing with an issue that Red Velvet are finally addressing.
One Of These Nights brings perspective to the concept of Red Velvet. Red Velvet works as group of duality. With the Red having been established as the fun and lively part (not a single ballad or R&B track in the vein of prior releases on the album), so inevitably it would eventually mean they would have to develop Velvet. One Of These Nights is not like past attempts of Velvet. With Be Natural and Automatic, they felt like simple copies to appease a question that was to be held off until later. Those two songs alone simple give us a look at a complete counter to Red, which did not feel like enough. The focus on singles Ice Cream Cake and Dumb Dumb felt like there was need to explain that.
Essentially One Of These Nights finally answers the question what the other side of Red Velvet is. It stands out mostly for one being a ballad blending the current known traits of Velvet and still applying the same quirks that Red Velvet as a whole bring. The song does not match the fiery of Dumb Dumb or the creepiness of ICC, but it does feel more at home with them than with Automatic and Be Natural. The marriage (albeit forced) between the ballad and R&B settings gives it a life that talks to who Red Velvet are. It has the maturity of the Velvet but has that off-ness of not being just one thing with it’s blend of genres. I appreciate that.
With that said, the song doesn’t completely live to great heights immediately. It’s very standard in performance, relying heavily on the group’s leading voices, with rather lovely harmonies from their two weakest (Who do get moments to stand on their own, but this song doesn’t feel meant for them). The song also is sung like a ballad insisting that it is such, instead of playing to the other genres respective rules. This leads to a nice and movable song who relies on any sort of interest coming from the drop and reveal of hidden elements, then just the entire work. The song could have been done as easily as a ballad (And is as one of the three alternative version on the official album release).
The song doesn’t live up to fun and bright quality of it’s other side, but definitely does a good job at finally bringing traction to the other side of the group, especially when compared to past offerings such as Automatic and Be Natural.
Red Velvet’s comeback has been one of my most anticipated things to talk about simply with how they went about informing us about the visuals. From the pippi longstocking ragdoll images, to the short clips from the video.
The first thing that came to my mind when hearing Dumb Dumb, was Bang Bang. The vocal showoff between two disharmonious voices Jessie J and Ariana Grande, with a nice rap section by Nicki Minaj. The beat kind of reminds me of the song a bit, which is fine, because I liked it. However just like Bang Bang, Dumb Dumb somehow manages to do a lot, without getting a lot done.
Instead of getting me a lot of not necessary vocals that Bang Bang did, Dumb Dumb comes off as fun, energetic, but by the time you get to the end, you realize the song kind of didn’t have a climax or something. This can be good or bad. On the positive side, the song manages to maintain a level of energy throughout, even in the sections that would probably lose people (Well I need to speak for myself). On the negative side, the song manages to build to absolutely nothing. At the end of this song, where are we????
Typically in K Pop songs have a point where they reach the climax. This climax is usually introduced by a rap portion, hit with a bridge, and basically shown with a high note. Dumb Dumb gives us several false starts…starting as early as the middle of the song. And this is just me being picky about nothing, but the song kind of starts and ends a few times. Those rap sections feel like the mark of the end of the song. Case in point, nearing the end of the song, right after Seulgi in the yellow background sings…we have…a minute left. A WHOLE ASS MINUTE….of what? They bring nothing. It’s still fun, and energetic and I like it…but there was nothing to talk about. They repeat sections, have Wendy flutter a few vocals over it, and then have Yeri do another spoken word rap, and the dance.
I was like…where are we going?
My answer: No where.
And yet I loved it. The song is probably not going to be for everyone, because it kind of is a mess…but you guys can depend on me liking it.
Whoever did the imagery for the video needs to be hit in the leg. Like the visuals are cute and good isolated, but none of it comes together to make sense. The factory scene, the car scene, the egg with pink yolk…I don’t understand what these all have to do with each other. What’s worse is that they have a story going on, but instead of just focusing on that, we get all this. The scenes on the colored walls were fun, and the dance seems like it’s going to be lit, so I can’t comjplain too much.
Overall Dumb Dumb feels like a slightly improved upon Bang Bang. Less chaos vocally (albeit rap talent is traded off) more fun, but just like Bang Bang, the song truly goes nowhere. This time I was able to completely enjoy the ride though, not minding a single bit of it.
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.
So…I don’t know how to completely feel about it.
It’s way different than I expected. I honestly thought it would be energetic but still very creepy.
I already hear people screaming f(x) right now.
Alright thoughts have been gathered…so lets make sense of this.
I rewrote and deleted a good ten times because I had a problem with the song, but I couldn’t pinpoint the issue. I don’t…the chorus bothers me. It sounds like a videogame, and the rest of the song doesn’t. That’s pretty much it.
It’s very typical SM now. Do a lot in hopes to sound experimental, but really nothing is going on musically. However, I really do fucks with this song.
In the video, we have a lot going on, but not much comes together all the way. I wish the used their setting more effectively. You are in that Motel 6, that abandoned gas station, and someone’s diner from the 1950’s. Why not do more with that. I think a lot of scenes of them just looking pretty could have been devoted to playing around with their scenes. Why was Joy in that gas station? Where were they going (obviously no where but still it could have been like a little roadtrip and they were traveling to each place as a pit stop).
What the fuck was the cat and bouncing balls?
A lot was going on, but none of it really going anywhere for me. Still they looked pretty…I guess. Also Joy and Seulgi slay. All of them are not bad, but the video pretty much focused on Joy and Seulgi most of the time (which wasn’t a bad idea because they were serving face pretty much all of it). I will say I loved what they did in filming it. It doesn’t feel as glossy as the usual SM video, nor does it have pastels
Overall…I’m not mad at this? I like it despite the chorus (kind of wish SM would bring uniformity when they are not doing an R&B based track), although the chorus is still fun. The video is worth nothing but the confirmation of how pretty these lovely ladies are. Eh…that’s all you really need sometimes.
That is the only car pun I want to happen in this post.
Anyway on the heels of my teaser post that went into depth about the 70’s horror movie vibe I was getting, Red Velvet/SM/Whomever decide that it was only right to fuck with my emotions and validate me in some way.