Album Review: Red Velvet – The Perfect Red Velvet

Release Date: January 29, 2018

Tracklist:

  1. Bad Boy
  2. All Right
  3. Time to Love

Total Runtime: 00:10:51

Recommended for: Red Velvet fans; R&B fans (especially those who enjoy the nostalgic late ’90s and early ’00s vibe; those who enjoy songs with trap/hip-hop elements to them

NOT Recommended for: Those who do not like slow and sensual songs; people who like any other genre but R&B

Red Velvet enjoyed a very successful 2017, starting it with the daring but polarizing ‘Rookie’ and finishing the year with their most mature track ‘Peek-A-Boo’. Throughout they year, the showcased impressive musical growth and topped it all off with their second full album Perfect Velvet. They have now come back again with their first repackage album, The Perfect Red Velvet. With a girl crush concept, the title track ‘Bad Boy’ promises to be Red Velvet’s most mature track to date.


Track Review

  • ‘Bad Boy’

Red Velvet has been marketed to follow two main concepts: a Red one that is quirky, bold and daring (think ‘Dumb Dumb’ or ‘Rookie’) and a Velvet one that is soft, mature or even sultry (think of ‘One of These Nights’ or ‘Be Natural’). ‘Bad Boy’ falls into the latter category although it is considerably more mature than their previous titles.

The first few seconds are accompanied by a piano sound, which is soon undercut by a heavy trap bass. However, this does not mean that the song has an 808 beat as is expected of most modern hip-hop based tracks. Instead, the song gets comfortable in a sultry but soft R&B instrumental that is quite reminiscent of R&B hits from the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Consequently, the instrumental is very nostalgic but is aided by a modern hip-hop/trap beat to prevent it from feeling dated. For those who are used to Red Velvet’s quirkier songs, ‘Bad Boy’ may be a disappointment as there is no beat drop nor is there any standout part in the instrumental as it remains monotonous throughout.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Anyone familiar with R&B hits from the ’90s knows that they seldom relied on beat drops. The R&B genre is first and foremost a genre that appreciates vocal ability over a hardhitting background track. Thankfully, Red Velvet delivers in this aspect. ‘Bad Boy’ features the best vocal performance by the group since ‘Dumb Dumb’. Each member gets a standout moment though the verses are not as easily discernible as they were in ‘Peek-A-Boo’. This is not really a problem as the harmonies in the pre-chorus and chorus more than make up for it. Red Velvet has always been a capable vocal group but their tracks rarely showcase this. Lucky for them, ‘Bad Boy’ breaks this unfortunate streak.

Aesthetically, the music video is the group’s best (which is saying a lot). Their previous tracks have always had the signature Red Velvet quirkiness that is sometimes distracting to the viewer. ‘Bad Boy’ minimizes this for a more mature and sultry aura. The girls can be seen wearing sexier and more revealing clothing, which is a stark contrast to their younger Red side. The video is simple and well made, relying on the members’ visuals to carry it forth. Along with this, an array of colors is used as the video switches from brightly colored scenes to darker ones quite seamlessly and without losing the overall theme. There are considerably more snippets of the choreography which adds a positive element to the viewing experience. This is, without a doubt, Red Velvet’s most aesthetically pleasing music video and the one that holds the most replay value.

‘Bad Boy’ may not feel like a Red Velvet track at first, but it showcases the group’s ability to switch between completely different sounds and do each of them well. It is  classy and successfully combines a girl crush concept with a sexy aura.

  • ‘All Right’

‘All Right’ is more upbeat than the title track, ‘Bad Boy’. It follows the theme of late 20th century pop accompanied with an ’80s synthpop feel. The synths are what make the song catchy, especially when the girls sing ‘All Right’ during the chorus. The hook itself is not too overpowering and allows the rest of the chorus to stand out. For this kind of track, one would not expect a rap break but Yeri and Irene do deliver an enjoyable experience, despite not being particularly skilled rappers. The vocals are not as good here as they are in other Red Velvet synthpop-inspired tracks (see ‘Look’), although this does not mean that the song is not enjoyable. The most important thing about the track is the lyricism, which gives comfort to the listener and encourages one to cherish time with his/her loved ones.

  • ‘Time to Love’

‘Time to Love’ is yet another Red Velvet ballad, but this one is heavily rooted in the R&B genre. It is a sweet song but it does not offer outstanding vocal harmonies until the song is almost at an end, which is truly unfortunate. If one was to compare it to the rest of the tracks in the repackage album, it does not stand out. For an R&B ballad, one is better off listening to ‘Perfect 10’ which illustrates Red Velvet’s vocal capabilities much better. However, those who like slower songs will absolutely love this laid-back  jam.

ladyandsansa
✿ OH!Press' resident Red Velvet stan ✿

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