The Red Album Review

Red Velvet recently released their first full album, The Red! It’s a great album, so you should give it a listen before I go in depth on the tracks:

What is really great about the album is that the songs all have a coherent theme. The theme of The Red is automation and repetition. This fits very well with the concept of the comeback as a whole. The teaser videos released on the Red Velvet instagram page featured the members doing things repeatedly in a robot fashion. The music video for the title track “Dumb Dumb” also reflects this. This brings us to the first track on the album, “Dumb Dumb.”

“Dumb Dumb” The song seems very jarring in a very SM way: when you first listen to the song, you’re not sure where it will go. The constant repeating of “dumb dumb” also seems annoying at first. However, once you take the time to listen to it again, the song sounds to make more sense and the “dumb dumbs” actually get very catchy. One thing to note is that the production quality of this song is very impressive. The mixing makes sure each element of the track is highlighted in its own way, and the master doesn’t squash the track like their previous single “Ice Cream Cake.” This is by far one of the best songs on the album, and the perfect choice for the title track. 5/5

“Dumb Dumb” Teaser Image

“Huff n Puff” This song is a good representation of the concept: the beginning of the song sounds factory-like to me. The chorus brings it up another level, and I particularly like the harmonies in the second and third lines of the chorus. I also love Wendy’s lines in the bridge. The lyrics are good as well, depicting the story of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. While it is not my absolute favorite, it is still a very good song and worth listening to. 4.5/5

“Campfire” The concept is a tad bit lost in this song, as the repetition motif is nowhere to be found. I really enjoy the electric guitar in this song. The chorus is not the most grabbing to me, but I love the melodic motif of the prechorus. The lyrics are alright, describing two lovers by a campfire, but they are a little generic. This was far from my favorite song on the album, but it is still a decent song. 3.5/5

“Red Dress” I love this song. This is one of my favorites. The song starts out very energetic, but I wasn’t completely sold until the chorus. Once it hits the chorus, it turns into a totally different vibe, and the change is what sold me on this song. The concept is picked back up again with the repetition of “red dress” in the chorus and “get up” in the prechorus. The vocals are also very excellently arranged in this song. 4.7/5

“Oh Boy” This song is my absolute favorite song on the album by far. Everything about it is perfect in my eyes. The verses are filled with powerful vocals, which draws you into the song. The prechorus is perfectly set up to bring about the chorus, and the chorus is just so indescribably cool. Finally, the postchorus adds the repetition concept (repeating “oh boy”) without it getting boring. They do this by adding vocal parts in between the “oh boys.” This song is pure ear candy. 5/5

The Red Teaser Image

“Lady’s Room” I’ll be honest, this is one of my least favorite songs on the album, but even it is decent. Maybe it was following “Oh Boy” that was it’s downfall. I do like the prechorus and how it sets up the chorus. It’s a little cutesy for me, and sounds like a Girls’ Generation song (and let’s be real, it probably was one at some point). I also like the second verse and how it deviates from the first verse. I am not a fan of the spoken words in the bridge. Overall, it was just not my style of song, but it is still pretty decent. 3/5

“Time Slip” Of course, this song is very reminiscent of Iggy Azalea’s song “Fancy,” with a very similar synth sound to it. However, there are differences to it. Particularly, the chorus deviates from the hard hip-hop song to something a little more funky. I also really like how the prechorus echoes the lullaby-esque repetition of the rest of the album. It is a pretty decent song, although not my favorite on the album. 3.5/5

“Don’t U Wait No More” I really like this song. It fits the concept of the rest of the album very nice. I love the video game synth sounds throughout the instrumental. Another thing that I love about this song is the vocal arranging. The harmonies and vocal doublings manage to nicely make the repetition of the song (which I normally don’t like) bearable and actually interesting. This is something that most of the songs on the album do, but “Don’t U Wait No More” does it very well with the secondary vocals and ad libs. Awesome song. 4.6/5

“Day 1” This song is not normally my style, but it really resonated with me. It is one of those songs that would work really well as an anime opening song. I particularly love the chorus and how the “Kiss kiss kiss” and “Love love love” are incorporated. I also really thought the vocals from the non-vocal members (aka Irene and Yeri) were very well done in this song. It’s another really enjoyable song. 4.2/5

“Cool World” This is one of my favorite songs on the album, and it’s a perfect ending to an amazing album. It’s very uplifting, and I can’t help but smile as I listen to it. I like the prechorus when Wendy sings after the first verse more than the chorus, which is unexpected. The chorus is good too, and I love the harmonies when they sing “cool world” at the very last line. The bridge is also very well done, as it subdues the energy of the already laid back song, then slowly brings it back to the original energy with Wendy’s high note. I love this song a lot because of how well it evokes happiness and optimism in me. It makes me feel nostalgic for some reason. The only thing I don’t like in this song is the video game sounds at the very end. I felt like it was somewhat cheap and almost a cop-out ending. Nevertheless, it’s a great song. 4.8/5

The members of Red Velvet (Left to right: Irene, Joy, Wendy, Yeri, Seulgi)

And there you have it! Overall, it’s a great album with a consistent concept, which is pretty rare in K-pop. I’m glad that SM is holding up Red Velvet to the same standard that they hold with f(x) and SHINee. I think Red Velvet has a great future ahead of them.

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