These quirky girls may be considered a junior group within SM Entertainment, but Red Velvet have proved to be an unstoppable force in the industry, pumping out catchy pop numbers again and again. Now, continuing from their ‘Red’ persona in Russian Roulette, they are back with the highly anticipate album, Rookie.
Even before the official release, fans were eating up the hype with the bright kooky teasers similar to their massive hit, Dumb Dumb and with the new music video reaching a million views in half a day, it is no surprise that this was highly anticipated among domestic and international fans.
1 . Rookie
“I try to hide it but
You’re already the star of my heart.“
There is no denial that the title track is a definite ear-worm. After just one listen, you may be humming “Rookie rookie! My super rookie rookie rookie” for hours on end. Red Velvet titles always have one sequence that will do this, from the “Lalalalala” of Ice Cream Cake to the “Heart B-B-Beat” of Russian Roulette.
As for it being dubbed ‘the Second Dumb Dumb‘, there is a little uncertainty. It seems to rely more on the catchy cheerleader style chant with Seulgi & Wendy’s soulful vocals fleshing it out musically. Yes, it is very infectious and has a similar funky sound but when put side to side with their other hits, it doesn’t make as big of an impact.
2 . Little Little
“I’m avoiding you
In case you hear my pounding heart
But I can’t hide that I miss you“
As always, the album is mixed with their ‘Red’ side and their slower ‘Velvet’ side. Little Little is just another addition to the R’n’B side that puts Red Velvet ahead of the rest. Musically, it’s laid back and relaxed which is perfect for the girls to showcase their vocal prowess. The chorus plays lead role, with a modern Motown twist while highlighting the light harmonies between all the members.
3 . Happily Ever After
“Sneakers instead of glass slippers
Bandage on my hand from the spinning wheel
Things like jewels don’t go with me.“
The ‘Red’ side is in full force in Happily Ever After, playfully describing a crush with classic fairy tale reference. Musically, it is a mish-mash of synth and tinkling percussion but with the high-energy vocals, it is the perfect example of Red Velvet’s image. Don’t let the cute instrumental fool you. If there was a second choice for the album’s title track, this would definitely be the front runner.
4 . Talk to Me
“A pink warmth wraps around me
I can’t take my eyes off this amazing fantasy.“
Right off the bat, you can immediately tell there is one artist in mind that possibly influenced this track. Just the chorus’ instrumental alone is reminiscent to Ariana Grande’s track, The Way. However, this isn’t an Ariana carbon copy. Red Velvet still bring their own flavor to the track with the use of reversed harmonies, soulful ad-libs from Wendy and a cute spoken breakdown from Yeri.
5 . Body Talk
“Tying up the silence with forgettable stories
Between the words of the break up that you’ve prepared
I’m busy running away“
From the title alone, you may be expecting something similar to Automatic but you may be mistaken. In first listen, it is an alternative to the ‘Velvet’ side with rumbling bass and electronic elements that build up to a nocturnal production that seems sensual instead of the sadness of an inevitable break-up that a man tries to hide away. It is certainly one of the best in Red Velvet’s R’n’B discography.
6 . Last Love
“Don’t you miss me? Did you already forget everything?
I still can’t acknowledge the reason we had to break up“
For the last track, main vocalist Wendy takes center stage. She has already shown a wide spectrum through Dramas and her SM Station duet with Eric Nam. However, with Last Love, she goes back to a classic K-Pop ballad; a style she began with through Because I Love You from the show, Mimi.
Musically, it is a general ballad that hits in well with SM’s collection or even a West End musical. It gradually picks up to the final chorus in a traditional high-note extravaganza, which can be very predictable. However, out of the leading vocalists within the entire company, Wendy is the perfect choice for this arrangement. Her voice brings a vulnerability that brings to life a girl who can’t cope with the loss of love.
Overall, Rookie is a strong album to add to the plethora of hits from the quintet. Red Velvet takes the R’n’B genre and flips it on its head to suit their style as a group to create songs that could easily be promotional titles on their own. Even if you prefer high-energy or infectious tunes, don’t be afraid to take a ‘looky’ into Rookie.
What do you think of Red Velvet’s new colorful album? Let us know in the Comments Section below.
The title may have fallen a little short due to the high expectation of "Dumb Dumb" but don't let this put you off checking the rest of the album or suspect the the B-Side will be constant slow jams or harmonious ballads.
The album as a whole showcases why Red Velvet are a force to be reckoned with in the slew of girl groups. With each album, their image is turned on its head again and again to showcase their talents and with tracks such as "Happily Ever After" and "Body Talk", this could certainly qualify for one of the top albums this year.
Happily Ever After
Talk To Me