Red Velvet is without a doubt one of the groups a newbie to K-pop would be quick to stumble upon, despite the quintet not having as much success in the West as some of their peers. However, it’s no secret why they are so treasured by those who give them the time of day: they release iconic, feel-good anthem after feel-good anthem, with each concept being somewhat more bizarre than the last. And that’s not in an attention-seeking way. Take the single “Psycho” for example. It might be a song about feeling deliriously in love, but it has a sense of maturity and elegance as opposed to presenting a carefree experience.
The ReVe Festival Album featuring “Psycho” was the last single that the group released, and with this being over a year ago, one may walk into the group’s latest offering, Queendom with great expectations. Unfortunately, Red Velvet’s sixth mini-album falls somewhat flat. What has really made the group stand out from the crowd is their vocal excellence and mixtures of genres, but the title track does neither, presenting the listener with a straightforward dance-pop track. This is not to say that the song isn’t catchy; it is an ear-worm, and not a bad one either, as no part of the song seems overly repetitive.
Pose kicks off with a compelling marching drum beat and has a quirky combination of singing and rap that sounds like a poor man’s “Red Flavour”. Much like the album’s title track, nothing about it makes it stand out from the crowd; the group do not shine on the song. The song is followed by “Knock on Wood” and “Better Be” which are some of the highlights on Queendom. They may be relatively tepid songs, but the soft vocal harmonies and charismatic delivery are a delight. The sharp synth sounds on “Knock on Wood” add an additional layer to what has so far been a very flat offering, but still, neither song is to the standard that listeners will know Red Velvet are capable of delivering.
“Pushin’ N Pullin'” takes a modern piano-chord progression sound that would not be amiss on a Heize record. It is a simplistic track that mirrors some of the current K-Pop trends rather than something that can help pave the way for new stylistic changes in the future. It also provides the perfect segway to the final song, “Hello, Sunset”, a slow, laid-back song about long-lasting relationships and greeting the start of an end. With the group recently celebrating their seven-year anniversary, it is an apt ending to the record, but the listener is still left wanting more.