RED VELVET -- ROOKIE
2. Little Little
3. Happily Ever After
4. Talk To Me
5. Body Talk
6. Last Love
One of the more successful girl groups, Red Velvet has released hit after hit. They've now returned with new mini-album, 'Rookie.' The MV for this song hit a million views in half a day, so it's safe to say that this new release was highly anticipated. This album has six fresh tracks, including the title track "Rookie" and Wendy's solo ballad "Last Love."
As I said, "Rookie" is their title track, and while I don't think it's weak, it's not exactly amazing. It's got a rather frantic feel to it, and blasting horns and synths are the main drivers musically. There are some parts of it that are really catchy, but overall it's not as good as some of their previous hits. On repeated listens it begins to annoy, which is a really bad trait for something that will be the main song during their promotional cycle.
Like usual, I find the other songs on the album to be better than the title track. "Little Little" is just such a song. Very much owing to some of the better R&B tracks they've done in the past, the vocals and the steady beat are all on point. The harmony in the chorus is to die for, and the effect is altogether sweet and smooth. It's definitely easy to listen to, and I'm not entirely sure I wouldn't have dropped this as the lead single.
"Happily Ever After" picks it up and runs with the beat. This is a nice pick-me-up after the downtempo "Little Little." This is where Red Velvet really shines, making this tune equal parts sweet and awesome. This is the club-banger to beat on this EP and has some cute bridges and the chorus is belted to an absolutely spastic synth. Is it noisy? Yes. Is it a good song? Enthusiastic yes.
"Talk To Me" has a very weird intro, with some backmasking (which shows up at the end too), but I like it. It's sort of got a modern retro vibe (think early 2000's) and is cute and sweet. Some of these girls really know how to inject coolness into a song, and this track is no exception. It's not only cool but also a cooldown, bringing you down from the highs and high energy of "Happily Ever After."
"Body Talk" is close to one of those low-key, mid-tempo dance tracks that have become almost a standard part of the pop repertoire. But there are some key differences with this song, and most of it comes down to superior vocals and some nice touches that buck the trend. The chorus with all the girls tends to really kick this into gear, and genius bridges help this song bring the awesome.
"Last Love" is part of that ballad trend that I am so not a fan of: the massive, loud production that requires the singer to scream to be heard at the end. It starts out nicely enough, tender and romantic. There's a reason Wendy is highlighted as the main vocalist, and this song is Exhibit A. But, as I said, I'm not a fan of the style, and it degenerates near the end. The only thing that saves it is the fact that Wendy is equal to the task. She can summon the billowy vocals required to sing this type of tune.
What can I say, but this is an extremely tight set of songs. I may not like the ballad as much, but I can still recognize talent when I hear it. They're not afraid to mix it up and do a little experimentation, with good results. If you're a fan, definitely give this disc a spin.
I thought "Russian Roulette" was trippy, but S.M. has just shown me that I ain't seen nothing yet.
The scene is one of weirdness from beginning to end, and the main storyline appears to be a k-pop wonderland that the girls stumble into, specifically through a special wardrobe (ala Narnia). It's a colorful cornucopia of brightly hued props and backgrounds, complete with a friendly flower monster, a UFO, and scenes casting them as marionettes.
The dresses are all, in a word, cute. Some are reminiscent of Disney's production of 'Alice in Wonderland,' but the dresses aren't always blue. The girls are sometimes clad in red, white, orange, and stripes as well, just adding to the color craziness. Not to mention the costume changes. I count at least four.
The dancing is not what I'm used from Red Velvet. They seem to be using a low-key approach, using the visuals mostly to push the video. That's not a bad thing, but the dancing suffers a tiny bit as a result. It might be for that reason that we don't see a whole lot of it.
This MV is a clear evolution from MVs like "Dumb Dumb" and "One of These Nights." Some of the imagery and effects draw from those two videos, but the fact that everything's used in a new way just serves to remind us that it is indeed Red Velvet. These girls know how to put on a show, and remind us that they are rookies no longer.