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Posted by eric_r_wirsing AKP STAFF Friday, March 18, 2016

[Album & MV Review] Red Velvet - 'The Velvet'

Red Velvet


RED VELVET - 'THE VELVET'


Track List:

1. One Of These Nights *Title
2. Cool Hot Sweet Love
3. Light Me Up
4. First Time
5. Rose Scent Breeze
6. One Of These Nights (De-Capo Ver.)
7. One Of These Nights (Joe Millionaire Ver.)
8. One Of These Nights (Piano Ver.)



Last year Red Velvet released 'Ice Cream Cake' as a debut, and later 'The Red' in keeping with their concept of light, lively, and fun-loving. Now they've released their newest EP, 'The Velvet,' which showcases their softer and more feminine image or the flip side of the 'red' in their name.

The album kicks off with the title track "One of These Nights." Leading off with a syrupy ballad, the song picks up about midway through, getting some techno-inspired beats, and some gentle tinkling sounds. It never deviates from its basic melody and the lyrics have some space-age imagery, with lines such as,"To find that sad star is so distant again" and, "Far away past the galaxy." The point of the song is that they miss their ex, and they want to meet again on 'one of these nights.'



"Cool Hot Sweet Love" starts with a doppler synth, evolving into a smooth R&B piece. I like the arrangement in the beginning as they keep the doppler for a bit before it evolves into something spacier and fuzzier. This basic melody doesn't even abate during the chorus, where the croons become long and luxurious. They use interesting sensory details here: "cold like a crescent moon," and "the tiny bit of coffee spilled on the ice cream/Took me captive instantly." The lyrics reflect how they feels when they're in love.

"Light Me Up" has some basic R&B conventions, but they use some interesting arrangements and time changes to shake things up. After a couple of listens I think they have produced a genre-defying tune. It's got some Destiny's Child in the harmonies and some electronica in the synth. There's even a harp in here! Of course the vocal work is outstanding, above and beyond with powerhouse Wendy. The meaning is clear: they're asking their man for a bedroom encounter.


Not a video.

"First Time" is a drifting and mellifluous ballad, heartfelt and pensive. I like the fact that the girls get equal time and they're each able to really shine. I think the high point are the silky harmonies and each girl has an incredibly distinct pitch. Too often the over dubs make it really difficult to tell the members apart, and that was not the case here. By the end, they're almost pleading, and want to know if this is his first time falling in love, like them.

"Rose Scent Breeze" starts as a very lonely tune, with just a piano and a single singer, but eventually is joined by an orchestra and electric guitar, as well as the rest of the band. The lyrics themselves are evocative:


"A rose scent flows in the breeze
And my sorrowful sigh scatters in the air
I can't hold on to them
I can no longer hold on
To you as you move farther away"


The lonely feeling never quite leaves you as the song progresses, which is appropriate since the girls are crying over a breakup. It ends in grandeur, like many ballads, with the girls singing their hearts out.



In the grand tradition of "filler" come the various remixes of "One Of These Nights." The "De-Capo Version" has a bit more synth, adds more percussion, and makes use of effects more. The "Joe Millionaire Version" has even more synth, and increases the tempo. The "Piano Version" strips out everything except the piano. They all have pretty much the same vocal arrangement as the original.

If they were trying for softer then they have succeeded in spades. Whether that's good or bad is ultimately up to the fans and the charts, but to my ears this album had a fairly nice start. Unfortunately, it had a weak finish with the remixes and the two ballads in a row. It's not that they're bad songs necessarily, but they slow things down far too much to really be an effective endpoint. Other than that, it's a fine album. The songwriters did their jobs extremely well, crafting some imaginative and unique lyrics. Personally, I can't wait til their next comeback.

MV REVIEW



Watch the girls of Red Velvet as Disney Princesses in their new MV "One Of These Nights."

Yes, in some ways the song feels like one of those ballads that Disney sets up for their heroines to sing. But here, the girls are the heroines of those fabled films: Yeri is Sleeping Beauty, Irene is Snow White (with the mirror), and Wendy is Ariel, to name a few that stood out. If the teaser can be believed, this is no accident. The girls all exist in surreal, seemingly impossible environments.

There's no dancing, and largely no plot, but there doesn't need to be. There's likely no deep symbolism, either, but just an attempt to make a video that will stand out and be memorable. And this one does the job admirably.



What makes one think of the Disney Princesses are not only some of their environments, but the hairstyles, colors, and clothing. Wendy's dress fair emulates Ariel's lower half, and the long gown and blonde hair on Yeri is definitely reminiscent of Uncle Walt's somnolent star.

I love the CGI effects and the dreamlike environments. This is also a video that takes great advantage of High Definition. Many things and even the girls are often thrown into sharp relief and then obscured sometimes, in keeping with the dreamlike environments. It's beautiful and mystifying all at the same time, but it's never boring, and outright genius.


Score



MV Relevance........7
MV Production.......9
MV Concept..........9
Album Production..8
Album Concept.....9
Tracklisting..........7

OVERALL............8.2

  1. Red Velvet
  2. THE-VELVET
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