Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Red Velvet – Red Flavor

Mmmm artificial colors and flavors….


Jessica Doyle: So we lost Sistar, and in return got the promise of more future solo Hyorin, while Bora gets to hang out publicly with her cutie of a boyfriend; meanwhile in comes Red Velvet to fill the summer slot, and if it isn’t as polished as the last time they used the sweets-as-oral-sex metaphor, at least they get to look like themselves instead of being creepily bleached into collective blondness. And while they’re looking like themselves we get a bonus preview of how fantastic Joy would look in a 1940s concept. Seems like a pretty good deal, overall.

Ryo Miyauchi: The production here is a curiosity: the decoration to this mostly percussive track is not a touch of synths as usual but a bubbling of voices and ad libs, including the group’s own. Yet the vocal line doesn’t uncover much newness from it. In fact, they fall to the familiar rap breakdown as an attempt to spice things up. That said, blame the summertime bubbliness, but I excuse it from being good but not great. At least there’s a glimpse of them trying to yield a hit outside of their already-perfected tween-pop style.

Micha Cavaseno: It’s wild in retrospect that right on the heels of me accusing BLACKPINK of ripping off an early Red Velvet single for their latest output, here comes the latest Red Velvet single SHAMELESSLY HIJACKING WONDER GIRLS, SMH. In all seriousness though, “Red Flavor” is playfully absurd with all of the clinking glass percussion, thunderous bombast and that gurgling hook beneath the cheerleader choruses they manage to pull off so well. It’s a fireworks parade that swells, shimmers and booms in all the most appropriate places.

Alfred Soto: It took three listens to make sense of “Red Flavor,” and I suspect the title has something to do with my initial confusion: closer to “57 Flavors,” with whooshes and quiet synth passages I might have heard on an Electrik Red album and plaintive vocals only they’re capable of. A chewy, squishy delight.

Alex Clifton: A delightfully refreshing ready-for-summer single from Red Velvet. It’s fizzy and fun, the sonic equivalent of a strawberry popsicle on a hot day. It might be a bit too vapid at points (I have to listen to it on repeat in order to remember the melody, thus making it less sticky than “Russian Roulette” or “Rookie”), although I view that as a selling point rather than a flaw for a summer song. I wish the production were a bit less scattered–the deep backing vocals that creep in during the chorus act more as a distraction more than a flourish, and it feels less coherent than some earlier singles. Still, there’s a thrill in hearing Wendy get to belt it towards the end that makes me want to run to my local park and play in a fountain. (As a sidenote, please watch the music video if you haven’t already; it’s a surreal yet pleasant vision of summer.)

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: Dazzling, inventive and beautifully aggressive, from the frantic percussion clicks/cuts to the merciless vocal sample chops. It’s been a while since the last time I heard such a dynamic single from SM; it’s good to know they’re still able to excite us. 

Kalani Leblanc: You know what they say: For every one good title track Red Velvet releases they must release two terrible ones. (The prior terrible title being “Rookie” of course.) The five took several steps back with this trophouse for toddlers clutter, which is infuriating since we know girls are capable of work lightyears better than “Ice Cream Cake”‘s ugly summer cousin (Like helloo). 

Joshua Minsoo Kim: An impossibly sunny song about young love that’s brimming with joy. This is the aural equivalent of a loved one waking you up early in the morning, grabbing your hand, and leading you around town in what’s sure to be the most exhausting day you’ve had in ages. As it progresses, you’re faced with an onslaught of precise percussive elements, sumo wrestler grunts, and DJ Mustard “hey’s!” to remind you of how thrilling it all really is. But it has to end eventually, and Wendy resolves “Red Flavor” with a final line that gets at why days like those are so special: “what I like most about summer is you.”

Edward Okulicz: I love how a big percussive part of this song comes from what sounds like a man who doesn’t know how to speak having his tongue pulled. Even so, I wouldn’t have blinked an eye if this had been a Littl Mix song, because little by little, the maximalist glee of K-pop has seeped into other corners of pop without actually losing any of its taste in the process. Much like I can’t get enough of almost any red-coloured, strawberry-flavoured confectionery, my appetite for immaculately assembled blasts of pop is limitless.

Adaora Ede: A stirred up, mashed up incantation of the title of the song bubbles up under what seems like an updated take on rockabilly for Red Velvet’s latest experiment. the erratofunk RV’s got going on in the melody, the vocal line and repetition serves straight barbershop quartet — well, quintet, for the sake of the current lineup — and it’s sooooo refreshing to hear. In less important but also just as thirst-quenching updates, it’s also exciting that, in 2017 of the trap and EDM chart toppers, we’re able to find a way to enjoy summertime to its fullest musical extent sans the diluted tropohouse we’ve been getting since we discovered David Guetta. For one of the first times in a minute from SM Entertainment in particular, I feel like I’m not listening to an experience or a performance, but a good old dance tune.

Reader average: [8.41] (24 votes)

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14 Responses to “Red Velvet – Red Flavor”

  1. Kalani lowkey wrong. Red Flavor and Rookie are better than Russian Roulette.

  2. While you’re checking in, Jennifer, what’s your verdict on “Love Whisper”?

  3. Somehow it’s worse than Fingertip. I’m embarrassed.

  4. I would like to say, despite how my blurb makes it sound, I welcome the return of rapping Irene, and I like Yeri rapping too

  5. Damn I missed my chance to say Rookie still stands as RV’s best single … oh well I guess I can say it again anyways.

  6. Agreed with the critical consensus that Russian Roulette is the peak. Hooks upon hooks upon hooks. Not to mention that it sounds like early f(x), always a plus

  7. Automatic is actually the best RV single but w/e w/e

  8. Honestly my chief disagreement with Kalani is that I wouldn’t call any of OT5’s singles terrible. Even One of These Nights, which was very much not in my wheelhouse, feels like honest work.

  9. wish I’d been here to back Kalani’s score up

  10. This is their best single since Ice Cream Cake. I literally listened to this from when it was released (11pm my time) until 6am; was so in love with it and the video that I couldn’t sleep. Also, there’s something refreshing about seeing them drinking what’s meant to be wine in a non-formal party setting for the vid. It’s refreshing seeing something like that in a Kpop vid, and reminded me of how much I love Kpop groups participating in those Tipsy Live vids.

  11. oh, please don’t get me thinking about a Red Velvet Tipsy vid. I’m still behind on Level Up

  12. Wow Red Velvet are kinda the TSJ queens. Frequent acclaim and active comment sections.

    Poor TWICE.

  13. @Jessica

    Love Whisper is now excellent. The rising transition into the chorus ack

  14. Hope we’re covering Bad Boy. At this point, I’m pretty comfortable with saying that Red Velvet are the best K-pop group ever (yes, ever).