I hope to be back on the normal schedule last week. But due to my studies, that was put on hold for a bit. So I am now hoping that I am able to return to that normal schedule this weekend, with this album review kicking it off. Red Velvet made their comeback 10 days ago with Umpah Umpah and their second album release in The ReVe Festival series. Per usual with any Red Velvet release, they have managed to come on top on this week’s music shows so far. But it is now time to see how the album faired.
1..Umpah Umpah (음파음파) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for Umpah Umpah. (9.5/10)
2. Carpool (카풀) – While I was briefly listening through the album to see whether it was worth writing an album review for it, I was drawn to Carpool. It was bright and upbeat, two of the things I totally like when it comes to KPOP tracks. Sprinkle in with some funk, give the track to Red Velvet and let them own it. I really enjoyed the vocals in this song, as it was rather clear and the instrumental (to a degree) took a backseat approach, allowing the vocals to be capitalised. I also enjoyed the melodies throughout the song, making this a standout track, in my opinion. My pick for the highlight has to be the part of the chorus where they sing together. (9/10)
3. Love Is The Way (사랑은 길이다) – Love Is The Way slows down considerably but continues the bright tone that we have heard so far on the album. This time around the track opts for a retro style, which reminds me of a lot of SNSD’s Lion Heart. To be honest, some of the Red Velvet members reminded me of some of the SNSD members throughout the track. I really like the ‘Your lips say no, but your heart says yes’ line that is featured before each chorus. I think the biggest flaw of the track is that its slowness was very evident, particularly since it was following Carpool, which was a lot faster and snappier. It did cause the retro track to come off as sluggish and dry. (7.5/10)
4. Jumpin’ – We return to something a little more upbeat. Given how its tempo seems to be in between Carpool and Love Is The Way, I think this would have been a suitable song to have in between the two so that the latter song did not come off as sluggish. Despite that observation, however, with a song titled as Jumpin’, I would have expected a little more energy to come from the track. It wasn’t sluggish. But it wasn’t eventful, I could say. Their vocals were quite strong in this track, which I guess helped offset. But it felt more abstract with this approach. I would also say this track is moderately catchy and I wouldn’t mind listening to the song occasionally. (7/10)
5. Ladies Night – It is a night that I am not invited to. But Ladies Night seems to bring out the good side of Red Velvet. I really like their slight retro approach with this R&B track. It seems to match the rest of the album nicely. The brass gives it a lot of colour and character, making the instrumental stand out. I also thought their vocals, which was a lot softer than the previous tracks, were well presented. And I liked how their vocals and instrumental blended together nicely. (8/10)
6. Eyes Locked, Hands Locked (눈 맞추고, 손 맞대고) – When I was checking out the album, the final track caught my attention. Its title is rather intriguing. And I didn’t know what to really expect with a song titled Eyed Locked, Hands Locked. It ended up being a ‘love at first sight’ ballad with delicate vocals, fitting for the softer instrumentation that the ballad had opted for. Throughout this album and within this track, all the members have been singing together for the chorus, which I think works very well with Red Velvet. Other groups do this, but they tend to inefficiently or overuse this technique. It does feel a rather typical way to end the album, but I can’t deny that it is a good track to end the album on. (8/10
Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10