[Review] Monster – Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi

It has been a while since we heard from Red Velvet, which I assume is due to Wendy’s recovery from the stage accident that grounded their Psycho promotions to a halt at the very of last year. But now Red Velvet has returned to the stage in the form of a duo subunit, Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi, which is up of (you guessed it!) Irene and Seulgi. The official release of their debut title track Monster occurred on Monday, but the music video was not released until Tuesday. And I accidentally napped unexpectedly, resulting in a further delay in the review. And before I nap again today, here is my review for Monster.

If you go into this song thinking we will be getting something Red Velvet usually puts out (as that is what you might think given the name Red Velvet is retained in the unit’s name), be prepared to be surprised. Monster has a very distinctive sound. It is like Monster took Red Velvet’s darkest and edgiest sound and amping it up to the next level. It starts with a high pitch and slightly distorted ‘Na Na Na‘, which undoubtedly sets the tone of the song. We then enter a very sinister and suspenseful verse, before launching it a more energised chorus made up of trap elements and dubstep. The song’s vibes and sound essentially repeat itself once that ‘Na Na Na‘ distorted vocals return at the end of the chorus. But while the song does have that unique distinctive sound for current times, I do find the repetition to dull the song’s appeal. It could have been intriguing and interesting, provided they change up the song’s textures a bit as it progressed to give it some variety and freshness. I do commendable Irene and Seulgi’s vocals, which were superb in this song. They added character to the song and helped Monster achieve those sinister and suspenseful vibes that I mentioned earlier. I particularly liked the entire second verse, as there was some interesting colours and vocal profiles there. The chorus had nice melodic hooks, but like the repetition flaw, it soon became dry and dull. There ‘I’m A Little Monster‘ was impactful and came off strong in a subtle manner. Overall, Monster was a fair effort. Just not as mind-blowing as I hoped it to be.

The dark and edgy sound that the song opted for was reflected in the visuals of the music video through the horror influence. While it was quite good to watch, this horror concept came off as rather tame. I wanted to see them go that extra mile as they could have explored a lot of imagery and stories, conceptually. We see the members dressed in white doll-like dresses that resemble the clothing that we see young girls wear in horror movies as they die or haunt the living. Seulgi creepily crawling in one scene towards herself and then walking confidently in the next, similar to how I remember some demonic ghosts would haunt the living in some movies. We see Irene playing with dolls in a creepy manner and in one of the choreography shots, we see a devil’s face edited over Irene’s face. It didn’t scare me, but it had me jumping up and down excitedly as that was the type of scare that I wanted to see. I did like the sets, as they gave off a haunting without going explicitly into cliche haunted house land.

I really liked the outfits they wore and the makeup they donned in the music video. It really suited the music video. And I can’t wait to see them on stage with those exact same outfits and makeup. For the choreography, it looks like a stunning routine. Best parts include their starting formation, (which looks like a creepy creature) and Seulgi twisting Irene to include the ghost face (simple yet effective in terms of coolness).

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Album Review] The Red (1st Studio Album) – Red Velvet

It has been a while since the last Past Album Review (i.e. an album review from previous years of my choosing) as I always ended up choosing a studio album, which usually consisted of 10 or more songs. So, they are quite time consuming and lengthy to write up. And it is because of this that I have been skipping a few weeks of PARs. But I am hoping I can get ahead during this week, so I have a bunch to schedule. For this week, it is another studio album that took me the last few weeks to write. I am talking about Red Velvet’s The Red, which was released back in September 2015. It featured the title track Dumb Dumb and was highly praised overall for its quirkiness. Personally, I think the album is a good mix of tracks that highlighted Red Velvet’s potential at the time. Looking back, it is one of Red Velvet’s more iconic releases to date. Let’s have a closer look at the album.

The Red Album Cover

1. Dumb Dumb (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Dumb Dumb. (10/10)

2. Huff n Puff – Quite sure that at the time of its release, I would have considered Huff n Puff to be a one-of-a-kind song. And that feeling might be the same after all these years. I really liked its roughness, heaviness and robustness. As mentioned before, the childish notes in the instrumental, along with the trap breakdown we get in the song gives it a fun feel. The crashing at the end was also a fun nod to the Big Bad Wolf. Their hooks to be quite creative and catchy, adding to that fun feel even more. The shouty nature of the chorus really helps them stand out in the chorus, which is very heavy with dramatic thumping. The members opt for some rapping throughout the song, which really compliments the song’s nature. We also get a Wendy Happiness moment, though in Huff n Puff, this is shared between Seulgi and Wendy (and my pick for best moment, aside from the chorus). (9/10)

3. Campfire – The members are reminiscent of a campfire, which is where the first moves of a relationship were made. In the midst of all of that, there are cutesy actions referenced by the members associated with camping and campfires, which gives the song that innocent swing. Once again, their delivery is a mixture of rapping and vocals. While the rapping was very nice, their vocal work stands out the most in this song. As for the instrumental, it is made of a mixture of heavy thumping and an upbeat R&B rhythm. Quite attractive, if you ask me. I would love to see a instrumental for this song and wonder what direction would they take. It would be interesting to see them go with some edgy with this song. There moments that I thought were a little forgettable (i.e. the verses), but overall, Campfire was another strong side-track. (8/10)

4. Red Dress – Another upbeat number. But the instrumental for this is a lot lighter and bouncy at the same time, which is a little different from the heaviness that we have heard thus far. But while the song starts off in a very powerful manner, I did not like how they toned down the energy for the chorus. It is like an inverted song. I would have loved for them to go with an even more intense chorus and have that executed decently to help blow me away. I am glad that the final chorus manages to up the energy (relatively to the other choruses in this song). But it still doesn’t cut it for me. Their vocals were nice and crystal clear throughout the song. I say that because they easily could have masked their vocals with an overpowering instrumental in any of the song on the album thus far. But the producers made sure the members shined in each song so far. (7/10)

5. Oh Boy – The opening to Oh Boy feels like it can be used as the opening to a sitcom or teenage TV show. I like its boldness and Wendy wows with her vocals in just the opener. Joy also performs the opener throughout the song as well, showcasing her vocals. What I like about the song is that it just continues as it is. The instrumental is already bold thanks to the energy that comes off it. So, there is no need to change it. The member’s vocals add to this boldness and really strengthens the song in a way that really captures your attention. I also like how it is in the forefront of the song and sounds very crisp on top of the instrumental. It is very catchy and upbeat. Overall, a really strong side-track on this album. (10/10)

6. Lady’s Room – I really like the 90s feel to the instrumental. It felt like it could have come from a hip-hop track and it also feels like a song that could have come from LOONA (a much more recent group, who debuted a few years after the release of this album). Obviously, there is a little more to the song’s instrumental. It is toned down to be appropriate for this girl group. While I think there are good vocals in this song, I find that the song’s melodies feel little lost and non-cohesive in this track. The vocal melodies and instrumental just don’t merge nicely together and this weigh the song down for me. With that in mind, Lady’s Room could have been more enjoyable with the right fitting melodies. (6/10)

7. Time Slip – The song has R&B roots, but the melodies during the verses seem to direct us toward the hip-hop genre. It is a very nice mash of the two genres. The song feels quite clean and straightforward, with the various sections of the song attaining to one of the two genres. Never do they actually merge to be uncategorizable. The R&B sections (i.e. the choruses) showcase the group’s smooth vocals, while the members do a fair amount of rapping in the song’s verses. It is backed with a really trendy instrumental. And with all these elements together, Time Slip easily could have been released now and I would not even ping it as a song released years ago. I really liked the ending of the song. It is dragged out, but it ties the song together quite nicely with its bass and their catchy ‘Baby here we go’ hook. (9/10)

8. Don’t U Wait No More – Aside from the title track, Don’t U Wait No More seems to the peak of Red Velvet’s Red side. For those who don’t remember or know, Red Velvet releases tend to fall into two categories. Red is more of their colourful and energetic releases, while Velvet is their more silky and mature releases. It seems like Red Velvet releases don’t follow this system anymore, but it is always interesting to guess how songs would fit into the categories. Opening the song up is the very catchy hook of the repetition of the title. It is paired with what I would consider to be a wacky instrumental. It makes use of a bouncy set of synths that is quite low, contrasting with their vocals (which is where the energy is injected into the song). While the shortness might be a flaw for those who enjoy the song, I can see why the song was kept short. It relies heavily on repetition and if it went on for any longer, I fear the song would be considered repetitive (in a bad way) and excessively boring. But don’t worry. I like it the song exactly how it is. (8.5/10)

9. Day 1 – The initial moments of this song, I thought the song was going to fall into their Velvet side. But that would be ill fitting, considering that the entire album is called The Red (and hence alludes to their Red side). But in a matter of seconds, the song injects a fair amount of enjoyable energy into the song. I really liked the old retro vibes in this song. It feels like it could easily be a musical number thanks to the song’s melody. Even the ending has that Hollywood theatre type of vibe to it. The chorus was cute and quite catchy. Vocally, Day 1 is a very strong song. The fact that they sing together in the choruses are further signs that support the musical feel of the song. Wendy’s high note was pretty good. I was concerned about how they would bolster the song, but the high note and inclusive singing in the chorus resolved that concern with minimal effort. (9/10)

10. Cool WorldCool World is a very pleasant pop track. It ends the album neatly. A little too neatly, if you asked for my personal opinion. While the song does have a refreshing vibe thanks to its easygoing instrumental and it does feel quite suitable for the Summer season, the song feels quite bland. We don’t get much from the members in this song other than straightforward vocals. I wished that the song somehow had more of a zing and energetic vibes, which would be more enjoyable. But still, Cool World works gracefully and comfortably as an album ender. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

The Red Teaser Image

[Album Review] The ReVe Festival: Finale (3rd Studio Album) – Red Velvet

Red Velvet made their comeback with Psycho and their third studio album at the end of 2019. Unfortunately, it was not part of the 2019 album review lineup due to its late release and hence it becomes the first album review to be released in 2020 (which obviously is occurring today). This studio album features 4 new tracks (including the title track, Psycho) and all the tracks that was part of the ReVe Festival series (to be linked within the review). These will not contribute to the final rating, however. In other related news, Red Velvet is no longer promoting Psycho due to the injuries that Wendy sustained during the 2019 SBS Music Festival rehearsal.

The ReVe Festival: Finale Album Cover

1. Psycho (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Psycho. (9/10)

2. In & Out – Red Velvet delves into R&B pop for this track. To me, the track felt like if a song from the group’s Red side was remade for their Velvet side, with the song feeling and sounding like it was polished and refined. There is a smoothness to the track, which I thought was very cool. I really like the heavy beat that features in the instrumental, followed by the trap sounds that really give the song some character. I thought the group’s execution of their vocal and rapping were top notch and worthy of a listen. As for the lyrics, the song portrays an on and off again relationship that they are experiencing. (8/10)

3. Remember Forever Remember Forever is a pop ballad that is bound to get you swaying along to the music. I really like that flowy side of the song, which really makes the song appealing to me. There is a grand nature to the song, which really made it feel extra special. I also enjoy how they incorporated some rapping. Usually, I wouldn’t be a fan of this tactic. But it worked really well this time around. Finally, I really enjoyed the harmonies that all the members contributed to at the end by singing together, bringing the series to a close in an inclusive and warm manner. (9/10)

To read the album review for The ReVe Festival: Day 1 (Sunny Side Up, Milkshake, Bing Bing, Parade & LP), click here. For the full review for Zimzalabim, click here.

To read the full album review for The ReVe Festival: Day 2 (Carpool, Love Is The Way, Jumpin’, Ladies Night & Eyes Locked, Hands Locked), click here. For the full review for Umpah Umpah, click here.

16. La Rouge – A special track included at the very end of the third studio album is La Rouge. La Rouge is actually the name of their recent concert and the track itself was also performed at the concert. I thought the instrumental was very ear-catching, going with that 1930s sound in modern way. The upbeat chorus also made the song appealing. Vocally, the members sound very sensual and different from their past tracks/styles (referring to both their Red and Velvet side that we have heard so far). It is a pity that this is a bonus track, as I would love to see more live performances of this track. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

The ReVe Festival: Finale Teaser Image

[Special] My Favourite Performances from the 2019 End Of Year Music Festivals

At the end of each year, the three major broadcasting companies in South Korea (SBS, KBS and MBC) organises and broadcast a very fruitful and dynamic music festival, bringing together the top KPOP acts of the year. 2019 is no exception and with a year as busy as 2019, it is often quite hard to get invited to these festivals. And with each show running for a couple of hours, different stages/performances/remixes of the year’s hits and one-of-a-kind collaborations, it is often hard to keep up with these festivals. Today, I have decided to organise a list of performances from each of these three festivals that I thought were excellent, different and worthwhile in checking out. I have done this before but over the years dropped it as I had very little time. Now that I have some time on my hand, I thought I return to this segment for the 2019 festivals.

SBS Gayo Daejun – 25th of December 2019

When we talk about the SBS Music Festival, we need to address the issue of safety. After all, it costed Red Velvet full group promotions for their Psycho comeback, due to injuries sustained by Wendy due to the unsafe nature of SBS stage. We did manage to get one full lineup of the group performing Psycho on stage as it was pre-recorded. because of that, I put Red Velvet’s Psycho performance on my list of favourite performances from that day. Other performers also had falls on the SBS stage, from what I remember reading. Other stages at stood out for me were:

  • Stray Kid’s Miroh – I did not know how Stray Kids could top Miroh’s intensity by rearranging the performance to be even more intense.
  • NCT Dream’s Boom & NCT 127’s Superhuman – Both tracks had a really cool dance addition to it. On top of that, we got to see the same ‘switching of jackets’ that Mark did at the 2018 SBS Music Festival between Dream and 127’s performance. Only this time, it was Haechan!
  • Oh My Girl’s Bungee (X-mas Version) – Always good to have a X-mas themed remix on Christmas Day. It made Bungee, an already vibrant and colourful track, more suitable for the season.
  • Mamamoo’s Gogobebe – The rock remix for this performance was superb.
  • Seventeen’s Home and Snapshoot – We got to see a warmer side of the group and the more joyful side, especially after all the darkness we got from HIT and Fear.
  • TWICE’s Medley of Tracks – I really liked the band element to their performance and how they tweaked the concept for Fancy and their more light hearted tracks. I just wished the band was DAY6 (where is DAY6 in all of these festivals), which would have made the performance even more worthy of a view.
  • BTS’s Dionysus – I have always been a fan of BTS’s darker side. This performance is a return this side, which I greatly appreciate.

KBS Gayo Daechukje – 27th December 2019

I personally did not have much interest in the KBS Music Festival as I thought the stage looked really bad and the camera work wasn’t the best. This wasn’t also the only problem that occurred that same night. APINK’s %% performance was cut short, disappointing fans, APINK and viewers in general. If I were to choose one standout stage, it would have Golden Child’s Wannabe stage. Their dance intro was very good and showed off intensity that was aligned with their new look/concept. And I really liked how smooth the transition between dance intro and actual song was. Only a few toehr performances caught my attention and they include:

  • Song Gain’s Introductory song – Song Gain, for those who don’t know is a trot singer that trended this year. For Song Gain’s performance, she managed to incorporate all artists into her song, which I think would be a challenge.
  • NU’EST Love Me – It wasn’t so much their choreography or song that caught my attention. But I thought the raised stages for the end really highlighted the good parts of their overall choreography, providing what could be said as an epic end to their stage.
  • ASTRO’s All Night + Blue Flame – I was waiting for ASTRO to do All Night in some capacity during these festivals. But with Moonbin out of action, it seems like the group would opt for the 5-member Blue Flame instead. So automatically, ASTRO’s stage for All Night alone would make this list. Blue Flame ended up being very epic as well, which is why their entire segment is on this list.
  • Oh Ha Young, Joy and Yerin Mr. Mr. collaboration – I haven’t heard this song for some time now and I really enjoyed this throwback. Also surprised that they covered the entire song, which usually isn’t the case.

MBC Gayo Daejejeon – 31st December 2019

MBC’s Music Festival is one to always watch. Their stages always have a look that shows that they have been planning for a while. The collaborations for this festival are always something to talk about. And why not watch it live as the year goes out! There is nothing like ending 2019 and start 2020 with KPOP! However, the MBC Music Festival was also plagued with an early termination issue. This time around the victim was Kim Jae Hwan, who only got to perform Nuna (he should have performed The Time I Need as well. For standout performance, I am putting down ASTRO and Oh My Girl’s creepy and jazzy cover of IU’s Red Shoes. It was different and colourful. Other stages to check out:

  • Stray Kid’s Side Effects – Another intense song that they managed to upgrade and make darker. The creative minds that put together these stages for Stray Kids are killing it (and need a pay rise instantly).
  • Seventeen & Mamamoo Collaboration – Two of my favourite groups have come together to form one dream team. And this was such an amazing stage.
  • Seventeen’s HIT – Mingyu shouldn’t be playing with fire. It is dangerous. But one epic opener to the stage. Also, somehow Seventeen managed to insert a dance break in the midst of the stage, which I think earns a mention at the very least.
  • Hyuna’s Flower Shower – Her choreography is essentially the same as the one she performed in the past. But the chorus instrumental is changed slightly, which I thought made the stage a lot cooler for the end of year festival.
  • Taemin’s Move & Famous – MBC’s Music Festival had a theme, The Chemistry. And you can’t have a theme about Chemistry without Taemin. While he didn’t do anything special to Move‘s stage, his dance alone is already 100% fitting for a ‘Chemistry’ themed music festival.
  • (G)i-DLE’s Lion – Another reason to why we need to look out for this girl group is their special stages. Lion is practically a game changer for the group.
  • Lovelyz’s Beautiful Day – I really like their ballad start to their stage and how they built it back up to the original song in an effortless manner.

[Review] Psycho – Red Velvet

Red Velvet is nominated for Best Female Group, Best Music Video and Best Female (Group) Choreography in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Voting closes on the 31st of December, which is almost a week away. So to support Red Velvet, click here to vote for them in the survey!

A major release this late into the final month of year tends to be quite rare, as groups are preparing from the end of year music festivals and other special events. But it seems like we will be getting a couple this year. The first is by Red Velvet, who returns with the final part of the ReVe Festival. The title track for this release is Psycho. Previously, the group returned earlier in the year with Zimzalabim and Umpah Umpah, as part of the ReVe Festival series.

Zimzalabim was probably one of their craziest tracks, while Umpah Umpah ended up resolving to be a regular pop track for Summer. So it was hard to form an expectation for Psycho. But it ended up being an urban pop dance track that felt very polished and refined. I would also say this would be a logical follow up to the R&B sound that we got through Bad Boy. Just Psycho ends up being much more appealing for me. The instrumental backdrop felt simple, allowing the vocals to do majority of the hard work. There was some falsettos in the pre-chorus and I really like how they all sing the chorus, making the song feel more impactful. The chorus also had this very addictive swaying effect, which helped make the song more alluring. The melodies also kept the song feeling fresh and smooth. There was a slight moment of rapping which I felt they could have extended to give the song an extra boost of oomph. But other than that, Red Velvet comes out with another smashing song.

The title Psycho definitely alludes to something eerie and dark. And I really like how the music video nails this idea. In terms of visual concepts, I must admit that Red Velvet is one of the most versatile groups ever. Of course, their stylists should also get a shout out for really helping Red Velvet pull off these changes. There seems to be a 1930’s vibe to the music video, given the sets and some of their outfits. Wendy’s shorter white coloured hair style is probably the biggest change of all. Each member looks very creepy, with the production team putting together a music video that makes the members look like crazed psychos/stalkers throughout the video.

Based on what I can see in the music video, the moves look like there is a bit of attitude infused into it. And it makes sense given the song style. Some parts look a little weak, while others look quite strong. So it would help if there was some live performance (to make a better judgement). But I don’t think there will be any until Christmas Day (25th of December) when the group’s first stage is scheduled at the SBS Gayo Festival. But for now, I think I rest with the comment that the choreography is satisfying.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9.1/10

[Album Review] The ReVe Festival: Day 2 (7th Mini Album) – Red Velvet

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.

The ReVe Festival: Day 2 Album Cover

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

The ReVe Festival: Day 2 Teaser Image

[Review] Umpah Umpah – Red Velvet

One of the bigger releases of the week came on Tuesday. Despite just wrapping up promotions for the very catchy and fun sounding Zimzalabim two months ago, Red Velvet has returned with Umpah Umpah, which is featured on the group’s 6th mini-album, The ReVe Festival: Day 2. Since its release on Tuesday, the song has already topped the charts, as expected for the popular girl group. However, the group has faced some problems with their concept, with accusations made against the group and SM Entertainment for plagiarizing outfits designed by Paris Stern (read the article here).

If Zimzalabim wasn’t to your liking because it was a little more out there in comparison to Red Velvet’s usual style, maybe you will like Umpah Umpah. Listening to the song, the brightness and energy from Zimzalabim is still present. But it is toned back and not as in-your-face as the mentioned track. Once again, Umpah Umpah is quite addictive. There was a number of layers to this. Firstly, the main repetition was keyed into my mind within a few listens.  Secondly, the chorus was extremely melodic, which made their vocals shine ever so brightly. Thirdly, the instrumental made the track feel light, offsetting the heavier effects made by the deep Umpah Umpah repetition and their vocals. Towards the end, the song becomes anthem-like, which might be a first for the group and SM Entertainment. Overall, I thought the track was very well suited for the Summer season. Fun fact: you might be able to catch some of their references to past tracks including Ice Cream Cake, Red Flavour and Dumb Dumb in the lyrics.

Summer is about to end in Korea, so Red Velvet is making a last-minute trip to have some fun in the sun. But they are stopped in their tracks by a horrible rainstorm. So they use other methods to keep the fun ongoing. This includes playing board games and watching some TV. But some things just get in the way, such as bumping your head on the table while playing monopoly, a horrible TV connection (which Seulgi was picked to fix) and a leaky roof. While it looks like they are about to give up on their adventure of fun indoors, the group seems to use their imagination and persistence to enjoy their times indoors, which I think was highlighted by the group closing the door one more time without any disappointed looks or body language. Overall, it is another fun video that goes very well with the song!

Interestingly, there hasn’t been a live performance with the entire dance as of yet. And as far as I am concerned, I don’t think there were any teasers for a comeback stage next week as well (but do let me know if I am wrong, I just don’t remember seeing on on my Twitter feed). Form what I could see, the choreography looked nice. It felt like their least intense set of moves yet. But it was bright, fun and energetic, which are all elements that we have come to know and love Red Velvet for.

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9.1/10

[Special] Top 10 Personal Favourite Songs from 1st Half of 2019

As I have been mentioning over the past 2 weeks, I reflect over the 1st half of 2019 through two posts. The first post is the recap of the Number 1 songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts for the period between July 2018 to June 2019 and this was published last week. The second post is my pick for most favourite songs from the first half of the year. This is irrespective of the charts (or any charts for that matter) and reviews, as sometimes my favourite songs don’t reach the top. I have listed 10 songs below, in no particular order, which I believe represent the best of the best that 2019 has offered to us so far.

Boogie Up – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Q&A – Cherry Bullet

Woowa – DIA

Side Effects – Stray Kids

The Fifth Season (SSFWL) – Oh My Girl

Zimzalabim – Red Velvet

Valkirye – ONEUS

No – CLC

Sunrise – GFriend

L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon

I wanted to add a few more but think limiting myself to 10 would probably be best, otherwise, I’d be copying and pasting majority of 2019’s releases onto this page.

Do you agree with my picks? What about your favourite tracks of 2019 so far? Comment down below!

[Album Review] The ReVe Festival: Day 1 (6th Mini Album) – Red Velvet

Zimzalabim zim-zimzalabim Zim-zimzalabim zim-zim~

If anyone knows how to remove catchy song lyrics from a person’s mind, could you please let me know. It has been one week and I still cannot get it out of my head. While I work on that, let’s focus on their new mini-album, titled The ReVe Festival: Day 1 (which is also the start of a new trilogy). Eagle-eyed fans have noticed that the album cover for this release (shown below) features the concepts from all Red Velvet’s past title tracks, such as a conveyor belt from Dumb Dumb; the colourful landscape, wardrobe and creature from Rookie; a fruity Ferris wheel representing Red Flavour; the wolf’s head from RBB (just to name a few), leading fans to speculate that this new trilogy may be a blend of their Red and Velvet concepts.

The ReVe Festival: Day 1 Album Cover

1..Zimzalabim (짐살라빔) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Zimzalabim. (10/10)

2. Sunny Side Up – One of my original comments that I ended up scrapping from the Zimzalabim review is that the vocal bridge was like a throwback to their Velvet side. But listening to Sunny Side Up, it feels like this R&B styled track could be the actual throwback to the Velvet side. While the title does resemble something we expect from the Red side of the group, the track engages smooth vocals and melodies, which make it extremely pleasant to listen to. I also think there is a reggae-influence in the track, though I am not entirely sure. It is extremely subtle and not as explicit as other Summer tracks. I also believe more rapping could have transformed the track, as I did want something more towards the end to accompany the cool rap sequence we got in the first verse. (8/10)

3. Milkshake – The way Milkshake started almost felt like the song was going to be a retro explosion. But instead, the track remained on the R&B side. I found the track to be groovy and upbeat (but with a sense of style and class). An applause must be given to the vocals for this track, which really made the song stand out for me. It isn’t their most impressive work. But accompanied alongside the instrumental, the vocals do hold up the track a fair bit. I am on the fence regarding the rapping, however. It felt like it went in a cutesy direction, which I wasn’t that fond about. The intro was revisited a number of times as a post-chorus hook and they actually fitted in quite well, given the boundaries of the track had now been provided. (9/10)

4. Bing Bing (친구가 아냐) – My pick for best track on this album is Bing Bing. We get a little more energy with this track, departing from the previous R&B theme. Repetition is the major technique used that keeps me (and other listeners) hooked onto this song. However, I can see the repetition technique being a barrier, preventing some people from enjoying the track, as it could result in blandness and uneventful sound. But I find their vocals bring in colour and personality to the track. The vocals are outstanding, particularly as we get to the end of the song. And the repetition makes the track so much catchier and more memorable, in an aesthetic way. I also like the continuous build-up that is enabled in this track, bringing the track to a climatic ending. (9/10)

5. Parade (안녕, 여름)Parade has this fun sound to it and contains a fair bit of colour that makes it fit in with Red Velvet’s sound. And the energy does provide a youthful touch to it, which I enjoyed. But I can’t really pinpoint the parade in Parade. It sounds more like a playful playground tune, which results in the song going down a more childish route as it progressed. The dings featured in the background reminds me of bicycle bells, for example. I think the best moments of the track is when the members come and sing together. It hides some of that childish sound. The vocals were nice. It is just disappointing that the song didn’t fit my expectations, as it felt like it had a lot of potential. (7/10)

6. LPLP kicks off with some elevator music (and I think the tune is maintained throughout the track). But the overall song featured a slightly faster tempo, making the elevator music less elevator music (and draining). So overall, I think it is a solid track. I did like other sections of the song as well, such as the saxophone solo for the bridge and use of brass to give the track some character. I thought the vocals were good. Once again, not as impressive. But given how it seemed like they were working with elevator music as its backbone, I can’t blame for not bringing out the vocal guns. But despite that, the vocals manage to bring some hooks to the space and definitely making this track stand out a little more. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

The ReVe Festival: Day 1 Teaser Image

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[Review] Zimzalabim – Red Velvet

Mentioned in yesterday’s review, there were two major artists returning with new tracks yesterday. The first was the rising male group, Stray Kids, and the second (and focus for this review) is the well-established female group, Red Velvet. Their title track is Zimzalabim, which may be a foreign word to some (I have personally not heard of the word before). Google defines it as a magical word (similar to as Alakazam), so definitely we will expecting some hints of magic in this comeback. This is also the group’s first Korean comeback since RBB (Really Bad Boy).

My first response to the song was definitely a big WOW! I personally don’t think any words that I would use to describe it would be enough to fully cover the immense and loaded sound that we got from Zimzalabim. The track is extremely colourful, which is definitely something Red Velvet nails every time. Every single detail within the instrumental seems to be placed for a purpose. It would be hard to imagine the track without the presence of cowbells or that zipper spiral sound. I like how dark the chorus of the song, contrasting well with the more upbeat and bright verses. The members sound amazing. I thought RBB was an impressive display of vocals, but it seems like Zimzalabim managed to topple RBB from its throne. The rapping, I felt was perfect. But definitely, the stealing moment has to be the triple punch we got from Joy, Seulgi and Wendy for the bridge. The dance break was equally as awesome. I can see why it might be cringy for some people but I think the track is amazing as it is.

Zimzalabim is the magical theme park that the girls each buys tickets from. And from that point forward, it can be seen as a wild ride. Within the current trends of the KPOP industry, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a hidden image within the music video (There might be something to Wendy, Joy and Yeri working at the theme park and how Irene was the only member not wearing the 3D glasses at the end). I did like how the theme park was put together despite its randomness. For example, the rollercoaster ended with a splash into a teacup, and then we are shown the members lounging around in the teacup. Once again, it is a very colourful and jam-packed music video, which reflects well with the song.

The dancing has to be an additional highlight to this comeback. I thought the serious tone of the chorus was conveyed well in the choreography, while the energetic dance break was well reflected. As for their outfits, they do seem odd-looking and mismatching. But its isn’t their worst.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.8/10

[Review] Dear Diary – Yeri (Red Velvet)

As mentioned previously, I am (extremely) slowly catching up on reviews from last week. Due to another week of a high workload, I predict that catching up on reviews for the past two weeks may lead onto the next week. But that is an issue to be dealt with then. Today, I have picked Yeri’s first solo single to be the main focus. Dear Diary was released last week on Thursday and is also part of the SM Station series. The track is quite special as it is self-composed by Yeri herself. that it was self-composed by herself. We also last saw Yeri as a solo artist in her collaboration, Hair In The Air, with members of NCT Dream for the Trolls show.

Dear Diary is an acoustic ballad that I find fitting for a nice day. But it isn’t a ballad that I am falling for. I find it a bit plain for my liking and hence why I haven’t been enjoying it as much. The song has a nice piano and guitar combination, keeping true to its acoustic description throughout the entire track. I also do think the song did a nice job of showing off her vocals. We don’t see much opportunity for her to do so in the Red Velvet title tracks. so it is quite nice to hear a Yeri solo track. I did like the airy sound she brought to the background vocals, which I thought was both nice and gave a flowy feel to the song. To me, the song is very straight forward and doesn’t have much to really create a cause for me to stay. I would be happy to listen to the song if it appeared on my playlist, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to really find and play it.

The music video is slightly better. I really like the simplicity of the music video and how this flowed to even the effects of the video. For example, I liked the snapshots of her footage appearing throughout the video. But rather than flashbacks or some fancy transition, they are just layered on top of the main scene as rectangles. There was no editing of colours or borders. Just straight forward footage on one another. I also enjoyed the lighting of the video. Really gave the song a homely feel. There was some dryness to the video which may have stemmed from the song. But overall, I thought it was a nice video to still watch.

Song – 5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 5.8/10

[Special] 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist Categories Results

Welcome back to the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards! On the 1st of December 2018, I presented my readers with many categories filled with talented and deserving nominees for the 2018 KPORPEVIEWED Awards. For the month of December, all of you voted for your favourite artists and songs from January 2018 to November 2018. And today, I present to you who the winners of each category were.

This is the first section, which will look at the categories surrounding the artists including Best New Groups, Best Female and Male Groups and many others.

Each category will have a WINNER (the artist/group that received the highest amount of fan votes), Honourable Mention (the artist/group that received the second highest amount of fan votes) and KPOPREVIEWED Choice (who I voted for).

So, drum roll please, for the winners of the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Artist categories.

Best New Male Group

Nominees – ATEEZ, NOIR, Stray Kids, The Boyz, UNB


WINNER – Stray Kids
Honourable Mention – The Boyz
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – The Boyz

Best New Female Group

Nominees – fromis.9, (G)I-DLE, IZ*ONE, LOONA, NATURE


Honourable Mention – LOONA
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – fromis.9

Best New Soloist

Nominees – Kim Dong Han, Leo (VIXX), LONGGUO, SOHEE (ELRIS), Yuri (SNSD)


Honourable Mention – Leo (VIXX)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Dong Han

Rising Star

Nominees – (G)I-DLE, Lovelyz, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Pentagon


Honourable Mention – Pentagon
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Momoland

Most Underrated Artist of the Year

Nominees – A.C.E, CLC, N.Flying, KARD, Snuper


Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – N.Flying

Best Unit Group / Subunit

Nominees – EXO-CBX, NCT 127, NCT Dream, Oh My Girl BANHANA, SNSD-Oh!GG


Honourable Mention – SNSD-Oh!GG

Best Male Solo Artist

Nominees – Eric Nam, Hwang Chi Yeul, Jung Sewoon, Samuel, Seungri (Big Bang)


WINNER – Seungri (Big Bang)
Honourable Mention – Eric Nam
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Eric Nam

Best Female Solo Artist

Nominees – BoA, Hyolyn, Kim Chungha, Sunmi, Taeyeon (SNSD)


WINNER – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Honourable Mention – Sunmi

Best Band

Nominees – DAY6, IZ, N,Flying, The East Light, The Rose


Honourable Mention – The Rose

Best Raps

Nominees – B.I (iKON), Ilhoon (BTOB), Jooheon (Monsta X), Mino (WINNER), RM (BTS)


Honourable Mention – Mino (WINNER)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Jooheon (Monsta X)

Best Vocals

Nominees – BOL4, BTOB, Hwang Chi Yeul, Mamamoo, Minseo


WINNER – Mamamoo
Honourable Mention – BTOB
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo

Best Male Group

Nominees – BTOB, BTS, EXO, GOT7, iKON, Monsta X, NCT, NU’EST W, Pentagon, Seventeen, SF9, SHINee, VIXX, Wanna One, Winner


Honourable Mention – SHINee

Best Female Group

Nominees – AOA, APRIL, BLACKPINK, CLC, Dream Catcher, EXID, GFriend, Lovelyz, Mamamoo, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, TWICE, Weki Meki, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)


WINNER – Red Velvet
Honourable Mention – BLACKPINK
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo

Artists Who Topped The Weekly KPOP Charts The Most in 2018

This is not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Monsta X, Seventeen & Sunmi

And that completes the Artist Categories for the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. The Song Categories will be unveiled shortly and you can access it by clicking here!

And for the End of Year Charts – they will be out tomorrow. I will update this post with the link once it is out.

Thank you for all voting and checking out who you all selected to be the winners! I hope to do this again for 2019!

[Review] Sappy – Red Velvet

It is time for the first JPOP review of 2019. And starting of the JPOP rush for this year is Red Velvet with their brand new single, Sappy. The popular female group made their Japanese debut last year with #Cookie Jar, the title for both their debut single and mini-album. Since then, the group returned to Korea to release and promote Power Up and RBB.

Sappy has a lot going on and that is partly due to the instrumental of the song. But let’s backtrack for a moment and go from the start. I am not a fan of how they started off the song. It started off with straightforward hushed vocals singing ‘Sappy Boy‘ with the repetitive trumpet as its main attraction. That was okay. But the instrumental break that follows right after felt overwhelmingly messy. And, to me at least, felt off tune and disconnected. Moving along to the verses, I can see signs of an improvement in sound. It was extremely crisp and didn’t feature anything that I thought was off tune. I did notice their vocals seemed to be weighed down and that their voices had a lower tone. Don’t know why but I am not too bothered by it. The chorus came along and it too was a tad overwhelming at first with its many layers in the instrumentation. But it has since grown on me and I thought it provides a nice burst of energy and sweetness to the song. It was also quite catchy. So overall, Sappy was quite nice with the exception of that part.

Suiting the song and the group perfectly is the brightly coloured music video. It starts off as a standard music video, with the normal close up shots of the girls doing things. And then the music video becomes like a ‘Spot the Difference’ game. Come to the think of it, what was the concept for this comeback/music video? It does seem a little over the place, like the song at times.

I wasn’t impressed with their last Japanese dance. But this, it was good. I liked all of it, which I thought was fitting for the song. To match the fast tempo of the chorus, their moves became liked quick jerks, which I thought looked really cool. And then when the song slowed down, they moved into slower and wider motions, which was a good progression.

Song – 7/10
Music Video  – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

[Review] Hair In The Air – Yeri (Red Velvet), Renjun, Jeno & Jaemin (NCT)

Both Red Velvet and NCT are nominated in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Voting is underway and if you haven’t voted yet, click here to do so now!

For this week’s SM Station release, Yeri (from Red Velvet) and Renjun, Jeno and Jaemin (from NCT) join hands together for the special release of Hair In The Air, which is the main theme song for the new television series – Trolls: The Beat Goes On. The song features on a special OST album for the show and the album also contains a second track, Best Day Ever, featuring Haechan, Chenle and Jisung (from NCT as well). But we are here for Hair In The Air, so let’s get going.

Hair In The Air goes for a fun-filled and vibrant sound, suiting the animated show it will represent in South Korea. It has this positivity atmosphere that makes you want to smile and dance to. The pop instrumental for the song was consistent (in a good way) and gave the song that fun factor which I have already mentioned. It is super addictive so I can see it being used as a children’s show theme song. Yeri and Renjun take cares of the vocals in the song, while Jeno and Jaemin rap in the song. And I personally enjoyed both the vocals and raps in the song as they both add some flavour and textures to the song. It may just be a standard song to some but I thoroughly enjoyed its lightheartedness.

Like the song, the video is pretty much a lighthearted video. Not really meant to be taken seriously. Since it was for Trolls, I had expected some sort of Trolls animation throughout it. But instead, we have a party themed video with Yeri and the 3 featuring members from NCT. But it seems that this party is all in the book that Yeri is reading. There is a small bit of choreography for the video to compliment the fun style of the video. Rather simple but I enjoyed it.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

[Album Review] RBB (5th Mini Album) – Red Velvet

Red Velvet is nominated for multiple categories in this year’s KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to vote and support your favourite artists.

Red Velvet returned at the end of last week with another new track, RBB (Really Bad Boy), which is the same title as their fifth mini-album. This is the group’s 3rd Korean comeback this year, where each was marked with an album review (The Perfect Red Velvet and Summer Magic). RBB features 6 tracks, with the final song being an English version of Really Bad Boy (and per usual, I did not include that in the album review). So without any further delay, here are my thoughts on the album.

RBB Album Cover

1..RBB (Really Bad Boy) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of RBB (Really Bad Boy). (9/10)

2. ButterfliesButterflies is a light pop track that really appealed to my taste within the first few seconds of listening to it. To me, this is a typical yet perfected Red Velvet b-side track and I liked it that they chose this as the second promotional track to promote during their comeback week. The vocals were on point. While they weren’t as grabbing as RBB, the vocals here were soothing and very delicate, matching the atmosphere that the song had created. The soft rap-talking during the bridge was also quite nice. Overall, it is an amazing track that I think the word ‘beautiful’ sums it up perfectly. (9/10)

3. So Good – I think this would be a nice mix of their Red and Velvet side. It is an R&B track that offers smoothness. So Good has a nice melody and this makes this song quite catchy. I personally like the vocals in the song, despite it being quite plain, if I was to choose a word to describe that element of the song. I did like the ad-libs that threw throughout the choruses, giving the illusion it was rather busy and textured. So Good also offers a few twists, such as the vocals starting off the second verse and the ending, which brought different colours to the song without stray too far from its original sound. (8/10)

4. Sassy Me (멋있게)Sassy Me throws uniqueness at you in any form. The vocals during the verses have that slight groaning ending to each line. I can see how this would turn people off, but I thought this was a very interesting effect to grab your attention straight away. I really like the instrumentation of the song. The brass in the song was extremely short, sharp and repetitive. However, not in an annoying way. As usual, their vocals were amazing, but I loved how they progressed to that amazing high note at the end of the song. Sassy Me is probably my most favourite track on this album. (9/10)

5. TasteTaste’s sound isn’t my cup of tea. So I am having a hard time getting into the song. The song is best described as a hip-hop centred sound. But I found it to be quite slow and the instrumentation was rather bland, compared to the rest of the songs on the album. However, props must be given for Yeri, Irene and Wendy’s rap sequence, which caught me off guard and made me backtrack a number of times to be sure I was listening to the song correctly. It isn’t the best rapping but it gives the final track on the album something unlike any of their previous tracks. (6/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

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[Review] RBB (Really Bad Boy) – Red Velvet

Red Velvet is nominated for Best Female Group and Really Bad Boy is nominated for Best Music Video in the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to support them and your other favourites.

Just before Autumn wraps up, Red Velvet has made their official comeback with RBB or Really Bad Boy. This is the group’s third Korean comeback of the year, after Bad Boy (…) and Power Up. I am a little disappointed with the title for their new track, though. I think this is the first time I have seen a group return with a recycled title from one of their own older title tracks. While I can kind of go on about this for a while, I am going to put it to the side and move along with the review.

When I first heard the song, the first thing that popped into my mind was how it had the similar vibes to Bang Bang (the collaboration single between Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj). However, the more I listen to it, the less I think it is similar. I guess it has to be due to the bold feels and the brass that features throughout the song. It also features some piano at certain parts, which you can just hear on top of the loud instrumental. The song is extremely upbeat and energetic, which fits in nicely with the other Red* title tracks the group has. I think vocally, this has to be one of their strongest songs yet. It is bold and it is definitely showcasing their vocals. We also get a high pitch notes (which doubles up as a scream in the video) from Wendy, which just comes out of nowhere. The song has an addictive hook but my favourite part is the ‘1,2,5‘ at the very beginning. Overall, a very strong comeback.

When I first saw the teasers, I thought this was going to be a copy of last year’s Peek-A-Boo, due to the horror concept. But this is definitely quite different. It is a lot bright and it has a more notable energetic tone. The video shows a more 80s horror theme, given the wolf (the actual Really Bad Boy), their outfits and the set design. And speaking about the set design, how amazing did the video look? It is extremely elaborate but similar to a set to a high school play. I thought the post-production effects and editing also made their video stand out.

The choreography for this is absolutely smashing. I really like how more chaotic this performance feels, which I think is more in line with their previous choreographies that I personally liked. And the energy from this is extremely infectious. I really liked the part at 1:49 (of the music video), where they split into small groups and guide each other.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10

* The Red Side is Red Velvet’s more energetic releases, including Dumb Dumb and Red Flavor. Red Velvet also has a Velvet side, which consists of One of Those Nights and Bad Boy.