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