Remember last year? It ended so soon! It was a tough year for K-pop, but apart from everything’s that happened, the music that was pumping out in 2019 did not let up, with many artists going in different directions for their sound.
One in particular was popular SM Entertainment girl group Red Velvet, who decided to take things in strange fashion, going for offbeat and disjointed in the initial part of their ‘ReVe Festival’ mini-album series. It certainly divided their (and K-pop’s) fanbase, as it was a totally off-kilter sound. Now, you’re probably wondering if it holds up at all after last year, and if the mini’s songs have any of the same sound… then step right up and see!
Are you ready for this? “Zimzalabim“!
What in the heck is this song? What have we done? Nothing wrong, for sure! This is a fun song, despite it being so… ‘huh’. “Zimzalabim” is an exercise in what was also done for NATURE’s ‘OOPSIE (My Bad)’, where concrete and regular song structure is not a thing. Parts of this song is somewhere in one genre, while the other goes for a full-on new vibe and rhythm, and other parts turn themselves inside out. It’s a hyper-electro, hyper-pop dance track that has the ‘festival’ feel down-pat, but it proceeds to then trip that up like it’s on acid. It’s ‘I Got A Boy’ mixed with five f(x) songs incorporating Red Velvet’s distinct vocals. It’s zim, it’s zala, it’s bim. Take us higher, girls, because this is how you make a disjointed song sound so good (I’m looking at you ‘I Got A Boy’).
Sunny Side Up!
Red Velvet isn’t done exploring genres, as they go for a reggae beat in “Sunny Side Up!“, a fitting song for the summer it was released. Following a reggae-like melody, the synth of the song hits nicely, taking over the entire song. It’s a catchy, swoony beat, and the song isn’t as in-your-face as some of their tracks. The track has more of their Velvet feel, while still having a sound that hits nearly like a Red track. This is a track that doesn’t feel all scrambled up (thanks Wendy) and is worth its inclusion into the mini-album.
No, we’re not heading into a cover of a well-known Kelis song. Red Velvet sings about loving us like “Milkshake“, and it’s a fun little jam. While it doesn’t quite have the oomph or catch that usual Red Velvet songs have (hello, is my bias showing?), “Milkshake” still has an enjoyable feel, throwing us with a low-synth bass that hits throughout the song while having a slight doo-wap vibe on top of that bass, mixing modern with nostalgia. It’s a song that has a jive but is still fitting for this time and age. A delicious milkshake, but probably a once-a-few-times kind of milkshake.
친구가 아냐 (Bing Bing)
Chinguga Anya (Bing Bing)
Not Friends (Round and Round)
Here’s where things really pick up! “Chinguga Anya (Bing Bing)” is wickedly hyper, and it makes total sense as it takes after its namesake. Like the spinning of a wheel, the song spins itself round and round with its rolling synth beat, meshed with guitars, ayys, and a groovy stinker of a bass guitar. It’s a wild ride that has you funking to the beat, and it flips itself around every now and then to really keep your attention. It’s a fun song, and it’s a great song to sing along to. This song has got me going round and round, and I love it.
안녕, 여름 (Parade)
Annyeong, Yeoreum (Parade)
Hello, Summer (Parade)
Starting out with a electro-whistle beat, “Annyeong, Yeoreum (Parade)” hits hard as it goes forward. Almost like it’s taking on a video-game like sound, the song keeps its fun sound going throughout, changing tempos with every moment, speeding up as it nears its chorus. It’s perfectly crafted to feel like the occurrence of a summer parade, with its slight slow start introducing the parade before going all-out right into it. My only wish for the song was that it was longer, but much like parades, they don’t last all that long. This is still quite the parade, hitting right where it needs to hit.
I love elevator music, and “LP” is elevator music like none other.
I mean, it’s not quite a joke, but jokes aside, “LP” is a unique and fun little track that tackles on a sound that you could hear in a Wii main-screen or in an elevator. With its light piano synth, the song goes from its simple tune to parts that have frantic trumpets going (which then incorporates itself into the tune as it continues). There’s even a rather cool, hyper dance break in between, but it still feels light. Due to its otherwise simplistic nature, “LP” is a very relaxing song, and the girls aren’t belting their vocals, going for a more subdued, lighter tone. A wonderful closer to this ‘EP’ (this ain’t a long-play).
A great mini-album, and a fantastic start to their ‘ReVe Festival’ series! There are some really awesome tracks on this release, and it’s a shame I didn’t get to enjoy them more when they were released (I started listening to this album too late into the year…), but regardless, Red Velvet manages to impress again and again. I’m hoping that the second and third portions deliver like the first had done, so there’s some higher expectations for those releases (please don’t disappoint).
So far, I’ve had a good time at this festival, even with ‘Zimzalabim’ going places I never thought it would go, and with their other tracks keeping the momentum. This is a good sign that this festival is going to get many people like myself in high spirits.
MUST-LISTEN: 짐살라빔 (Zimzalabim), 친구가 아냐 (Bing Bing), LP