On 17th November, SM Entertainment met international acclaim with the release of Red Velvet’s second studio-album, “Perfect Velvet”. Despite Red Velvet—who have met a lot of success since their debut in August 2014—only now releasing their second studio-album, it is an album that very clearly demonstrates the groups development and maturity. Bold and upfront, the album features pop, hip-hip, soul, and R&B sound with some interesting overlaps with other genres. Released as a nine track album, if you haven’t already listened to it, I’d definitely recommend you do!
‘Peek-A-Boo’ opens as the title track: an up-tempo pop track with a house and synthpop undertones, it’s a great opening track. Vocally, it’s great but nothing spectacular. Having said this, the focus isn’t vocals or even instrumentation: instead, it’s about experimenting with a new sound, and for that, this track can only be said to be a success.
‘Look’ moves us into totally different territory: 80’s disco with an R&B take. The vocal harmonies are great here and work well with the disco synths. It’s beautifully executed: mellow and easy to listen to, ‘Look’ is a great track.
Things move to EDM-Pop with a focus on vocals. ‘I Just’ is one of the strongest and probably most contemporary-sounding tracks on the album. The choruses are heavy, but are supported by great vocals. The electro-synth can be a bit heavy at points, but in some ways just adds to the beauty of the track.
‘Kingdom Come’ completely changes tone: a beautiful and sexy R&B track with 00’s pop tones, ‘Kingdom Come’ uses the vocal line in a completely different way to ‘I Just’. Supported by a constant drumbeat and amazing vocals, you feel like you’re being transported through this track very smoothly and without much trouble, allowing you to appreciate the tone of the track. Definitely one of my favourites on this album.
My Second Date
R&B is an important feature in this album and ‘My Second Date’ is no different, except for the hip-hop feel of course! It’s also brings in a mixture of EDM and synthopop sounds, that add to the sass of this track. ‘My Second Date’ is definitely one of the most experimental on the album, but doesn’t detract from the overall album.
The previous track moves us into some shaky ground—not for Red Velvet who execute it well but instead for us. It’s a more heavily hip-hop and trap influenced track with rap lines that are a bit jarring. I can’t say that it’s my favourite on this album, but Red Velvet pull it off amazingly well.
Things move back into the R&B, Red Velvet’s safe sound. It’s another slow tempo R&B, sexy and seductive, sultry and soporific. Instrumentally, it’s so simple and yet beautifully cohesive. Vocally, it’s also been put together so well and again, like ‘Kingdom Come’, you feel like you’re being carried through it.
‘About Love’ speeds things with a jazzed-up pop track that plays on vocals and throws all the members into a fun and cutesy sound that you can just hear they had fun making. It’s simple and easy to listen to, and a welcome listen after the R&B tracks.
As with any Hallyu album, we conclude with a light ballad—not sad though! Acoustic guitar, strings, piano, light drums, it’s the perfect combination for a ballad and a perfect ballad for an amazing vocal group like Red Velvet. As I say with many other groups, ballads tend to be quite similar and this track is no different: but it’s still a lovely conclusion to the album.
Overall, this album is great! It plays with some interesting sounds, some familiar sounds and some experimental sounds as well, and showcases Red Velvet’s musical development. Whilst I must confess that some of the tracks didn’t entirely win me over, they have been produced very well and executed very well, and for that, I congratulate Red Velvet. Fighting!
Review by Tariq