[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

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