Known widely as the “Summer Queens” due to their blissful tracks like “Red Flavor,” “Power Up” and “Umpah Umpah,” Red Velvet is now reaching for the Spring Queen’s throne with their recently released album, The ReVe Festival – Feel My Rhythm. Exploring a wider range of genres, Red Velvet takes on the challenge of bringing classical music into K-Pop, and the end results are simply magical.
With enchanting visuals and an eccentric concept, this new era of Red Velvet pays homage to their “Red” side with a sprinkle of “Velvet” flavor. They don ballerina shoes and take fans to a blossoming spring garden in their magnificent teaser. It becomes clear that this newest single is going to be the anti-“Psycho,” which is another hit single from their previous album, The ReVe Festival: Finale. The contrast is clear with the heavy use of parallel imagery to the contrast of color. This change of concept, once again, showcases Red Velvet’s range as global K-Pop stars.
Right after the first spring flower bloomed, Red Velvet dropped the music video for title track “Feel My Rhythm” on March 22. Given this song was released at the beginning of spring, its release date was intentional. “Psycho”‘s release in 2019 also followed this pattern. While “Psycho” exhibits a darker, more mature side of the group, “Feel My Rhythm” taps into a happier vibe. It isn’t a bubbly girl power song like “Queendom,” nor a vengeful girl crush concept like “Bad Boy.” “Feel My Rhythm” brings the magic of growing up by combining beautiful imagery of fantasy and femininity into an ode to self-journey, love and life’s joy.
“Feel My Rhythm“ starts with the melody of Bach’s “Air on the G String,” opening the door to this exquisite album with layering and delicacy. The title track was a tribute to the beauty of classical music and modern pop. Red Velvet mixes both styles together, creating a sound that’s new to the ear but will stay in the heart forever. It’s serene, captivating and feels like a spell is cast from the sound. With the harmonious vocals, “Feel My Rhythm” is one of the most refreshing K-Pop songs of all time. It’s magical, unique and overall a perfect song.
The element of trap in this track alone deserves acknowledgment. It’s not a Red Velvet song without a little mix of chaos, like in “Peek-A-Boo” or “Russian Roulette,” and “Feel My Rhythm” is no different. It’s like Bach is on the mix pad with a folder of music samples in his hand. It’s a trappy, punchy song and when you mix it with Red Velvet’s soothing voice, you get yourself a Bach and Yoo Young Jin lovechild: a dance-pop bop.
“Rainbow Halo” continues this symphonic song by introducing fun beats into the tracklist. The use of groovy bass and enticing saxophone creates an electrifying R&B song that is just plain fun and enjoyable for everyone to hear. It’s a colorful song that translates well with listeners because of its perfectly placed vocals and notes over the sparkly and twinkly beat. The use of synth is so well-crafted, especially in the chorus, guiding the listener to focus on the addictive rap line by line. “Rainbow Halo” will successfully ascend you into another world before pulling you back onto the next track.
Fierce, powerful, and unapologetically sexy, “Beg For Me” is another great banger from this album. Joy & Seulgi’s low-pitched rap paired with insane dynamic vocals in the chorus really showcase Red Velvet’s vocal strength as a group. The group maximizes their charm as the song slowly brings you down with the beat. It’s sensual, sultry, and fiery in the most Red Velvet way possible.
With the sudden arrival of retro songs in K-Pop following songs like GFRIEND’s “MAGO,” BTS’ “Dynamite” and Taeyeon’s “Weekend,” Red Velvet presents their own spin on this trend by reviving the city pop genre more than ever before with their track, “BAMBOLEO.” A slow disco song with rhythmic bass and electric guitar perfectly deliver as a dreamy retro dance-pop accompanied by the group’s mesmerizing vocals. Give yourself one listen and you will agree that “BAMBOLEO” is one of Red Velvet’s strongest B-Sides from all of their discography.
Their next track, “Good, Bad, Ugly” ironically speaks for itself. Another R&B song with a more mid-tempo sound, this track is another self-love anthem. The lyrics, “Sometimes good, sometimes bad, and ugly,” perfectly describe my feelings regarding this song. With a similar sound to other previous side tracks and an overused message of self-love in pop, “Good, Bad, Ugly” just feels weak between this set of great tracks. It isn’t a bad song, per se, it’s just difficult to compete with other great songs from the album when “Good, Bad, Ugly” brings nothing new to the table. Just like the lyric said, “You can’t avoid it, can you?/Why don’t you enjoy it./Without leaving anything behind?/Slowly taste it one by one.”
With the best being saved for last, the final track of this album is the slow ballad, “In My Dreams.” Capturing the imagery of a starry night, Red Velvet showcases their angelic voices during their solo parts or even when singing in unison. Their soft and ethereal vocals bring the song to a whole new world of a melancholic, pastel-colored fairytale. The harmonization and hidden vocals are simply chilling and otherworldly. It tells the bittersweet story of a naive, unrequited love with such heart and emotion that will leave you teary-eyed.
With wonderfully arranged music blended with the members’ harmonious voice and diverse vocal color, The ReVe Festival 2022 – Feel My Rhythm is a strong contender for the best K-Pop album of this decade. It’s fresh, dreamy and overwhelmingly captivating. Red Velvet’s ability to take on every kind of concept and genre is put to the test with this new musical path, and they pass with flying colors. Even when they’re trying something new, Red Velvet maintains their dedication to K-Pop. This should be admired and hopefully, it will inspire future groups to do the same.
Overall, The ReVe Festival 2022 – Feel My Rhythm proves, once again, that Red Velvet will always be the leading group in the industry. They’ve had their fair share of integrating experimental sound into K-Pop with “Zimzalabim” in 2019, and now they’re elevating the genre even higher. During the first quarter of the year, Red Velvet already secured their place in the running for best K-Pop album of the year. The only thing that could closely compete with their new album is their own comeback, which was revealed to be happening before the end of this year.
Listen to The ReVe Festival 2022 – Feel My Rhythm here:
Featured image via Red Velvet on Twitter.