Red Velvet – “Red Flavor” Review

(Music Video) / (Live Performance)

Red Velvet – Red
Flavor

Reviewed
on July 27, 2017

But,
unfortunately, when it comes to focusing on “Red Flavor” in a more critical
lens, I argue there are many problematic points in the song. While many fans
might desire to praise the creative aspects of the song and even claim that
such aspects are the song’s captivating points, I entirely disagree as I argue
the composers’ creative attempts are ironically and unintentionally the song’s
weak points.  

Personal Message:
I did plan to get this review out
much sooner, and indeed it is not the request on Day6’s “I Smile.” That said,
the requested review will be finished a few hours and will be posted
accordingly so or held until a day depending on how I want to space out the
month’s remaining reviews. Unfortunately, due to an unfortunate series of
headaches a few days ago, this review and Day6’s “I Smile” are technically
behind two days, but all should be fine regarding the blog’s schedule. Regarding
why I am reviewing “Red Flavor” in the first place and not handling requested
reviews first as I normally do and should
do, as mentioned in a few prior posts, I have unintentionally analyzed “Red
Flavor” and thus, it would be a waste to not review the song at this point. And
of course, I am also motivated by a sense of guilt as after watching some
shorter videos of Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and Red Velvet together, I
realized I have not paid much attention to the Red Velvet ladies at all. Plus,
with how amazing Wendy’s voice is and her singing abilities—and that she is an
amazing person in general—I felt a need to indeed review “Red Flavor.” (Though,
quite obviously, I am actually reviewing the song for musical reasons and that
will always be the core reason for why a song is personally chosen to be
reviewed.)

Now before focusing directly on the
review, I will take a few seconds to lightheartedly express slight
frustrations—not at this song or Red Velvet or the review, to clarify. Rather,
the issue of “lost-in-translation”—a phenomenon where meaning is lost during
the translation of different languages—has never been as prevalent as in this
song’s case. For this review’s translated lyrics, I admit it might not be the
most accurate at all and that is because I personally have done a relatively
large amount of editing. The current, popular translated version of the song’s
lyrics are slightly too inaccurate from what I have noticed—and this should be
quite concerning considering I am far from fluent in Korean and yet still
notice such discrepancies. As such, the current lyrics are not perfect at all,
but I believe it will make the most sense grammatically for readers of this
review. Language and linguistics are definitely fascinating topics.

Venting aside, let us finally
discuss “Red Flavor.” Personally, I do find myself enjoying the song regardless
of how the review will go. In fact, I find that it might even be Red Velvet’s
best song or at least tied with “Russian Roulette.” But, unfortunately, when it
comes to focusing on “Red Flavor” in a more critical lens, I argue there are
many problematic points in the song. While many fans might desire to praise the
creative aspects of the song and even claim that such aspects are the song’s
captivating points, I entirely disagree as I argue the composers’ creative
attempts are, ironically and unintentionally, the song’s weak points.  

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(5.00/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 6/10


Sections: 5/10
(4.75/10 raw score)

Introduction (Chorus), Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Rap, Bridge, Chorus,
Conclusion

1.     Introduction:
6/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 2/10

6.     Rap: 4/10

7.     Bridge: 6/10

8.     Conclusion: 5/10


Instrumental: 4/10


Lyrics: 5/10

Red flavor
I’m curious about it, honey
The strawberry flavor that melts more as you bite
Corner candy shop
Look for it, baby
The summer flavor is what I like the most

I want to fall asleep under the shade of a tree
The hot summer air blows
So easy to fall in love at the age of 19
We look good together, we’re cool

I like it, it was love at first sight
I keep thinking about you
I want to do it my way

Red flavor
I’m curious about it, honey
The strawberry flavor that melts more as you bite
Corner candy shop
Look for it, baby
The summer flavor is what I like the most

(Red-red-red flavor, red-r-red-red flavor)
(Red-red-red flavor, red-r-red-red flavor)

Open the seven colored, rainbow door
Your world is electric, it’s cool
Your love’s color is redder than the sun
I want it, I want to do it my way

Look at me, what are you thinking about?
What can I do today?
I’m dreaming however I want

Red flavor
I’m curious about it, honey
The strawberry flavor that melts more as you bite
Corner candy shop
Look for it, baby
The summer flavor is what I like the most

Peach juice, sweet and sour mix, mood
The cocktail I want to make you is, “Brew Red”
Electricity in your ears, numbness in your nose
Feeling better than you can imagine, up and bang, red
Bet you wanna, bet you wanna dance like this
Let’s shout out
I like you, honestly
Nervous? You’re sweating, so cute
Falling for each other, we’re red-red, ah

You haven’t figured it out because I haven’t told you
My feelings are growing for you
Like spilled ice cream
I might just melt
So tell me
(Tell me)
So tell me
(Tell me)
With your colors,
paint me, thickly and strongly

Red flavor
I’m curious about it, honey
The strawberry flavor that melts more as you bite
Corner candy shop
Look for it, baby
The summer flavor is what I like the most

In the summer, what I like the most is, you

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Before
getting further, with mentioning “creative points,” I now need to explain what
I mean. After all, such a phrase is incredibly vague and if readers do not
understand the context I am speaking from, then the core idea behind my
argument would become worthless. Regarding “creative points,” I am specifically
referring to how the instrumental functions in the song and the effects it
brings. And while I will later explain why the creativity comes at many
expenses of the song, we still have to acknowledge that there still are
strengths and thus will explain the positive effects.

For
the most prominent example, at the choruses the instrumental differs from many
other instrumentals heard in pop songs. What occurs is that the instrumental merely
provides beats and a bass line. In other words, for why this is peculiar, the
instrumental is a relatively “empty” one and more so as choruses tend to be
climactic points in a song and thus we would expect the instrumental to be far
more active. However, this is not the case at all and in this sense we should
appreciate a far more different approach the composers have taken for “Red
Flavor” ‘s choruses. Furthermore, though, we also need to acknowledge that
there are some positives that are gleaned from this decision: Red Velvet’s
vocals become emphasized as the core sound during the choruses. This results
from how, given the bland nature of the instrumental during the choruses, Red
Velvet’s more energetic and hasty singing sharply contrasts the instrumental.
As such, the instrumental not only gives “Red Flavor” a unique sound during
this instance, but it also enhances the vocals that occur.

Another
example of the unique instrumental aiding the song is when we consider how
consistent it remains throughout. For example, unlike songs that would have a
dramatic change in their instrumental—typically such as when a song’s chorus
has an extremely upbeat, pure electronic solo instrumental—“Red Flavor” instead
remains stable throughout. This in of itself is not necessarily a strength, nor
is having a sudden chorus instrumental change automatically bad, but in this
case I argue it definitely helps the song by allowing the sections to freely
connect to each other. At the introduction, for example, it is not its own
individual section but rather is merely the chorus executed in a slightly
calmer fashion. What allows this interesting structure to even take place in
the first place—since, after all, a chorus as the introduction would seemingly
be far too abrupt—is that the instrumental does not drastically change
throughout the rest of the song and thus, the starting introduction is not
seemingly extreme and out of place. In clearer terms, let us think of it in
this way: we can notice that, at the end of the introduction, the instrumental’s
bass line kicks in heavily. Superficially it is for a transition, but cleverly,
I argue the composers went for something further: we also have to realize that
the increased bass line always occurs throughout the song at certain sections’
ends. And so for why this matters, it goes back to my original point of the
instrumental remaining consistent and predictable. Given that the introduction
section uses this bass line increase at its end and that the instrumental does
this at other points, it makes the introduction seem far more fitting and not a
sheer outlier despite it technically being a chorus section—a section that
would typically be far too exciting to begin a song with.

All
that said, the instrumental still does bring many issues despite it bringing in
the mentioned positive points for the song. In fact, we can return to those
supposed strengths and see how, in my view, many weak aspects are brought as a
result. If we peer back at the choruses and the instrumental, even if it
highlights the ladies’ vocals at that moment, this is still quite problematic.
Already, on the surface there is the issue that emphasizing the vocals at this
moment is perhaps unnecessary and even detrimental: the delivered vocals are
far from being exceptionally stunning. In fact, I argue the vocals at the
choruses serve more as filler than actual sonic appeal. We can realize this by
how the vocals at the chorus carry an echoing, unison sound—something that is
oftentimes done in K-Pop songs to create a “filler” sound—and that the more
tuneful, pleasing vocals are actually located outside the choruses, be it at
the verses, pre-choruses, and definitely the bridge. As a result, then, I
personally am conflicted on whether the instrumental highlighting the vocals
was an appropriate choice: highlighting filler vocals is what should not be highlighted at all. And even in
the case that the composers intended for the choruses to merely be taken as
filler as a whole, this is still problematic as filler sections are seldom
desired and are ultimately there to progress the song until actual appeal comes
in—hence why I term them “fillers.”

Switching
over to the instrumental being consistent and using similar patterns throughout
the song—such as with the signature bass line increase towards the end of
choruses and verses—this is perhaps the song’s deepest problem. Certainly it
allows the song to pull off interesting approaches such as with using the
chorus as the introduction, and of course creating organization in the song,
but a consistent instrumental in “Red Flavor” also means it has to stay true to
a questionable hook used in the song: the murmured line of “red flavor.” Quite
clearly, this takes place most prominently at the post-chorus, but upon closer
listening, we will also come to realize that this very line is indeed murmured
even through the verses and choruses. Yes, it adds some layering to the song
and this is quite important in the choruses as it feels quite empty and hollow
as discussed earlier, but because the instrumental follows its rigid,
consistent style, this means that the murmuring line will also have to
tediously be heard throughout. What I argue is a very poor decision, however,
is that the composers did not just leave this hook line as mere background and instead
opted to include a post-chorus for the “instrumental” (as the murmured, edited “red
flavor” line functions as such) to take its spotlight. Quite bluntly, the
post-chorus not only leaves minimal aural appeal, but the fact that it brings
this background sound to the forefront is what is most troubling and more so
as, unfortunately, it makes sense for why the post-chorus does and almost has to exist. The reason: to stay true
to the instrumental being consistent. With the murmured lines being repeated
already throughout, it makes sense that a break in the song would indeed bring
the murmured lines to front as it is the only main sound left remaining; there
is simply nothing else in the instrumental especially since the instrumental becomes
quite passive during the choruses, the section promptly before the post-chorus.

Overall,
while “Red Flavor” is a unique song
in terms of its composition and that the very creative design to the song does
bring it some benefits, it seems that the song is left with more problems from
its different, creative form. Now this is not to shut down attempts of a
creative song or to encourage all pop songs to stay true to the traditional
format of the genre, but in “Red Flavor” ‘s case, it unfortunately just does
not manage to perfectly get through with its more creative approach. Nevertheless,
“Red Flavor” is still a decent song and is far from anything appalling; after
all, it still scores at an average. Additionally, with impressive points such
as the bridge and how “Red Flavor” manages to capture Red Velvet’s signature
song style, this song is not to be automatically dismissed. There is more to be
desired, but in the end, the song should be appreciated for its uniqueness and
of course that the ladies of Red Velvet deserve to be supported along with the
composers, producers, and other individuals involved in the song’s process. And
even if I am somewhat harsh in this review, as said, I personally find this
song to be quite enjoyable even if critically it remains lacking.

_______________________________________________________

I
will be promptly working on the requested review of Day6’s “I Smile” right
after this review is posted. I highly doubt it will be finished on the same
day, but it might be. Regardless, it should be finished by tomorrow and
similarly, the other two remaining requested reviews should be finished
back-to-back. While July is still quite lacking in content, August will very
likely contain constant posts as I will very much be preparing for university
again. Until then, look forward to three requested reviews, and as always, “In
the summer, what I like the most is, you.”

Red Velvet – “Russian Roulette” Review

Red Velvet – Russian Roulette (Music Video)

Red Velvet – Russian Roulette (Live Performance)

Red Velvet – Russian
Roulette

Reviewed
on September 23, 2016

In other words, it is the
catchiness to “Russian Roulette” that arguably covers its actual stale sound.
After all, robotic or not, the “b-b-b-beat” is delightful to listen to; very
few can help but admire how sweet and swift those catchy phrases sound. Yet,
that is—from my personal argument—a faulty reason to use for persuading someone
that “Russian Roulette” is a stronger song.

Personal Message:
Edit: This review was essentially written before the prior
one
and thus, a lot of the references may seem “out-of-date.”

Although it has not been too long
since the last review, I still want to apologize for not having a more
consistent schedule and for how reviews are now extremely brief. Again, with
university work I am incredibly busy and more so as many of my classes are
rather rigorous this semester. Unfortunately, though, I am now running into a
paradoxical situation: I avoid reviews so that I have sufficient time for work,
but now I am becoming rather stressed as reviews tend to be my stress-relieving
outlet and yet if I write reviews I will also be stressed for not having enough
time. Now what is the point of this rant? To share university life with
readers.

On a more serious note and for
technical updates, despite how busy I am I still very much expect this month to
reach the goal of six to eight reviews. How this will be possible is, despite
my own philosophy of thoroughly deconstructing songs, reviews will now be very
concise and focus moreover on critical points I find. In other words, although
recent reviews became much more brief (and rightfully so) than older reviews, I
still did attempt to cover the breadth of a song via analyzing all of its
categories (lyrics, vocals, etc.); the change, then, was I had a more
appropriate and modest amount of depth. But with my strict school schedule now,
I have little choice but to remove breadth and instead go for depth (in its
current degree) in terms of whatever I deem appropriate.

For example, in GFriend’s “Navillera” review (and indeed this song is very much
my all-time favorite), while the depth has been far reduced from past reviews,
I still covered breadth in terms of how I covered all of the categories. Now,
if I were to re-write that review, I would actually dismiss discussing certain
categories such as the lyrics. This is not to say I will remove the categories
I do not write about; the scoring will remain as is, instead it is merely a
change in discussion and writing. And so what will be the predicted result of
this change? Besides nearly drifting away from a systematic writing of reviews,
reviews might only be two to three paragraphs versus the usual seven or eight.
Most desirable from this is all would be that reviews are a lot more common; after
all, if I only need to discuss what I find are “controversial” points in a song,
I can go in depth on that and then proceed to the next. The only time reviews
would be lengthy, then, is that there are multiple points that require
discussion or that there is a social tangent that would be necessary to
discuss—an example being Hyuna’s “How’s This?” as musically and socially, my
words may be rather controversial. (And yes, it is the next review.)

Clarifications aside, let us dive
into Red Velvet’s latest comeback: “Russian Roulette.” In truth, I am surprised
that this will be the first review on the ladies as they are extremely popular,
and furthermore, that their prior comebacks would have been enticing reviews in
the sense of them causing controversy. Admittedly, I have found many of Red
Velvet’s song to be weaker, but rather than being deterred from reviewing them,
this reason would have provided motivation. After all, the point of my reviews
is to instill critical discussions, and indeed giving a song a lower rating
would, hopefully, cause a level of deeper engagement. Specifically focusing on
“Russian Roulette,” though, many might now be curious on my take to it—both
serious and personal. On a personal level, as mentioned before, this is the
first song by Red Velvet that I enjoy. However, when it comes to a more
critical approach, although the overall score is decent, there are some
overarching flaws that exist. That said, with a lethal game of chance
(referring to Russian Roulette—it is not just a song name), let us take a look
at where Red Velvet gets shot, and of course, where they avoid that fate.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(5.25/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 5/10


Sections: 5/10
(4.50/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Conclusion

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 5/10

5.     Bridge: 4/10

6.     Conclusion: 3/10


Instrumental: 6/10


Lyrics: 5/10

La-la-la-la-la

Surrounded by a sharp secret
Behind a veil
Deeper and deeper, h-h-hush
Aiming for your heart now
This place is the color of a dark night
Even the shadows get lost

Oh you’re always like, “love is game”
You say it’s light and easily enjoyed
Why do you keep saying these bad things
Trying to avoid me?

Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
Not like you, heart b-b-b-beat
Whenever you see me
Until the very last moment
It comes closer and closer, crazy
The risky aim, Russian Roulette
Ah-ah-ah-yeah
La-la-la-la-la
(You’re already)
Heart b-b-b-beat
Until the very last moment
You’ll have to trust me
I’m your sweet Russian Roulette

A dazzling secret
You can’t turn away from it anymore
I’ll p-p-push your button
Accept it now
So your heart can be filled with me
You’ll look for me even when you’re dreaming

Oh you still say, “love is game”
You tell me but your voice is shaking
Past the playful eyes
I see you, not knowing what to do

Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
Not like you, heart b-b-b-beat
Whenever you see me
Until the very last moment
It comes closer and closer, crazy
The risky aim, Russian Roulette
Ah-ah-ah-yeah
La-la-la-la-la
(You’re already)
Heart b-b-b-beat
Until the very last moment
You’ll have to trust me
I’m your sweet Russian Roulette

You never had this deep of a dream before
My heart and this night makes this game flicker
You can’t control-l-l-l-l

Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
About to explode, heart b-b-b-beat
I’ll hold onto the key
Until the very last moment
It comes closer and closer, crazy
The risky aim, Russian Roulette
Ah-ah-ah-yeah
La-la-la-la-la
(You’re already)
Heart b-b-b-beat
It’s already engraved in you, can’t take it out
Deeper in your heart
I’m your sweet Russian Roulette

Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
La-la-la-la-la
Growing heart b-b-beat
It’s getting faster
La-la-la-la-la
Heart b-b-b-beat

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: This
is completely off-topic, but after truly watching the music video and not just
purely focusing on the audio, the music video is a rather brutal one to put
simply. Perhaps the saying of “last woman standing” resonates here—or that
competition can kill friendships. Literally. Nonetheless, I personally find the
music video very witty and creative.

On
topic and onto the song review, first
to clarify, this song is certainly far from “bad”; a simple glance at the
overall rating reveals a five—average. However, I predict many readers disagreeing:
“Russian Roulette” should be rated much higher. After all, supposedly it is the
group’s best release and it has extremely catchy vocals, instrumental,
sections, and so forth. That said, and for where I wish to guide this review, I
disagree on a specific premise: using “catchiness” as a positive trait. It is
this assumption—the assumption that “catchiness” is a strength to songs—that I
will challenge, and with doing so, I hope it reveals that—while indeed the song
is the “catchiest” I have heard—“Russian Roulette” is merely average.

Beginning
with the vocals, on the surface it appears enticing: the melody is playful and
highly dynamic; there is variety when considering the changing tunes, pacing,
and intensity; and overall, that the repetitions of “b-b-b-beat” and others are
simply “catchy.” However, although the vocals are indeed diverse mechanically,
I will argue that the sound of the
vocals is not. The reason for that is in an earlier idea: catchiness. The parts
that are catchy are the moments that tend to repeat fun, light sounds, but on a
more critical view, one should realize the sound involved: robotic, simpler
ones. This, unfortunately, spans across the song in its entirety and is why the
vocals (and others) are rated at average. Yes, with the vocals, I applaud the
variety used mechanically—the various melodies, pacing, intensity—but overall,
there is a noticeable robotic sound to the vocals. Even with different tunes
such as comparing how the choruses sound different from the verses, the main
sound is still reminiscent of a robotic-like one. All this, though, is for the
purpose of catchiness; indeed, it is hard to deny that the vocals and
instrumental are not fun and enjoyable. But, if we strip away from that and
look in a more overarching yet deeper scale, the sounds are reduced to nothing
spectacular.

That
very notion is why I find “Russian Roulette,” while not necessarily bad, not
necessarily strong. The vocals, even if diverse, still contain a robotic and
dull sound. Equally at fault, the instrumental follows suit: solid in
accommodating the vocals and shifting intensities, but ultimately still lacking
as it is, perhaps quite literally, sounds of beeps and boops—sounds of a robot.
And as such, with considering how the sections play out, the song in whole may
retain an extremely fun and upbeat nature, but overall the sections lack
sonically due to the stale vocals and instrumental, and that the sections’
individual structures are nothing distinctive.

In
other words, it is the catchiness to “Russian Roulette” that arguably covers
its actual stale sound. After all, robotic or not, the “b-b-b-beat” is
delightful to listen to; very few can help but admire how sweet and swift those
catchy phrases sound. Yet, that is—from my personal argument—a faulty reason to
use for persuading someone that “Russian Roulette” is a stronger song.
Catchiness is, after all and boldly said, much easier to replicate and
captivate with than other song qualities that should be respected. Of course,
though, this is not to say Red Velvet themselves lack skills or that, once
again, “Russian Roulette” is a bad song. The ladies are very much skilled
singers and with their recent song, the argument I propose is that it is
seemingly a better song than it genuinely is. In other words, “Russian
Roulette” has a mask one: on the superficial level, it appears to be a very
well composed song, but underneath, I argue that it is only average if we are
more critical of its use of “catchiness.” Nevertheless, to end on a positive
note, while “Russian Roulette” is an average song, I still agree with those who
say it is Red Velvet’s best release as of yet and I look forward to their
future releases.

_______________________________________________________

Before
housekeeping news is delivered, I do apologize for being slower than usual. As
one can tell, I am extremely busy with university. For the upcoming reviews, three
male groups are planned and if I am dedicated I hope to write two of those
reviews by today. (I expect needing only one paragraph to review two of those
groups.) Afterwards, Hyuna and MAMAMOO will receive spotlight. And yes, a
social digression will occur with Hyuna’s review as it is germane to both the review
and many current discussions. As per usual, I will focus on complexities of the
topic rather than necessarily persuading readers—though I will clarify some misunderstandings that
occur within the topic. What exactly is the topic? Next week is when I plan to
write the review so look forward to it then.

Thank
you to all for being patient and reading this review in any form. 2PM and
Infinite are the next reviewed groups. Until then, “You’ll have to trust me / I’m
your sweet Russian Roulette.” And no, do not interpret this as a threat through chance.