Rookie girl group Red Velvet finally gets it right on its fourth mini album. Forged with the dual concept of “red” (vivid and upbeat) and ‘velvet” (chic and reserved); the young K-pop ensemble from SM has for the longest time, struggled with that sonic duality.
But Rookie sees the girls – Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, Joy and Yeri – striking a balance between saccharine and sophisticated. There’s a good mix of fun pop numbers and heartfelt ballads here, and they get better as the EP progresses.
That said, the selection of the titular track as the lead single is a curious decision. Despite its insanely catchy arrangement and energetic delivery, the number – with its juvenile chants and generic synths – is probably the weakest offering in this six-track collection.
The girls redeem themselves on the accompanying Little Little though, a mid-tempo ballad with smooth R&B treatment in its pleasant chorus. Ultimately, the better numbers on the album belong to the more experimental songs.
The quirky Talk To Me employs the use of haphazard electronic arrangement to create a fun funk-driven dance tune. Meanwhile, the icy synths of Body Talk stands out thanks its retro rhythm and a very polished electronic production that accompanies great vocal harmonies.
While the group may have stumbled in some of its past releases, this relatively solid album proves that Red Velvet is surely shedding its status as a K-pop rookie.