The queens of Red Velvet confidently straighten their crowns as they make a lively and royally fierce comeback.
With everything from the flavors of the seasons changing from citrus drinks to warm pumpkin spice, to everyone switching out the flip flops for the booties, the moody season of autumn is clearly upon us. Even so, Red Velvet holds fast to the sunnier months in Queendom, a fun and vibrant album bursting with all of the confidence that the warm sun and cute summertime outfits inspires in a person.
Queendom feels like clinging to the magic of summer for as long as one can, a bubbly farewell to the upbeat and energetic mid-year months. This theme makes for an album that will get ReVeluv everywhere through that late-summer slump.
Red Velvet are the queens indeed of this sort of seasonal duality with their split "Red" and "Velvet" concepts that give us sugary sweet bops in one track and smooth, rich vibes in the next. It's appropriate, then, that Red Velvet leaned more toward the "Red" concept for their highly anticipated summer release; many of the songs feel like plunging a straw into a vibrantly colored slushy before we commit to the warmth of our pumpkin spice lattes.
The girls really know how to keep the energy going, too--not just in their music but in their interactions with fans throughout the years. Recently, Red Velvet celebrated their seven-year anniversary, a true milestone that every k-pop group hopes to reach.
To commemorate their 2014 debut, the ladies took to Naver V Live to connect with fans on August 1 and reminisce upon the past seven years during several different segments of celebration. The broadcast began with a fun and high-energy dance to their first single, "Happiness.” Afterwards, the members touched upon their individual lives at the time of debut, offering fans a closer look at how the girls started and where they are now.
As for the album itself? It's definitely the pick me up everyone needed.
Queendom begins with its title track, an upbeat and inspiring number that harnesses the power of feeling confident on the inside. Confidence comes from more than just one’s appearance, and the ladies of Red Velvet are here to prove that to be true. This anthem reminds the listener that no matter what's going on around them, at the end of the day, they are all they need to be at their best. Lyrics such as "we are kings and queens ... strong and beautiful" repeated in the chorus drives that home. The emphasis put on inner beauty really makes this track empowering and strengthening.
The tune is also vibrant and upbeat. It encourages you to get up and dance out the blues to bubbly EDM beats complete with a catchy melody. The track will have you crooning out just how good you feel about yourself in the mirror with a hairbrush, just like when you were little. Still, there's nothing childish about the song; it manages to stay fun and whimsical while still feeling grown up, with references to royalty underpinning the mature mindset of finding self-love.
Queendom leads the way into “Pose,” a track that brings all of that inner, mental confidence to the outside and displays it on the surface. “Pose” transports you to the fashion runways of Paris and Milan with hard-hitting beats much like high heels stomping with purpose down the cat walk. With the clicky beats, you can hear the unseen cameras flashing on you in the production as if all eyes are on you. It encourages you to really feel yourself and literally strike a pose for the world. Imagery of that model lifestyle carries the song over a powerful rhythm that you can strut your stuff to while feeling like the main character in your own life.
“Knock on Wood” begins to slow things down while still capturing the listener’s attention. SEULGI starts it off with her unique vocals against the thud of distorted bass and melodic synths helping to keep the beat flowing. It leads into the slow build up in the bridge before crashing into the disco-inspired chorus full of funky basslines and beautiful vocal harmonies that all blend together perfectly.
The fourth track on the album, “Better Be,” takes a turn toward the "Velvet" side of things with an early 2000s RNB vibe and lyrics that show their confidence in an entirely different way; the song tells a story of a woman who knows what she wants from her personal relationships and won't accept anything less, because she knows she's worth it all.
The theme of confidence in this album continues on, delivered in “Better Be” by sassy individual vocals and the harmonies that Red Velvet are known for comprising the choruses, all dancing atop syncopated hip-hop beats that maintain its danceable and light nature in face of such direct lyrics.
On the topic of iconic Red Velvet vocal harmonies, “Pushin' N Pullin'” provides a stunning display of those in this relaxed tune. The lyrics explore themes of a flighty relationship between two people, while the synth keyboard-backed melody stays gentle and encouraging throughout the entire track, something that is well suited to the lyrics.
As if recognizing that the end of those long summer days is near, the aptly-named “Hello, Sunset” brings the album home with groovy tropical vibes and a laid-back touch that makes you feel as if you're lounging beachside under a shady palm tree, drink in hand, watching the sun greet the horizon. The feeling you get from the song falls in line with its lyrical themes, those of which explore the sadness and regret of leaving behind a burning summer love as the two say goodbye to those sweltering summer evenings.
All in all, Queendom is a solid release that perfectly captures the vibes we all feel from June to August. Red Velvet impresses once again with their newest mini album, with its natural shift from bright and bubbly to something more introspective throughout its progression. It serves as an appropriately timed farewell as we wave goodbye to the sunny season, but one that I’ll be listening to for many seasons to come. Grab a copy of Red Velvet’s Queendom for yourself here at the SM Global Shop!