/r/popheads Album of The Decade #28: Red Velvet - The Perfect Red Velvet (only korean album on the list):
This name change is intentional and signals an interesting thematic move on the part of the group/their company. Whereas the original The Velvet was all ballads/slow jams, Perfect Velvet included a number of uptempo dance songs that pushed the definition of their “velvet” side, and when three additional tracks were added for the repackage the distinction between “red” and “velvet” was lost entirely. Rather than the abandonment of their concept this represents an evolution of it. Rather than deciding whether this album will be “mature” or “fun” they decide that it can be both; the ideals behind “red” and “velvet” aren’t opposites, they’re perfect compliments to one another. In a lot of ways it’s a fairly simple idea but in actual execution it feels shockingly unique. Pop albums that are this dark are rarely also this upbeat, and the combination is winning.
The album is firmly a pop album, but in the tracklist it also touches on r&b, soul, disco, hip-hop, and more. Even for the notoriously genre blending Kpop industry this is a pretty wide net to cast. Take a peep at the track list of the album and you’ll notice that almost 50 writers/producers are credited, with lyrics/songwriting/production being handled by almost entirely different groups. Along with domestic writers/producers SM Entertainment are known for buying English demos and repurposing them, which usually leads to a hefty list of contributors. In an era where we crave authenticity I’m aware that this might make some people side-eye the album, but I don’t think that this style of making an album takes away from its artistic value at all. I think there’s something kind of beautiful about tons of writers/producers from around the world all coming together and working to craft one perfect album, guided by the talents and principles of a single talented act. You can see some of the writers talk about it here. However you personally feel about, the results speak for themselves: Every song on The Perfect Red Velvet is unique, yet cohesive with the others.
Creating cohesion and taking this “Red/Velvet” fusion idea further is the album’s aesthetic. Look at its striking cover art: Pure shades of red and black form the silhouettes of five girls walking away into some strange, unknown landscape, with the title of the album plastered above them in bloody font. The teasers and videos for both Perfect Velvet and The Perfect Red Velvet used a horror movie theme, with Perfect Velvet depicting them as mysterious witches and The Perfect Red Velvet playing up a more ambiguous “bad girls” image. This energy permeates the album in the form of the girls’ forceful performances and the general “heaviness” of the production giving even the more innocuous songs an air of darkness. Pounding bass, industrial noises, even the softer, lighter songs have an air of gravitas and sophistication to them.
Pushing against this heaviness is the actual writing and thematic content of the album. Surprisingly enough, this is an album about young love! Pretty much every song on the album is a love song, and the sweetness of the lyrics balances out the darkness of the production and makes this album “Red Velvet” rather than just “red” or “velvet.” Contrasting cheerful infatuation with dark/aggressive imagery has always been something Red Velvet flirted with, but they truly realize the potential of the formula on this album to amazing effect. The contradiction of innocence/violence in their music gives it a kind of surreal ambiguity that lets it be appreciated from a number of angles. It captures that love can be scary, violent, and wonderful all at the same time.
Consequence of Sound - 10 K-pop Albums Every Music Fan Should Own:
Red Velvet — The Perfect Red Velvet (2018)
Red Velvet, among many things, have built a reputation out of having an unmatched repertoire of stellar B-sides when it comes to K-pop girl groups. And the reissue of their The Perfect Red Velvet album is their magnum opus. Though the singles, “Bad Boy” and “Peek-A-Boo”, give us Red Velvet at their cheeky, R&B vocals best, the album cuts explore everything from nu-disco to trap-beats to beautiful harmonies. Red Velvet started out their careers by separating themselves into two identities: “Red” is the vibrant side while “Velvet” is the sultrier one. The Perfect Red Velvet, with songs like “My Second Date” and “Attaboy,” broke that binary by combining both identities and making them work as one bold, yet sleeker, nuanced persona. They also relied on their emblematic “velvet” sound with lush alt-R&B ballads “Perfect 10” and “Kingdom Come”. The repackaged version of The Perfect Red Velvet set Red Velvet up as the cool girls of K-pop and also leading, key players in a highly impacted scene.
Top Track: “Look”
using this to talk about rv bsides lol what are your fave rv bsides?
Source: popheads, Consequence of sound