2017 has been quite the year for Red Velvet. After the huge successes with their ‘Rookie’ and ‘The Red Summer’ albums, it’s not surprising to see them back again with their 3rd album of the year. ‘Perfect Velvet’ is their 2nd full length album following on from 2015’s ‘The Red’ but the first for their velvet concept. SM have promised us an updated sound and visual for the groups more sultry velvet side so have the girls succeeded in fulfilling that promise? Click through to read my review of ‘Perfect Velvet’.
Opening with lead single ‘Peek-A-Boo’, it’s clear from the get-go that this is indeed a new direction in sound for Red Velvet. This is not the high energy pop we’ve come to expect from them but an energising electro pop ditty that exudes confidence. It’s sultry, seductive and got a little bit of darkness to it. This is the more mature Red Velvet that I want to see more of. All of the hooks are still there, the production is incredibly intricate and the harmonies between members are silky smooth. Easily their best lead single Russian Roulette.
As is customary in most releases from SM Entertainment Artists, the second track tends to be my favourite and that’s certainly no different here. ‘Look’ pushes that more mature sultry sound further with it’s strong eighties vibe. This is what I’d call an A class girl band bop. Only a girl group with the right energy and vocals could pull off a song like this. Red Velvet really have come a long way since their debut. ‘I Just’ moves the album a slightly different direction with it’s R&B beats. It’s still high quite high energy with the chants really bringing the whole feel of the song up. Wendy in particular sounds gorgeous on this track. I love the higher range of her voice. This is definitely a grower, I can see myself coming back to this song a lot in the months to come.
‘Kingdom Come’ has already been marked as people’s favourite track but for me, it’s actually the weakest track on the album. I still quite like it, the chorus has a really great hook and the song has a real 90’s R&B quality to it. But this is also the song’s weak point as it sounds a little dated compared to the songs before and after it. ‘My Second Date’ and ‘About Love’ are more familiar pop tracks that could easily slot into any of the girls albums. It’s cute and fun and brings a nice bit of variety to the album.
Almost every Red Velvet album has that song that’s described as ‘experimental’. ‘Dumb Dumb’ and ‘Body Talk’ are two previous tracks that fall into that category and so does ‘Attaboy’. Packed with energy and sass, it sounds like 3 or so songs mixed together as the girls jump from rapping into full harmonies. The production is high energy dub-step style pop which really elevates the song. I could see early Girls Aloud recording this.
As we approach the end of the album, we move into ballad territory and honestly, this is where Perfect Velvet shines for me. There is honestly nothing better than a well produced electro ballad with stunning vocals. And we get that not once but twice with ‘Perfect 10’ and ‘Moonlight Melody’. Perfect 10 has this dream like quality to it. It’s amazing to listen to through headphones as you can really hear the intricacies in the production. Each girl sounds gorgeous with Joy a real stand out for me. The harmonies are sublime. As for album closer ‘Moonlight Melody’, it’s just stunning. It’s more of a standard ballad in terms of production but it’s so beautifully produced, it’s really sleek and uplifting. It’s a fantastic closer.
After the somewhat lacklustre response to Red Velvet’s last ‘velvet’ concept album with ‘One Of These Nights’, I thought that the velvet concepts would be abandoned. Thank goodness I was wrong as this is a wonderfully produced collection of songs that show a whole new side to the group. They are a lot more than just a cutesy aeygo pop group, they have shown us a mature side that fits them like a glove. I hope that as they continue their journey in 2018 that we see more of this.