It may seem easy to be able to compare K-Pop artists, based off of whatever criteria, and choose one of them to boast towards friends and foes as a favorite. But the simple act of having a favorite has led to the creation of some of the most competitive fanbases ever conceived, just as how the K-Pop industry itself is one of the most competitive on the planet, period. K-Pop has transformed social platforms to a brazen battlefield, with wars having been waged with the goal of proving that one K-Pop artist is best. And so, as long as there is a K-Pop artist who is able rise above the rest, whether with quality, popularity, or whatever, there must be thousands that are nowhere near as close to carrying that same oomph. It's good to acknowledge these stragglers of K-Pop every so often, and today's stragglers just so happen to be SM Entertainment's one and only, Red Velvet.
The Perfect Red Velvet is a reissue of Red Velvet's second full-length commercial ALBUM Perfect Velvet, and once more attempts to showcase the two sides to the SM artist: the Red, which is the energetic, exciting, and entertaining aspect of Red Velvet, with poppy choruses and show-stopping production, and the Velvet: the passionate, pronounced, and pristine side, with gorgeous lead vocals and serene hooks at the cost of more secluded and laid-back production. Already with these two sides, The Perfect Red Velvet boasts extreme sonic variety, a necessary element of K-Pop to ensure potential boredom is as little as can be. But are they able to capitalize on this extreme variety with an unforgettable experience of an ALBUM?
The Perfect Red Velvet is opened pretty well by the Red Side of the record. With fusions of electropop, synthpop, and dance-pop, the Red Side is strongly characterized by ecstatic vocals, elated lyrics, and the same go-getter attitude that made HYYH era BTS as fresh as it was, all of which is encompassed by bright and breezy production that'd be able to catch anyone's attention from miles away. Across the five odd tracks that represent the Red Side, Red Velvet often present these marvelous choruses, handsome hooks, and beautiful verses that, when backed by pleasant production, make for some standout K-Pop. Though Red Velvet occasionally come off as a weakened version of the extravagant Feel Special-era Twice (made apparent by the lackluster drops of tracks such as Peek-a-Boo and My Second Date), for the most part the Red Side of The Perfect Red Velvet is able to exudes the adolescence and luster that makes K-Pop as distinctive as it is.
However, the record is closed out pretty poorly by the Velvet Side. R&B is a style that, when executed crudely, can lead to some of the sleepiest moments music has to offer. That's why other shades of R&B (ex. Contemporary R&B) have been able to excel as far as they have, because they add new elements that spice up the R&B experience. KR&B is mostly the same, as K-Pop's passionate vocal performances and expressive production mix superbly with the ballads that come from R&B. But the way The Perfect Red Velvet layers the R&B tracks over each other makes the record way more monotonous than it would be otherwise. Rather than scatter the Red and Velvet tracks across the length of the record, so that each track would generate equal excitement, Red Velvet opted to pace the record as slowthai paced TYRON, separating the slow from the fast. Though that may seem cool on paper, it only caused the first half to seem tame compared to the second, and the opposite is true for The Perfect Red Velvet. It starts strong with the Red Side and ends poorly with the Velvet Side.
It's sad to report that inconsistency has taken yet another victim with The Perfect Red Velvet. The record starts off well enough, with plenty of excuberant bops that permeate electropop with the trademark expressiveness of K-Pop, but it doesn't take long to succumb to its frontloaded nature, causing the backend of the project to feel hundreds of times more sluggish than it should be. Without the same climactic conclusion as a Love Yourself 轉 'Tear', or the same overpoweringly phenomenal leadoff as a She Is, The Perfect Red Velvet is doomed to a status of forgettableness. Whereas with the conclusion of the two previous projects above, my head was seething with excitement and was desperate to restart the record. But when The Perfect Red Velvet stopped, my head was completely empty. The record is nowhere near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to K-Pop, but it's just overwhelmingly...
Favorite Track(s): Bad Boy, Look, I Just
Least Favorite Track: Perfect Ten