Red Velvet are embracing their quirky side with a brassy new single “Dumb Dumb” and their debut full-length album The Red.
“Dumb Dumb” vaguely resembles the Ariana/Jessie/Nicki hit “Bang Bang,” but is pulled every which way that it hardly resembles such a catered-to-Top-40 hit. The melodies are interrupted by giggles and spastic horns while the structure is never totally defined with it unclear which parts are meant to be the chorus or the hooks, and instead it mashes into an undefined-yet-addictive slab of brassy pop.
The lyrics to “Dumb Dumb” detail the gals struggling to get their head straight when a boy is around them, so the spastic production pairs nicely with the confused emotions. But despite the randomness of the song, a rap section where members drop lines equating their love situation to Michael Jackson tracks still feels misguided and messes with the song’s pace.
The music video is equally random as the RV gals prance and dance around colorful sets, mostly set in factory areas with conveyer belts spitting out Pippi Longstocking-inspired copies of the girls. There isn’t a ton of choreography showcased here, but the most impressive point comes during the ladies’ spot-on robot dances, looking like actual mannequins — a play off one of the track’s lyrics.
The unexpected sonic shifts and shocks in “Dumb Dumb” continue throughout The Red, the group’s debut full-length album released just hours after the single. Red Velvet previously told Billboard about embracing the two sides of the group — the fun and pop-oriented “red” side and the mature, R&B-inspired “velvet” side — but appropriately The Red lets the former shine.
The best Red tracks are the unexpected genre-mashes like “Don’t U Wait No More” (blending a cappella, vocal layerings with bouncy electro-pop and hip-hop rhythms — hear in a snippet tease below), “Red Dress” (which opens with fast-paced claps before dropping into a lush blend of synthesizers and trappy snares), and album closer “Cool World” (with an intro similar to “It Takes Two” ahead of the sweet, girl-group harmonies throughout). It’s an impressive, solid debut album and potentially indicates big things for the act that needs to follow in the footsteps of their beloved female label mates Girls’ Generation and f(x).
Stream The Red on Spotify now.