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While most modern artists choose to collaborate with their peers, Red Velvet has created K-pop’s next spring classic, “Feel My Rhythm,” by collaborating with none other than classical music legend Johann Sebastian Bach. Cleverly released on March 21 (Bach’s birthday), Red Velvet’s “The ReVe Festival 2022 — Feel My Rhythm,” does more than just highlight fun rhythms like the title suggests; it features six eccentric songs that work together to make one of Red Velvet’s most cohesive, sonically pleasing albums to date.
The album title is a reference to the lead single, “Feel My Rhythm,” and a homage to Red Velvet’s music festival concept, the ReVe Festival. The similarities to previous Red Velvet projects end with the title. On their latest effort, the quintet challenged themselves to create “spring” music. In an interview about the new project, Red Velvet’s visionary leader Irene said, “We wanted to show and branch out to a different side of us through dropping an album in spring. We focused on inviting people to Red Velvet’s spring by expressing how we came to spring from the winter season.”
So far, their style experimentation has worked. As of March 20, “The ReVe Festival 2022 — Feel My Rhythm” has recorded a staggering 516,866 stock pre-orders, making it Red Velvet’s most pre-ordered album to date.
If “Red Flavor” and “Power Up” are Red Velvet’s summer bops, “Psycho” is their winter hit, and “Peek-A-Boo” is their autumn anthem, then Red Velvet completes their title as the “Queens of the Seasons” with their latest title track and spring stunner, “Feel My Rhythm.” Sampling the Bach arrangement “Air on the G String,” “Feel My Rhythm” does not hold back on mashing the elegance of classical music with the intensity of K-pop.
At first listen, the song is a bit overwhelming: The instrumentals and vocals pair into a convoluted sound. It starts off deceptively simple with the pairing of Wendy and Seulgi’s silky vocals and violins playing the melody of “Air on the G String,” albeit in the key of C sharp major (the Bach arrangement is originally in the key of D major. The song does an instant 180 as Irene’s entrance and introduction of high hats that drive the song’s rhythm forward. The violin melody of Bach comes back as a motif, especially during the chorus, to inject a spring-like, elegant quality amid all of the K-pop musical chaos. In the chorus, the descending scale when the quintet sings “바로 지금 (Play my rhythm)” is addicting and the stretching of notes in the following lines, “Follow follow my heartbeat / 해가 떠올 때까지” adds to the song’s feeling of longing. With its energetic, feel-good chorus backed by a soulful orchestral melodic line, “Feel My Rhythm” is the perfect child of Red Velvet’s “Power Up” and “Psycho.”
The second and third tracks, “Rainbow Halo” and “Beg For Me,” both find their roots in the “Velvet” side of Red Velvet’s musical style with R&B-inspired groovy melodies. “Rainbow Halo” excels in its pre-chorus that features the members doing a clever vocal interpretation of the lyrics “니가 쿵하고 떨어진 자리 / 누군가 쓱하고 그려놓은 그림,” which roughly translates to “The place where you fell with a thud / The painting that was drawn by someone with a whoosh,” with fun vocal swoops at the words “thud” and “whoosh.” Meanwhile, Joy and Yeri’s smooth, chic vocals pair especially well with the sexier groove of “Beg For Me” featuring an unexpected, but well-executed rap verse from main vocalist (yes, you read that right) Wendy.
The next track, “BAMBOLEO,” is the perfect song for a late night drive with all of the windows down and the spring breeze floating in. The retro instrumentals and Red Velvet’s dreamy vocals, especially Seulgi’s breathy adlibs, succeed in representing the theme of dancing all night and the title, which is Spanish for “sway.” “Good, Bad, Ugly, on the other hand, lets Red Velvet’s vocals shine through its slower, ballad-like tempo. Although this song is arguably the least memorable one on the album due to its repetitive nature, it features beautiful lyrics that revolve around loving oneself, including, “Life is a box of chocolates / Sometimes good, sometimes bad, and ugly / But I love me.”
But, the best B-side track of this well-crafted album is the finale, “In My Dreams.” The song is like a music box winding up in the beginning with soft vocals and building to the refrain that fills with a powerful fanfare before finally winding down to a soft, wistful echo. The members of Red Velvet take turns singing the main line, “In my dreams, you love me back,” but Irene’s version is the most hauntingly beautiful. This song is the perfect ending to an album that featured the best of Red Velvet.
In their press conference, Red Velvet’s main vocalist, Wendy, said, “Going beyond summer queens, we want to achieve the spot of spring queens.” From this author’s perspective, Red Velvet has more than earned that title with this masterpiece of an album.
—Staff writer June K. Park can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @junekimpark.
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“The ReVe Festival 2022 – Feel My Rhythm” Review: With New … – Harvard Crimson