Red Velvet happiness
I wasn’t particularly excited about the debut of Red Velvet when SM Entertainment first announced the impending launch of their latest rookie group last month. It wasn’t because I didn’t have faith in Red Velvet, I just figured that they’d probably take about a year to really bloom and show us what they’re made of, just like Girls’ Generation and f(x) did. That’s probably still true, but it doesn’t mean that Red Velvet hasn’t made a pretty amazing debut with their first single, “Happiness.”

The quartet has already been unofficially billed as the middle-ground between f(x)’s experimental style and Girls’ Generation’s more mainstream sound, and that’s exactly what they deliver. Think early SNSD doing “Rum Pum Pum Pum,” which is just the kind of group SM needs right now.

“Happiness” is a weird, but not too weird concoction of bouncing ball beats, trap snares, and cheerleader chants. It definitely feels like something f(x) could sing if they had a cuter image (one of the vocalists even sounds like Luna), but I certainly wouldn’t call it reductive. It’s more of an EXO situation, where SM have taken the best bits of their existing acts –both musically and conceptually– and combined it to create something new. (However, I do think that Red Velvet already does a better job at being the ultimate SM amalgam group than the dull-as-dishwater EXO does, but I won’t get into that now or this post will just descend into EXO drags.)

When first listening to “Happiness,” I was immediately reminded of an old Grimes interview in which she talked about her favourite K-pop song.

One thing I really like about K-pop is that it’s just, like, “Blah blah blah LOVE blah blah blah HEART!” These tropes of pop music, it’s almost like a mantra. You get so used to hearing them, your brain is like, “I understand.

Grimes was referring to f(x)’s “Love,” but the description applies just as well to “Happiness.” Despite its rich production and arrangements, all you really take away from it at first is, “Lalalalala HAPPINESS! Lalalalala.” It takes a few more spins to start appreciating the other points, like the rapid-fire “I Got a Boy” rap-singing, or the way that the first pre-chorus sounds like folky Avicii EDM, before segueing into another pre-chorus of intergalactic trap-pop.

Just based on music alone, Red Velvet is a killer group, but it helps that they’re also pretty, and that SM’s visual directors have been able to hit another home run with the jungle collage art-pop concept of the music video. I always have faith in SM, so none of this is a surprise, but it’s still nice to see it all come together so perfectly.

If you need another reason to stan for Red Velvet, then just check their debut stages. They were both polished and adorable, and if Red Velvet go the way of previous SM acts by improving their skills as performers with every comeback (hello TVXQ, SNSD, and SHINee!), then we have a lot to look forward to over the next few years.

Thank you, SM: you’ve now officially repented for inflicting us with EXO. Apology accepted!

P.S. Let’s not start complaining about Red Velvet ‘replacing’ f(x) just because of Sulli’s current scandal thingy, okay? They’re not a replacement, just like SHINee wasn’t a replacement for TVXQ. They’re just the next generation, that’s all! There’s still room for all our SM faves (unless your SM fave is CSJH The Grace, of course).

P.S.S. I don’t give a fuck about Red Velvet’s MV scandal, as it has nothing to do with the music or the quality of the group, so yeah.

  • Marhaebwa

    P.S. Let’s not start complaining about Red Velvet ‘replacing’ f(x) just because of Sulli’s current scandal thingy, okay? They’re not a replacement, just like SHINee wasn’t a replacement for TVXQ. They’re just the next generation, that’s all! There’s still room for all our SM faves (unless your SM fave is CSJH The Grace, of course).

    P.S.S. I don’t give a fuck about Red Velvet’s MV scandal, as it has nothing to do with the music or the quality of the group, so yeah.

    FUCKING THIS!!!

    There’s no excuse for shitting on girls who have been training a loooooong time for this debut. My girl (and emerging bias) Seulgi has been on this shit for SEVEN years.

    She was technically SUNBAE to the f(x) girls during training, but then they debuted before she had a chance to.

    The MV did have a major faux pas, but they’re fixing it,

    Jesus, netizens are gonna netisize, I suppose…such tricks…

    • 364Leinad

      I have three possible reasons why the newspaper was included:
      1. SM wanted to create web traffic for RV from angry Japs. After all, any attention is good attention
      2. Considering that Korea supposedly hates Japan, they did to make the girls national heroes
      3. The most likely reason. The MV editor had an IQ higher than the number three and didn’t fucking give a shit what he put in the MV so long as he got paid. He grabbed the first articles he could find and shoved them in without even looking.

      • Marhaebwa

        In my head, I’d assume that 3. definitely stinks of the truest teas and that Mr. MV Editor – even if maybe not realising at first – knew that the articles could cause controversy.
        Because of that though, I’d like to think he believed that if 1. and 2. were (inevitable) side-effects, SM and Korea could only win from this…but how wrong he was.

      • fan

        SM’s major cash cow is still Japan. most of their acts are active there. Tohoshinki is currently ranked at #10 in sales at 900M JPY for all jpn artists, they average nearly $100M ticket sales from tours, and there’s GG, SJ + SHINee yearly tours & album + merchandise sales. BoA’s Japanese activities before 2008-9 during their red years was one of the reasons keeping them afloat. Seulgi’s japanese was highlighted in one of their PRs – hinting of their future acivities. You get how impt japan is to them. plus SM has always been ‘safe’ and inoffensive in image, hype, etc.

        so yeah. this is a major blunder and oversight on the part of whoever made that collage smfh. some firing needs to be done.

        anyway, GG was also incredibly hated debut period by irrational, pressed, jelly TVXQ and SJ fandoms. come next comeback all this will be forgotten lol. plus they already have a lot of organized stans in korea, china, jpn (yeah lol) and intl.

        that said. i really stan for their MV. i love it haha. and Happiness reminds me of f(x)’s Nu ABO when Luna had that high note and took the song in another direction – as YYJ once aptly described it. Any info who wrote the song?

        • oneclearnight

          YYJ actually co-produced the song I think.

      • UncleFan

        4. The director slipped that stuff in as part of his “ironic” artistic vision, and the old farts who run shit at SM didn’t catch it in time because they don’t read English fast enough (or at all.)

  • Dhruv Angrup

    their visuals>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    i wonder which group is the largest contributor towards the dislikes on the mv page:
    salty f(x) fans or delulu exotics or japanese fans(the only ones who sort of have a reason to dislike imo)

  • KingBeaArthur

    That CSJH The Grace shade!! Only you, Jacques <3

    I've fallen in love with them already! The song is another SM ear worm, the mv is thankfully creative [compared to SM's usual box vids], and the girls are absolutely ADORABLE [I'm already down to ride for Seulgi & Wendy!] and talented! My only 'negative' is the preppy-cheerleader/jungle concept: what even? I like it but it's still a bit random to me.

    I don't know why people are attacking the group like they personally caused what's happening with f(x)! Folks need to calm the fuck down and enjoy!

  • It’s like SM created Red Velvet to diss other companies like: “LOL girls in your girlgroup either have visuals OR vocal talent, our girls have both, keep up.”
    They are like APINK doing an f(x) concept

  • James Smith III

    These girls are fire especially that one girl who gets the vocal showdown towards the end! SM knows how to put together a talented group; no one can ever say that their groups do not have talent. So are their fans: cream cheese frosting?

  • James Smith III

    Any thoughts on Hat:Felt?

  • 364Leinad

    Almost everything about this debut is a big fat “YAS!” from me. The song (I’ve been listening to it on repeat all day), the music video. the super hot girls, and perhaps best of all, the hilariously pressed f(x) fans. Irene doesn’t look as hot as she did in the pre-debut videos but I’m sure she’ll become widely recognized as the goddess of fap in the near future.
    Also, completely unrelated, but if you want someone to blame for f(x) cancelling promotions, don’t blame Sulli, don’t blame SM, don’t blame Red Velvet, blame netizens. They’ve been relentlessly cyber-bullying idols for years now and what pisses me off the most about it is that they get completely off the hook.
    Anyway, in more important news (because netizens are never important lol) Red-with-the-blood-of-your-faves-Velvet was the best debut I’ve seen since EXO’s. The ONLY thing I didn’t like about it was the anti-climatic chorus. There’s this humongous build up to the final part of the song during the bridge and then… nothing. The least they could have done was put in some obligatory high notes.

  • Quang Phạm

    It’ll take me some time to tell who’s who. I blame the makeup for making them look alike.
    P/S: I wonder what’s up with YG’s SNSD-like non-debuted girl group.

  • t-errorist

    My favorite song of the year so far. I shit myself every time Wendy’s part at the end comes on.

    Irene is so stunning. I can’t wait for her to take over all the Nation’s whatever titles.

  • Boops

    I really like the song apart from that “rock the world… boo ya” bit.

  • TerriDesu

    Wendy all the way!!!!She’s the reason im sticking around with this group (aside from the song,the mv and styling were a hot mess in my opinion).

  • It’s quite weird at the first listen, but I’m actually enjoying it. The girls are pretty as fuck, too. They all look like improved versions of SM’s hottest girl idols of the past 10 years (?), so I guess they’re doing something right in the clone idol factory.
    As for the controversy, it helped them achieve the “politically committed group” badge (same for Slayon Pop/Crayon Punk and their guerrilla plan to invade South Korea for the Supreme Leader), which is impressive considering they’ve just debuted. :3

  • Johnnyyy

    The song is nice and they look cute but this is release seems so random. SM hyped EXO so ridiculously much and this new group only reinforces the impression that they care more about their boy bands (minus SNSD, of course). No teasers, no pre-release single, nothing.

  • Explicit.

    And Chad Hugo helped to produce this song. Even more of a reason why to like this song <3

  • yosafbridge

    Tbh, I think Red Velvet is going to cannibalize f(x)’s fanbase. They each have the visuals of Sulli without the baggage of Sulli’s pseudoscandals, Krystal’s perceived bad attitude, Luna’s lack of visuals,Victoria’s foreign ethnicity and Amber’s lack of femininity. And they’re pretty consistent vocally across the board without Vic/Sulli’s weak vocals. Which is why f(x) stans are reacting so defensively and lashing out at Red Velvet. They recognize, somewhat accurately, that RV’s rise may well spell f(x)’s impeding doom.

  • Bagas Kumoro A.

    Nobody screaming for Joy (the green haired girl)?
    I love her since the first line she sang, she reminds me of eunji from apink and yooyoung from HV lovechild.
    And Yes, this is a killer track (at least for me) i’ve already replayed this these past few days

  • “P.S.S. I don’t give a fuck about Red Velvet’s MV scandal, as it has nothing to do with the music or the quality of the group, so yeah.”

    that’s why i always love coming to your site. it is (mostly) about MUSIC!

    i really liked red velvet and the grimes quote was the BEST to describe happiness. although i’m still not sold about the song, it did glue to my mind so it’s okay.

    however i’m still mourning the fact that fiestar’s hana deo wasn’t a bigger summer hit. they deserved so much better than sistar’s boring fuck my body…. sorry i’m random lol

  • Sunny

    5/10 Meh. As for the group, they don’t seem to have a tragic looking member which saddens me as i tend to stan them. But this just means they’re one of the prettiest girl groups out there.

  • Mandy

    I like them and the song but I don’t LOVE either although I do want to! But it does seem like Red Velvet will gain some of f(x)’s fans for obvious reasons

  • O.

    “Thank you, SM: you’ve now officially repented for inflicting us with EXO. Apology accepted!”

    Amen!