RED VELVET’S new song ROOKIE might not have been what we expected and sure–we could’ve all appreciated a break in between comebacks for the girls–but it actually does grow on you.
GENERAL CONSENSUS: Mixed Reactions
For many, it seems hurried and as a result, under-produced in terms of the usual SM Entertainment products. And many have also pointed out that it seems like a step back for the group in their discography and should’ve chosen a different track as the lead single and made ROOKIE a filler B-Side. And a lot have also said that no matter how the RV fans try to butter it up it is still a song that should have been released in 2012 or a song that isn’t entirely palatable to the majority of the public. The bigger concern here is that Rookie seems like a bad move at this point in their career.
THE SONG: Very Bright and Very Oddly Executed
As a track that was clearly made to be danced to and is intentionally charming, Rookie is a song whose strengths lie in its peculiar charm and preppy aftertaste. The song itself is heavy-laden with funk and pop bits scattered here and there.It definitely has it’s best moments just like Russian Roulette and One of These Nights did. As with most of RV’s songs, you find yourself either singing along or bopping to a tune in your head. The easy beat in the background is especially catchy during the parts leading up to the more melodious parts of the song. (The telephone ringing however, did not amuse me at all.) The arrangement and overall production choices made throughout the composition of this song are laughably questionable at worst and haphazardly wacky and cheerful at best. It fails in the parts where the happy build-up doesn’t seem to pay off as nicely as one would anticipate.
THE MUSIC VIDEO: Interesting But Seemingly Lackluster
I would personally like to think that all I’m interested in is the fashion (which everybody else has been tirelessly debating on in the MV’s comment section) and the weird Flower-Human Thing spoiling the video that makes an appearance everywhere. The hidden messages were also very interesting for me as I couldn’t figure out what they had to do with the song and with Red Velvet as a whole. The MV for One of These Nights had better flow, heck even the Dumb Dumb MV had a better flow in all it’s erratic mess. The sets lacked cohesiveness for me yet I couldn’t seem to help myself from re-watching the video and streaming the album on Spotify (which, by the way, says it isn’t available anymore when I’ve literally just listened to it a day ago.)
SOME THOUGHTS: Trivial Comparisons
I guess you could say that from the very start, SM’s youngest girl group has always been on the track of a precision-cut wayward track their sister group f(x) has paved out for them. (And yes, yet another f(x) comparison. It honestly can’t be helped.) So many fans felt that a lot of f(x)’s unreleased tracks have been passed on to the (sort of) younger RV to re-brand as their own. (Which supposedly happens quite a lot in SM as I Got A Boy was supposed to be an f(x) song.) Especially since the moment RV arrived on the scene, f(x) began to embrace a more challenging dynamic as their concept; one that put their signature quirks into what is considerably a different shade that is rarely showcased in them. And this matters because now that Red Velvet has seemed to have taken on the role of being the experimental group then SM might know what they’re going with this 4th EP.
It’s also a good effort collaboration between The Colleagues and SM; in a way that The Underdogs and SM did as well in Girls’ Generation’s Mr.Mr. The “Where’s Waldo?” concept has already been notably used by Orange Caramel, I.O.I and Red Velvet themselves. I was wondering where it all tied in and how did it differ from their previous themes. I wanted to have a chance to find out yet I was never given such an opportunity because even though it does highlight the quintet’s “Red Side”, it was somewhat presented in a hurried manner.
Overall I admit that had this group not been Red Velvet, the song might’ve passed by me and I would never have tried listening to it but I’m glad I did because like everything else Red Velvet has given us so far, Rookie is fresh and uniquely entertaining despite its chaotic delivery. I also think that SM started to deliver more out-of-the-box songs as KPop has been facing a repetitive wheel of colorful yet generic releases and this proves true with Red Velvet’s songs, SM Station and NCT. Therefore I’m quite happy that SM isn’t afraid to venture into the unknown spaces of what Kpop can do because I get a variety of songs I can expect from the artists I love, and still be surprised or even conflicted about them.
[all images are taken from Red Velvet’s website]