Red Velvet Proves They’re K-pop Royalty with Queendom

By: kyotosgirl
08/17/2021
en
Queendom

On August 16, Red Velvet made their highly-anticipated comeback with the release of their sixth mini-album Queendom and their aptly-named title track. This marks the first time the group released a project as a full group since 2019 when they released their third full album The Reve Festival: Finale.

 

Exploring the Queendom

Red Velvet’s sixth mini-album opens with the title track “Queendom.” The track is just the latest installment in the ‘red’ concept summer hits, with “Red Flavor,” “Power Up,” and “Umpah Umpah” preceding this track. It is an upbeat, pop dance song that features catchy hooks and captures the group’s signature harmonies. The message behind the song is one of self-empowerment, autonomy, and community.

The second song on the album is called “Pose.” It starts with a prominent bass and features heavy synth use. It starts with a spoken verse, then transitions into a more melodic pre-chorus, regarding both the instrumental and vocals. The chorus features a build-up and more speaking parts, which leads up to a beat drop and the readdition of the melody heard previously in the pre-chorus. The bridge reverts to the spoken style and includes a brief use of snare drums. Overall, the track is upbeat and has a club-like feeling to it.

“Knock on Wood” is the third and longest track from the six-track mini-album, clocking in at three minutes and 40 seconds. It is in the key of B minor and starts with synth chords only at the beginning. This is another upbeat track, but this time the song has an R&B feeling. The group uses plentiful harmony in the chorus, especially when they sing “no, no, no, baby.”

The fourth track, “Better Be,” is another R&B track. It opens with dissonant chords and a strong bassline and has ubiquitous harmonies distributed throughout the track. Particularly, on the pre-chorus, the chorus, and the bridge. Many of the sung harmonies are seventh chords, which you can often find in jazz music.

“Pushin N’ Pullin’” is the fifth track on Queendom. The track begins with sound effects similar to that of a marching toy, with mechanical-like sounds and a bell at the beginning and a spoken opening. The melody comes in with a rhythmic piano and prominent drums, and the chorus includes rich harmonies. The lyrics describe the push and pull of a relationship, and the uncertain, but ultimate decision to trust the other person.

The final track on the album is called “Hello, Sunset,” closing out Queendom with a ballad. The intro features synths, a prominent electric guitar, and bass. The chorus features the members singing in unison, contrasting their frequent use of harmony. However, the second verse features their signature harmonies, as do the bridge and subsequent choruses.

The group’s synergy is complimented by that of the writers and producers behind the tracks, which includes producers minGtion, Moonshine, Andreas Oberg, and KENZIE, with lyricists Cho Yoon-kyung, Isran, and Seo Ji-eun. 

 

Pose Just Like That: Visual Insight

The music video for “Queendom” opens with the shot of a man dropping an Airpod, which falls down a hole and drops into the space Red Velvet occupies. The first few frames set the scene, with the members assigned various roles at a package distribution center, with maknae and main rapper Yeri receiving the role of “Trainee Witch,” perhaps a nod to the Queens Mystic General Store archive project. Early on, the camera focuses on Irene, who has two different colored contacts. Yeri follows Wendy towards the lost and found, where Seulgi sits, and the camera focuses on Joy, who throws a package labeled “Rough Vehicle Lost & Found” in the air.

Multiple members display magic powers, which also seems to nod to the Queens Mystic General Store project. The next scene features Irene teaching Yeri how to use magic, with Joy coming in to admire Yeri’s work. The following frames include the group choreography, Wendy and Seulgi getting their lists in order, and the full group taking a flying cart with packages in the back to deliver the packages. The second verse features the members in a garden sharing tea, interacting with the yard decorations, and using their powers once again. The final scenes show Yeri being gifted her own wand, and the members sitting around a table with various fortune-telling items, such as a crystal ball and tarot cards (the King and Queen of Swords), signifying Yeri’s full initiation into the group. The members each have a single major arcana tarot card in front of them: Irene with The Hermit, Joy with Temperance, Seulgi with Strength, Yeri with The World, and Wendy, but the design on her card cannot be seen.

There are two different versions of the physical album. The ‘Queendom’ version has two different dust jacket options: the ‘Carnival’ version, where the group is seen posing next to some construction equipment, balloons, and purple and black coordinated outfits, and the ‘Queendom’ version, where they are posing around a miniature town and all-black ensembles other than leader Irene, who is pictured in a white double-breasted coat. The ‘Girls’ version of the album features photos from the first set of teaser images, which pays homage to the current ‘high teen’ image that is trendy in Korea.

 

Nothing Missing

This comeback marks the first time the full group has released music since 2019 when they went on hiatus due to their main vocalist Wendy suffering an accident. In the meantime, the group spent their time on solo projects, subunit releases, acting, DJing, and MCing.  

On July 25, the Red Velvet Twitter account posted an announcement for the Queens General Mystic Store archive promotion, announcing that the group would make their comeback in August. The full schedule was posted on August 2, finally giving fans a specific date to look forward to for the first time in over a year. The first teaser images came out August 4, with the tweets containing Joy and Seulgi’s photos each earning over 100,000 likes. The music video and mini-album came out August 16 at 6 P.M. KST, and the group hosted a Beyond Live a couple of hours later to showcase their new work.

 

Want more Red Velvet? Read more about them here!

Thumbnail courtesy of SM Entertainment.

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