While SM's critic's favorite girl group f(x) was mired in controversy and forced to abandon their "Red Light" promotions with their fate in question, the company unveiled a new quirky/cute quartet named Red Velvet. While fans of f(x) were somewhat dismayed by what they may have seen as a replacement for their bias, Red Velvet quickly earned their place on the KPop map with their iconic and upbeat "Happiness" release, followed a few months later by a completely different smooth and sultry sound with their inventive remake of S.E.S's "Be Natural." When it was decided that f(x) would continue on as a quartet without their visual Sulli and a new mature, EDM-based sound, Red Velvet was then converted to a quintet with the addition of a new maknae, Yeri. While they'll always be associated with their trailblazing sunbaenim f(x), Red Velvet, in a very short time, has staked their claim to an image and style of their own, backed by SM's hitmaking machinery, of course.
Stylistically, Red Velvet takes a little of the bubblegum and glamourpop of Girls' Generation and mixes in the playful unpredictablabilty of f(x) to create some of Korea's most interesting mainstream pop. This upbeat style is known as their "Red" style, and solidified by their epic single and video "Dumb Dumb" and their solid, critically-acclaimed LP, "The Red." Oddly, SM has given them an alter ego side, the "Velvet" side, typified by a smoother, sultry sound. Much like "Happiness" (Red) was followed by "Be Natural" (Velvet), their powerhouse hit "Ice Cream Cake" was paired with the sleek and sumptuous "Automatic." And after "Dumb Dumb," came the stirring and timeless ballad "One of These Nights" and its EP, "The Velvet." Recently the group has hinted that they will no longer separate their two sides following the release of their latest saccharine blockbuster "Russian Roulette."
Whether "Red" or "Velvet," Red Velvet earns high praise for their compelling performances, athletic and energetic choreography, and tight, smart harmonies. Their lead vocalist Wendy Son (Son Seung-wan) grew up in the Toronto, Ontario area, and is one of the more competent vocalists in KPop, and still improving. Always interesting, fun to watch, and already blessed with an impeccable repertoire, Red Velvet is about as solid as it gets in KPop, and a quartet to keep an eye on.