This month, SM's cherubic quintet was thrown to the pop-loving masses once more with another batch of cute but oddly disruptive pure pop, their new E.P. Rookie, and its cheeky title track. Since their inception, Red Velvet has rocketed in popularity, and now one of KPop's top three girl groups, along with Twice and Blackpink, dishing out edgy classics like "Ice Cream Cake" and "Dumb Dumb". "Rookie" is the latest that string, but with an unexpected childish boisterousness one would expect more from Crayon Pop. Are these the same kids that did the timeless "Automatic?"
After an impressive emergence, DSP Media's all-in bet to return to relevance, the co-ed quartet, K.A.R.D returns with the second of three planned "pre-debut" singles, "Don't Recall." Considering DSP's recent track record of clumsy disbandments of Kara and Rainbow, they could not have asked for a better reception. K.A.R.D kicked off the week as one of the hottest iTunes downloads on the planet. If their next release is this successful, we'll have to stop talking about how much we miss Kara and Rainbow.
The song starts out with a simple minimal synthetic house rhythm, pondering at first, but building nicely and patiently as the voices of their two female singers - Jiwoo, then Somin, first solo, then together, then giving way to Big Matthew's talk-singing momentary setting the stage for a sleek vocal harmony from the lead singers. Somin and Jiwoo's voices are intertwined perfectly as dual leads through the entire piece as the backing instrumentation, primarily synths, builds subtly with each verse, chorus, and J-Seph's angsty rap break, until breaking loose with slick chord changes in the final coda. Throughout, the production is simple, restrained, relying heavily on the wonderfully spun vocal harmony and memorable synth melody over the top.
This is a remarkable second effort by the quartet, building off of the momentum set forth by their previous release "Oh Nana" that featured Young Ji as the so-called "hidden card." According to sources, there will be another version of "Don't Recall" that will feature a "hidden card" - since that was what the often impenetrable minds of DSP billed as a major part of the group's concept and what the "D" inexplicably was supposed to stand for - a guest musician or vocalist in each song. Considering the four have yet to officially debut, the company, having just released an odd "Theory" video attempting to explain the rather pleasingly simple video, will use the alternate video to set their burgeoning fanbase afroth. We wish them well. So far, K.A.R.D has been a welcome, if not much-needed, addition to the KPop scene.