Red Velvet Plays Dangerous Games and Pranks in “Russian Roulette”

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Ever since their debut in 2014, Red Velvet has been on a constant uphill climb to success. With a dual concept of “red” and “velvet” songs (a concept that Black Pink shamelessly copied this year with their “black” and “pink” concepts), S.M. Entertainment has a lot they can work with, and their newest single, “Russian Roulette,” may be their best one yet.

As a song, “Russian Roulette” fits the “red” concept Red Velvet has been running with for years. However, instead of being bombastic like “Dumb Dumb”, Red Velvet takes a subdued approach. It’s an electropop song, but it feels different with the addition of arcadey-synths, specially auto-tuned lyrics (the la-la-la parts), and constant energy packed in the instrumental, making it feel distinctly Red Velvet.

Then we get to the music video, which only adds to the song’s charms. At first, the mix of red, orange, yellow, and green can be hard on the eyes. However, doesn’t feel out of place when you add it to the hilarious Tom-and-Jerry concept surrounding it. Within the video, we get a bunch of scenes of the members trying to “kill” each other in standard cartoon fashion, which includes but is not limited to:

  • Wendy setting Seulgi’s shirt on fire
  • Wendy pushing Yeri in a shallow pool
  • Three of the girls knocking over some lockers onto Seulgi
  • Yeri replaces Irene’s cereal with nuts and bolts
  • Two girls push Wendy into oncoming traffic
  • Wendy and Seulgi pushing a piano down the stairs onto Irene and Joy

However, despite the utter ridiculousness of each of these scenes, they are played off very subtly, making the Tom-and-Jerry concept hard to understand until you see the three or four cartoon scenes of a bootleg version of both characters imitating the very things Red Velvet are doing to each other. It’s incredibly fun to watch once you get past the color choices for the concept.

If I had to have any qualms with this comeback, the song lasted thirty seconds too long and the hairstyles of the members ranged from okay to atrocious. However, both of these things feel like nit-picking at this point, and anything this comeback does wrong comes off very minor in comparison to what other groups have done this past year.

Needless to say, I love this comeback a lot, and if Red Velvet keeps coming out with stuff like this they will likely have a fan in me. Now all there is to wait for is their imminent “velvet” concept that I’m sure will be coming sooner rather than later if I’ve learned anything about how Red Velvet works.

May it be as good as “One of These Nights.”

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