Debuting in 2014, Red Velvet are SM Entertainment’s newest girl group. Their unique concept has them releasing both quirky uptempo pop (“red”) and refined r&b (“velvet”), resulting in a diverse discography that’s sure to please a variety of tastes. Like f(x) before them, their music lies on SM’s more experimental side, ensuring that k-pop remains creative and weird and absolutely wonderful. Here are their ten best title tracks.
10. Yossism (2016)
Released as a part of the soundtrack to an animated kid’s show, Yossism’s lightweight pop/rock structure is expected. While it doesn’t match the quality of the group’s full-fledged comebacks, it’s still a pleasant diversion.
9. One Of These Nights (2016)
Following the massive success of their uptempo Ice Cream Cake and Dumb Dumb, the pensive balladry of One Of These Nights initially seemed disappointing. But the song has aged well, painting a soft, vulnerable side to their music. (full review)
8. Would U (2017)
Driven by its gospel-inspired piano and simple, harmonic melody, Would U is a light, head-bopping entry that’s perfect for spring. (full review)
7. Automatic (2015)
Taking its cues from smooth 90’s r&b, the supple Automatic proved that the girls could be every bit as irresistible when tackling a more refined sound.
6. Rookie (2017)
Grating on first listen, but inescapable soon after, the big, brassy repetition at Rookie’s heart somehow manages to skirt right past “annoying” and land closer to “ebullient.” (full review)
5. Be Natural (ft. Taeyong) (2014)
A faithful cover of S.E.S’s original hit, Be Natural established the girls’ “velvet” side, while giving us an early introduction to NCT’s Taeyong.
4. Ice Cream Cake (2015)
In many ways, Ice Cream Cake was the track that truly launched Red Velvet to superstardom. Its heavy pop beat and playful playground chant of a hook marked an aggressive push into more idiosyncratic material.
3. Happiness (2014)
A kaleidoscopic pop explosion of a debut, melding a bright stomp of percussion with its irresistibly upbeat chorus. Nothing beats the bombastic, diva-esque vocal assault during Wendy’s middle eight.
2. Russian Roulette (2016)
With its choppy, retro synths and bubblegum chorus, Russian Roulette offered yet another sonic shift for the group. The song’s lively tempo and complex arrangement belied the undeniable simplicity of the pop melody at its core. (full review)
1. Dumb Dumb (2015)
Moving from strength to strength, the beat-heavy Dumb Dumb came as Red Velvet were beginning to establish themselves as a real force in the k-pop market. Its unending volley of hooks is unmatched in their discography, blending dance, hip-hop and pop to create a breathless onslaught on the senses. It’s a song that sounds unlike anything else out there.