Review

Song Review: Red Velvet – Peek-A-Boo

Red Velvet have had an incredible year so far, dominating (to varying degrees) both the winter and summer with mega-hits Rookie and Red Flavor. The latter felt like a true watershed moment, made even more impressive by its killer selection of b-sides. With Peek-A-Boo (피카부), the group has teased a combination of their “red” and “velvet” sides in an attempt to create something approaching a “perfect velvet.”

Honestly, “perfect” is a bit of a stretch. But following up on something as gangbusters as Red Flavor was never going to be easy. Peek-A-Boo incorporates many of the quirky influences we’re used to from Red Velvet’s music, but its adherence to a played out tropical instrumental and lack of a knockout chorus blunt its overall effect. Luckily, the producers salvage the song’s less-inspired moments with an ever-evolving arrangement. No verse or chorus unravels in exactly the same way, pulling in blasts of brass and gurgles of bass to give the track an addictive, snow-balling effect. Where other groups might have rested on the trendiness of their production, Red Velvet add a sense of unpredictability with constant ad-libs and asides.

Long-time readers of The Bias List should be able to predict my biggest issue with Peek-A-Boo. Like so many modern pop songs, the central hook is given over to a repetitive instrumental drop. The playful xylophone (?) loop we get here is certainly original, but it feels like a missed opportunity for something more substantive. The chant-like addition brought in during the latter half of the track helps to beef up this perceived flimsiness, even if it still feels just shy of hitting the mark. Maybe that’s because we’ve already heard the girls tackle a similar structure with July’s superior Zoo. Rather than replicate that song’s boisterous nature, Peek-A-Boo simply maintains Red Velvet’s super-solid singles run. In a discography as strong as theirs, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. But I was hoping for another slam dunk.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

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10 thoughts on “Song Review: Red Velvet – Peek-A-Boo

  1. Me too. I was hoping for something a little more year-end-award-show. Still, it was a solid effort at combining the 2 sides. Oh and while we’re at it, how would you compare PAB to Russian Roulette? And have you listened to the full album yet?

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    • Hard to say, since one’s been out for over a year and the other only for a day. But as far as first impressions go, I definitely prefer Russian Roulette.
      Haven’t had time to listen to the album yet, but I’m excited to delve into it tomorrow!

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  2. I’m usually okay with repetitive instrumentals like those in aoa’s excuse me for example, but while the rap break helps a lot to tackle the boring repetition in excuse me, i just couldn’t find it in this one.

    But the b-side track my second date is quite good imo. I’m looking forward to your opinion about it.

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  3. I think Peek-A-Boo is an absolute stunner, though maybe not as a title track. This album is a dream, however. I can’t even breathe through it, that’s how breath-taking it is. Kingdom Come is my favorite so far. I Just and Second Date are very, very good.

    Next year, I want more Velvet! In the colder months, I think RnB is what warms us up the best!

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    • Having listened to the whole album, I’m feeling like I’ve been left off of the hype train. It’s solid enough, but I’m not getting the effusive “album of the year” feeling that so many have described. Lots of interesting production and gorgeous performances, but few knockout melodies.

      But then again, I’ve never been a huge fan of their “velvet” side, so that probably colors my opinion quite a bit.

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  4. We on the same page BRO! I initially thought that this was a copy edit and paste of ZOO. IMO this one shouldn’t have been the Title track, i wanted RV to showcase their vocals not another “jump to it” song with a reptive instrumental breaky, Nevertheless i like this song. Haven’t heard the B-sides yet though, Can you recommend which i should listen to first?

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  5. Pingback: Top Three K-Pop Songs of November 2017 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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