Song Review: Red Velvet – RBB (Really Bad Boy)

The first time I heard Red Velvet’s Dumb Dumb back in 2015, I thought it was a complete mess. The song has since gone on to become one of my favorite tracks in the group’s discography. I mention this because new single RBB (Really Bad Boy) gave me the exact same impression upon first listen. Red Velvet haven’t released something this all over the place in quite awhile. The optimist in me hopes that the song will replicate Dumb Dumb’s trajectory, but a few of its choices give me doubt.

In short, there isn’t really much of song within Really Bad Boy’s cacophonous vocal arrangement. It rarely takes a moment to breathe, but its melody is largely composed of one simple refrain, riffed upon until those riffs grow quite tiresome. Some of this works, especially when the girls’ vocals are layered into a packed, confrontational arrangement. However, too much of the track is shellacked with higher register ad-libs that are downright unpleasant to listen to. It’s a novel production choice, and gives Really Bad Boy a tense energy that may or may not have been intentional. But ultimately, it feels like a swing and a miss.

Things grow even worse each time the track pulls actual shrieks into its sonic brew. Kudos to anyone who can tolerate these jolts of ultra high-pitched agony. You’ve got a stronger aural palette than me. It’s too bad, because there are moments within Really Bad Boy that hearken back to the best Red Velvet has to offer. I appreciate its crazed, throw-it-all-at-you instincts. Its brassy beat deserves a stronger hook. And when it comes to tight harmonies and ambitious arrangements, few groups do it better than Red Velvet. Really Bad Boy is hamstrung by its more polarizing choices, but the girls continue to paint outside predictable K-pop lines. For that alone, it’s hard to label it a complete disappointment.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25



17 thoughts on “Song Review: Red Velvet – RBB (Really Bad Boy)

  1. Fine vocal performances (albeit heavily tuned), some really bizarre production choices and a mediocre song. Those screams are annoying AF! However, RBB totally fits into RV oeuvre and it’s probably just my fault for expecting something better/different. I’m not their intended audience anyway.


    • What about going to fuck youserlf asshole? Your music is mediocre. Those screams are called singing, something you can’t do. GO LISTEN TO MAMASHIT motherfucker fuck uuuuu.


      • Seriously. Calm. Down.

        Posts like this make you come off like an unhinged lunatic. We respect each other’s opinions on this site, even if they’re different. If you can’t manage to respond without insulting others, I will block you from posting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah I wasn’t that impressed when I heard it either… but it really only took me a couple times to appreciate it a little more. The song is pop at its most concentrated, and the hook is probably their most potentially grating since Rookie. That being said, I appreciate it for being an absolutely mind-boggling song. It throws away most ideas of structure in a pop song, has only about ten to twenty seconds of an actual verse, blends the pre-chorus with the chorus, and is in your face the entire time. The hook is different and more layered each time we hear it, and never really builds to anything much (except for screams and a deliciously sassy “oh my god!”). By the time we get to the bridge, it doesn’t feel like their has been much “song” at all. I can’t quite decide whether this is good or bad, as by this point it really makes no difference. It’s less of a song than it is one potential hook drawn out for three minutes. It’s odd, strangely timed, and at times kind of annoying. After all, it’s a Halloween-themed song released the day before December. It’s a Really Bad Boy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. the song remind me somuch with rookie but it’s dark version. Kind of boring and not my favorite song from them. But their live performance save the whole mood of the song, so energetic.


  4. This is a bizarre waste of excellent production and a great instrumental riff. I mean, sure it’s impressive that Wendy can project a whistle register note, but is there really a point to the “we should let our vocalists warble around on the blues scale over the instrumental instead of writing a proper hook” style songwriting choices? I mean, I… why?


  5. after finishing the song it feels as if they were singing he’s a really bad boy for 3 minutes straight and threw in as much adlibs as possible. an odd song, at very least, but fits red velvet’s discography overall.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My biggest question with this song was first… why that title? secondly… halloween was in October 😀

    That being said, I haven’t made my mind up about the song yet, but I don’t think I’m a fan.


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  12. I’m probably the only person who liked this song from the first listen. So many people except some die-hard Reveluvs seem to hate it. That bridge is definitely worth mentioning. Also, the live performances were some of the best of their career.


    • OK I went back to the review and saw this. I have gone from passionately hating it to completely loving it. Looking back I feel myself a complete idiot lol.


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