Review

Buried Treasure: Red Velvet – Bing Bing

Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.


Red Velvet’s Zimzalabim has proven to be one of the year’s most divisive title tracks, which surprises me because I find it much more palatable than previous single Really Bad Boy. As usual, though, Red Velvet’s mini album is strong all the way through. No one song stands heads and tails above the rest, but there’s a welcome sense of cohesion throughout the entire thing. For now, my standout is the funky Bing Bing.

I’m curious about the origins of the expression “bing bing,” since there seem to be so many K-pop songs with the exact same title. Is it just a placeholder sound, or does it actually mean something? Either way, the song finds Red Velvet at their grooviest. The instrumental bops on a chugging guitar loop that reminds me of Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen by way of Destiny’s Child’s Bootylicious. A repeated injection of harmony gives the track instant character while taking advantage of Red Velvet’s strength as performers. Bing Bing’s chorus is repetitive as well, but not in the monotone way that repelled so many from Zimzalabim. In fact, I think this hook would have worked very well within Zim’s carnival-like atmosphere. It has a touch of retro funk to it, and will no doubt make for a fun concert highlight.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

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18 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Red Velvet – Bing Bing

  1. Being a recent addition to my library, I’ve been listening to The ReVe Festival: D1 a lot in the past few days. While “Sunny Side Up” and “Milkshake” were the reason I purchased this release, the remaining songs are all earning “thumbs up” in random order. While “Zimzalabim” has not earned a thumbs up, I’m no longer skipping past it when it queues up, so there’s hope for it; sort of.. ..but not really.. ..maybe.. ..or not.

    I agree, Bing Bing’s guitar sounds lifted straight out of Edge of Seventeen. While I like this song, I’m starting to get this weird little sensation as I listen to this entire album that RV is starting to sound more like SNSD. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I like(d) Girls’ Generation and Red Velvet for completely separate reasons. The former gave me pageantry and glamour, the latter gives me sass and brass (bravado; not the instruments).

    Part of my love for RV is that they are more ‘off the leash’ than SNSD; which were all about precision, polish, and perfection. It’s as if SNSD and f(x) had a love child and named it Red Velvet. Does that make sense? I don’t know. Maybe I’m starting to turn into a curmudgeon.

    P.S. GET OFF OF MY LAWN!

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    • I think RV will be more “polished” eventually because one of the member is still growing. Also I completely feel you on the “bracing for title track” mindset, to me it really brings up the longevity of the album by a lot

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      • This conversation sent me on a bit of an SNSD binge, and I think I forgot how much I love their discography. It’s upbeat and poppy without being overly cutesy like so many girl groups nowadays.

        I know that Twice are considered the new “national girl group” in Korea, but I would really like to see the debut of an heir to SNSD’s sound. I thought GFriend might fill that hole, but their style has changed over the past couple of years.

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        • I am gonna complain a bit on this one. SNSD is known mostly of “Gee” for its meme potential, but the message in “Into the New World” is so powerful and inspiring and it is just unbelievable how much SK has walked backwards from this, I highly suspect if “Into the New World” is out today the MV would be considered “too feminist”. GFriend and Twice literally has the same original aesthetic but to me GFriend was even more questionable since there are underage implications in their early works, but eventually the members all evolved enough for them to walk away from this while twice… I doubt when XCX wrote “Fancy” what she had in mind was still “사랑해” as literally every other title track but here we are.

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        • Note: The bulk of this reply addresses your post, while passively addressing Gabriel Tan’s other reply to your post.

          TL:DR Marker #1: Choosing a National Girl Group is complicated.
          TL:DR Marker #2: I have an opinion on this, but.. ..eh?
          TL:DR Marker #3: A message from a sponsor.

          – #1 ——————————————-
          I’ve thought about which act could succeed SNSD as “The National Girl Group”. Before we can figure that out, we need to understand the rules. Which is true?

          A: Only “one” group can represent the nation and it “has” to be a girl group.
          B: There could be numerous National Groups spread out across different criteria (e.g., National Boy Group, National Girl Group, etc.).
          C: There’s only one group and gender doesn’t matter. It could be all male, all female, or co-ed.

          For the sake of proceeding forward, let’s suggest the answer is “A”: it has to be a national girl group. Okay.. ..are there any disqualifying factors? For example, if we are weighing TWICE as a nomination for this title, then..

          – This group represents the spirit of Korea. Does every member “have” to be Korean? TWICE is 44.44% non-Korean. What are the complications of MiMoSa and Tzuyu being in a group representing Korea versus their home countries?

          – Does the groups music have to only reflect Korean values? When SNSD earned the “Nation’s Girl Group” moniker, they were in their cute and safe period (not that they ever really left that later on). Does Korea want songs like TT, Signal, and Like Ooh-Ahh representing the country?

          – Who get’s to make this decision, how is it made official, and how is it monitored? or.. ..is this even considered an “official thing”, as recognized by the government of South Korea? Was SNSD ever officially proclaimed “The Nations Girl Group” by The Blue House?

          – #2 ——————————————-
          If you’ve read up to this point, you get where I’m going with this. It’s more of a mess than appears on the surface. as I am not Korean or a citizen of South Korean, I’ve no skin in the game; literally. My opinion is moot.

          From my ‘outsider’ perspective, there have only been a handful of “Girl” groups that were “National” level. The old guard (2nd Gen) had SNSD, KARA, Wonder Girls, and BoA. Add a little “edginess” to the mix and there was Secret, 4minute, miss A and Rainbow. Add a lot of edge and you can throw After School, Brown Eyed Girls, 2NE1, etc..

          Newer groups (post-2nd gen) that qualify are Apink, April, Oh My Girl, GFRIEND, and Lovelyz. Add a little edginess and can add Red Velvet, WJSN, LOOΠΔ, Girl’s Day, mamamoo, SISTAR.. ..actually, you can throw every groups name out at this point.

          Again, it’s not up to me and, to tell you the truth.. ..the answer doesn’t affect me. It won’t change which groups I like or alter my opinion in any way. It’s just for bragging rights.

          – #3 ——————————————-
          STAN LOOΠΔ!; sorry, I’m shameless.

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          • It is interesting to seriously think about that. Just want to bring up a point that I think people are more happy to omit women’s nationality when it comes to “representing values and images” than men’s. On the reality though, in political events it is actually Red Velvet doing this “representing” thing (Winter Olympics, North Korea), and it is obviously not in any way popularity vote. During winter Olympics we saw NCT and it did not seem to be big deal if some members are not Korean. SM seems to have more political entanglement especially with the army and the Democratic Party in SK.

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  2. Interesting review as always! I’m still reeling from Zimzalabim, but the mini album is really nice. Btw, bingbing is roughly equivalent to round and round.

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  3. I totally love this song, like I am playing this on repeat this could have been such an fun MV, I know other songs are great too, but this song is total fun, also, I love LP, the waltz and jazzy tone in between is such icing on the song😍😍😍

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  4. I have also been wondering about “bing bing,” so me and my semi-terrible Korean skills went on a hunt to the good ol’ ko.dict.naver.com for answers. The following is JYHB’s Bad Korean Guide to Bings, Bingles, Bangles, and Bingle Bangles:

    “Bing bing” is an adverb that tends to modify verbs like 돌다 (to turn, spin, etc.), 맴돌다 (to circle, linger, hover, etc.), or 돌아다니다 (to wander or roam). The definitions for “bing bing” are honestly super annoying and hard to read but my best approximations in English are:
    1. continuously circling a fairly large range (?????? the example sentence talks about dragonflies circling in the autumn sky, so I would imagine it to mean “literally going in a big circle”)
    2. “continuously wandering around here and there” and;
    3. an adverb referring to “suddenly getting dizzy” (presumably as in “my head is spinning”)

    Seems like bingbing consistently refers to circles, in both literal and metaphorical senses. In this case, it modifies the verb 맴돌다 , suggesting that the subject of the song is clinging to/hovering around Red Velvet. In a song like Oneus’s – excellent, very good, and fantastic – “Bingbing,” where it’s used by itself without an obvious verb to modify, it probably does translate well to “round and round,” like another comment said.

    I also checked ¨bingle bingle¨ for Big Bang, “bingle bangle” for AoA, and “bangle bangle” for good measure, and those all refer to things going in circles. The only difference across the definitions is that “bingle bingle” seems to refer to large things going in circles, while “Bangle bangle” is for small things going in circles, and “bingle bangle” appears to be size-neutral.

    Amusingly enough, there is also bbingle bbingle (intensified bingle bingle), bwingle bwingle (aegyo? bingle bingle) and pingle pingle (SUPER INTENSE bingle bingle).

    P.S. This song is alright.

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    • This is actually really informative, and I was wondering myself.

      Myma’s bad guide to Korean:
      b and p are the same consonant in Korean so bingle bingle = pingle pingle
      g is the same as k so Gyuhyun = Kyuhyun
      (except when it is kk which is different)
      And that y or w inserted here and there is supposed to help us pronounce it better, but really the problem is that French missionaries transliterated the Korean language back when and not, say, Italians who would have made it all perfectly phonetic.

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      • A lot of times b and p are romanized interchangeably often since there isn’t a totally uniform system of writing Korean in this alphabet. This and other “pronunciation aids” really make it hard to read romanized Korean and understand 100% of what’s happening.

        For clarity’s sake, I mean:
        ㅂ=b
        ㅃ=bb (tense version of ㅂ)
        ㅍ=p (aspirated version of ㅂ)

        Therefore:

        빙글빙글=Bingle bingle
        삥글삥글=bbingle bbingle
        핑글핑글=pingle pingle

        The case with g/k is actually quite similar, with ㄱ, ㄲ (tense), and ㅋ (aspirated). Korean really does have separate sounds for what English calls b/p and g/k, but romanization systems are quite poor at representing this since they’ve shuffled around a lot over the years. This affects names a lot, so often you’ll get the same name romanized differently and other fun quirks.

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  5. Good song. For anyone else it could have been the lead single. This has the interesting chromaticism in the chorus that I was hoping Zimzalabim would have. It sounds like the interesting chords are actually sung and not autotuned vocoder effects. (… because the timbre sounds different – mixed voice for the main line, and head voice for the descant.)

    You know how in some of those variety shows, they do the dance not only as a part switch, but sometimes they switch the song and the dance still fits. I have only sung it partway through the first verse and chorus, and yes Edge of Seventeen could be sung over this, mostly because the accompaniment in this song is minimal enough that one could claim artful dissonance where it doesn’t match.

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  6. Definitely my favorite on the mini that could’ve been a worthy title – though Parade is really fun and carries the overall vibe of the mini’s theme so maybe as the promotional performance??

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