Review

Song Review: Red Velvet – Feel My Rhythm

Red Velvet - Feel My RhythmIt’s the year 2022 and Red Velvet’s “ReVe Festival” remains open for business. The group first unveiled the carnivalesque concept in 2019 but took a break for last year’s Queendom. Now, the festival queues are bustling once more as the ladies invite us to feel their rhythm. Given the song title, you might expect an upbeat dance track with emphasis on energetic percussion. You would be mistaken.

Instead, Feel My Rhythm takes us to the ‘Red Velvet Symphony’ (just around the corner from the Zimzalabim roller coaster, I imagine). It’s an interesting move for the group, and one that mostly works. Red Velvet have always been lauded for their vocals, and Feel My Rhythm’s orchestral elements blend especially well with their tones. Their performance is nothing short of gorgeous, dripping with skill and character. The melody is saccharine in the best way – the sort of thing you might hear as part of a big Disney musical. But, the song’s sweeter moments are tempered by a fun rap break in the verse two.

Ironically, my biggest gripe with the track is the percussion itself. Stacked against the warmth of the strings, the beat feels brittle and flat. We need some timpani! In general, I’m not a huge fan of this tempo. It’s a little plodding, dragging the track rather than lifting it up. I had the same thoughts about 2019’s Psycho, a song that many seemed to love. So, this is a personal preference that others may not share. In any case, Red Velvet’s sheer presence wins the day. Feel My Rhythm sidesteps trendy synth-pop in favor of stately symph-pop, once again securing their title as one of K-pop’s most adventurous acts.

Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

46 thoughts on “Song Review: Red Velvet – Feel My Rhythm

  1. First of all, yay, it sounds like Red Velvet and not a dozen other groups.

    For the rest of it, this song makes me cranky. Alright, OK, so a heavy sample of Bach, really heavy, overwhelming the song. Like it was supposed to sound like a radio classical station in the background, but is so loud you can’t talk over it, and it’s the classical station. The heaviness make it seem more like a mash-up of the song plus a classical piece that happens to share the same chord progression. There are Good Kpop Songs that are inspired by a classical piece a la Girls Generation “New World” (from Dvorak New World symphony) or Ateez Wonderland (Dvorak again).

    But what I really want to complain about is a song that is called “Feel my rhythm” that does not have any significant rhythm. “Dance” songs should make you dance. “Rhythm” songs should have some rhythm. Why didn’t they picked some Bach that has some pep? ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1JWC1ubHEs&list=OLAK5uy_nzURTpguOTbb1jDw0I3g4vSQHPLDgXobY&index=3
    Or one that has some drive to it. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htdLd0B1WsU

    Rant rant rant
    And then there is a b-side song called “Bamboleo”, which does not sound nearly as awesome as its namesake. The album the original is from sold 1.5 million copies in the US alone. (I know, I own one of those 1.5m.) ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_83tDfVuHY

    Liked by 4 people

    • It is called feel my rhythm in terms of heart beat rhythm and not dance rhythm.
      I thought so too at first when I read it but reading the lyrics it is clear that the only meant the heart beat

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    • There are so many cool classical pieces to sample. There are so many good melodies to take from symphonies, concertos, etc that would fit very well into a more modern composition.

      Why are we still sampling Air on the G String, Canon in D, or Für Elise? It seems like these pieces are being picked based on being well-known and nothing else. Air on the G String is calm, serene and majestic. It does not fit the ‘vibe’. There are so many energetic, rhythmic classical pieces.

      I completely agree with you about the way the sample is used, too. It sounds like I accidentally left two Youtube tabs open playing different songs over each other.

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      • (All this to say that I am caught in a frustrating in-between of wanting to hear more classical inspiration in kpop, yet passionately disliking most existing attempts).

        Liked by 2 people

      • The answer to this is pretty simple. To make it “pop music”, you have to sample the “pop” of classical music. It makes zero sense to sample BVW 1007. V, even though it is one of my favorite, simply because it won’t be POP.

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        • I’m going to disagree here. You can sample anything and make it work. Back in the 80s, there were quite a few “Hooked on Classics” that, in retrospect, were cheesy as hell, but at the time…

          The issues I have with this song doesn’t involve the choice of classical inspiration, but the way it was executed. In the first half of the song, “Air on the G String” took center stage and new additions were gingerly placed around it. The second half then did the opposite; forcing Bach to ride shotgun. This would’ve worked if they cut back on a lot of the classical elements. Maybe just use just the violin or the piano/organ and cut out the accompanying strings. Instead, they tried to keep the full orchestral arrangement and there’s where things got muddy.

          Additionally, they could’ve kept Johann in the driver seat throughout the entire piece, but then it would’ve made it more of a ballad. Or.. ..Have the entire song be like the second half, but tone down the full bodied nature of “AonGS”. Regardless, it is what it is.

          P.S. What I have noticed is how well I rate the song when I’m remembering it, versus actually listening to it. If I’m going about my business and the song pops into my head, then the parts I play in my head are from the second half and the classical elements are mostly muted. I think my brain is filtering out the all-to-familiar “AotGS” elements, leaving all the poppy goodness to ping pong in my bone box. But if I then pull up the song to actually listen to it again, the peeves bubble right back up to the surface. So, for me, this is a great song to think back on, just don’t hit the play button; if that makes sense.

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  2. The song’s pretty, that’s for sure with the heavy chorus but I can’t just seem to connect with it immediately. The orchestral elements are great and expected but the song feels like it lacks that grandeur.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. not my favorite red velvet song of all time, but i do like it and i’m glad to see them back on track making interesting, creative music – ‘queendom’ had me a bit worried 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. For those who don’t know the Bach piece this is based upon, there are many versions of it on youtube (solo, orchestra, period instruments, etc), but here is one particularly good solo recording.

    Liked by 3 people

    • There’s a reason why this piece is so recognized. While known for his musical/mathematical genius when he went full orchestral, he could wow them in the king’s court as well. While I’ve always been partial to Handel for my sitting room baroque cravings, I have to recognize a true master when I hear one.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The extra cool thing is that the original solo violin version of the “Aria on the G string” is literally played only on the G string. Go on, watch it again. G string is all the way on the left. The angle of the bow to violin never change. The whole piece is a fine example of how sometimes restriction and fewer choices forces creativity to make a creation better than others who have every tool at their disposal. Less is more.

        I’m looking at you, ye kpop composers, who use every sound setting on the keyboard because they can.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. i agree with you abt the percussion omg the chorus sounds so cluttered… I feel like they could’ve mixed everything in there just a little better but i still really like the song!

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  6. It’s a really pretty song for sure, their vocals are stunning with the orchestral elements. Not too sure how it will age, but I like it for now. Though about the tempo – on my first listen I totally agreed the tempo was too slow, but a few listens later I thought it was fine. Now I just listened to it again and it once again felt too slow 😂 I…guess I just don’t know I feel about their rhythm (ok I’ll leave)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the song but I must agree that the tempo dragged it down. Psycho wasn’t supposed to be an upbeat dance track so it’s tempo makes sense, but FMR is supposed to be an upbeat, bright dance track. Yet, it really missed the mark.

    The Bach sample was pretty but like someone else said, it really felt like a mashup of two songs. They did nothing interesting with the sample, and it just gave the song this pretty, fairytale like feeling.

    Also, the chorus was lacking to me. What happened to the catchy and memorable hooks that K-pop used to be known for? Did the composers run out of ideas? Because this chorus to me was just forgettable.

    There really wasn’t any special highlight or killing part in this song, just the girls wonderful vocals.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. It’s good that they remembered that this group used to do electro and decided to go back to it. Again, doesn’t sound hard, but only if anyone can just return to their superior self even not quite the same as good we would have better kpop. Hey Oh My Girl, you get the hint?

    Songwriting leaves much to be desired, but I thought it would be 8.5.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. It’s a very pretty song and their vocals are beautiful as usual, but it feels like the instrumental is constantly on the verge of drowning them out. I tentatively like this but wish it could be better.

    Liked by 3 people

    • When I watched the mv I thought the mixing was terrible. I felt like I could barely hear their voices over the instrumental, but then when I listened on Spotify it seemed fine so idk what that was about. Don’t know what you listened on but glad someone else noticed this too

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  10. Very worthwhile addition to their discography. I love how you never know where the song is going and only RV would mix Bach into kpop in this way. Something about the violins in the chorus and the symphony feel really elevates it. I can see the instrumental being overpowering but I’d rather have that than be too underwhelming. A solid 9/10 for me. Music Video was gorgeous with the painting scenes. I think people are so used to liking songs with beat drops on the 10th listen that a melodic song like this can take you by surprise.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. The vocals were really nice and the whole dream-like Fantasy vibe was so good! The song went in many unexpected directions but was enjoyable and the instrumental was really good too!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This is… hilariously over-produced. It’s certainly not impossible to distinguish what’s happening, but the entire song feels like there’s way too much unnecessary noise. I don’t hate it, though it’s definitely clumsy, and seems a bit amateur for a group of this status. That’s an SM issue of course, not a RV one.

    On the other hand, I can appreciate the attempt at an overwhelming, explosive track. I generally prefer when a song tries too hard, as opposed to not trying at all. This isn’t nearly as clean or well-executed as, say, a collapsedone track (Feel Good, Teddy Bear), though it still mostly gets the “warm and full” style right.

    I like the Bach sample. It’s not blowing me away or anything, it’s just a nice addition. Cherry Bullet has had much more eloquent classical sample implementations before this, but it’s a step in the right direction. I’ll take this over a lazy trap drop (or worse, tropical house!) any day of the week.

    The music video is quite good. There’s some interesting symbolism here to digest, and the painted style sections are absolutely gorgeous. The outfits are mostly good, with the exception of those Y2K-esc ones, which feel rather out of place. I suppose Queendom had outfits just like those, so maybe that’s RV’s new thing. Performances are wonderful as always, and I think Red Velvet continues to evolve with more charisma on every comeback.

    Overall, I’d still say I like the song. Probably not sliding into my all-time top 10 any time soon, but there’s certainly an indescribably draw to the song.

    Liked by 4 people

    • “Cherry Bullet has had much more eloquent classical sample implementations before this..”

      Yes! I remember when a lot of people went “thumbs down” on “Hands Up” and I thought they were being a little harsh. Was there a smidgen of hokey in the mix? Sure, but it was still a fun toe-tapper.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I wish they had gone full classical and composed something more upbeat with traditional instruments to contrast with sample and that they would’ve cut the distorted synth-thingy off the track. Still, much more inventive and worth being in their discography than Queendom. Unfortunately, this album’s bsides suffer from the same lackluster-ness of the Queendom album. For a group with a repertoire of bsides such as RV, this is most disappointing.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I read halfway through the review and thought, “Uh oh, here comes the “Psycho” hammer.”, so see, Nick, some of us do have a bead on you. I understand your sentiments, but I’ve my own nits to pick.

    Red Velvet has the luxury of a safety net that most other groups don’t because they’re the queens of quirk. The coloring books they use their crayons on don’t have lines; just blank pages. However, they aren’t incapable of occasionally mucking things up. *cough*Zimzalawtf*cough*

    When I first listened to this on my PC with a nice set of cans, I had a little difficulty nailing down the percussive elements. Specifically, the parts where they sing “Feel My Rhythm”. When that happened, I listened through the tinny speakers on my phone and voilà.. ..those sections sound like they are lifted from “Power Up”. This song could’ve been really something if they either completely leaned into the classical or if they reinvented a haunted (Psycho) version of Power Up, but.. ..alas.

    Still, it’s not a bad song. The girls are breathtaking in the MV, n’est-ce pas? And it is always nice to see them show up on your doorstep as it gives you an excuse to break out the good tea set. Is it my favorite from them? Nope, but I’ll always have their Bach*.

    P.S. * Same to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. there’s a lot going on in the instrumental, to the point of drowning out their voices. i feel like the sample is supposed to guide the melody, but somehow gets drowned out along the way? even though i kind of like it (especially seulgi’s part during the bridge and the fact that it’s better than queendom), i wish the instrumental took a step back and highlighted their voices generally better.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As for the song, I respect it’s ambition but I’m not sure it’s for me. The trap percussion elements feel out of place and it might be a little too syrupy sweet and romantic for me. The girls pull it off with skill, though, as per usual.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Ngl, when I heard the intro, I groaned. I’m not 100% against quoting classical music (“Summer Rain” is one of my favorite GFriend songs, after all) but something this overplayed… (Same with like every other one being Fur Elise. I cannot take any song that quotes that seriously because of the song “Basura” by a local band called The Youth, wherein they sing about telling people to dispose of their garbage properly:

    Doesn’t help that when I started composing music with some software, the default MIDI file it would open was precisely that. Thus I’ve become something of a curmudgeon as far as “Air” goes, I’d honestly rather not hear it ever again.

    That said, this is otherwise a good song. It’s a lot better than “Queendom,” admittedly it feels like a slightly lesser retread of “Psycho” but that’s such a high standard as far as I’m concerned that I don’t mind them falling short/coasting a bit. I think RV can pull off these slow songs because 1) strong vocals 2) strong melodies.

    Easy 8.5 for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, you know its fundraising week on the classical public radio station when they play compositions like this Bach piece. Or the Moldau. When the Moldau comes on, you know right afterwards there will be two kind-hearted announcers asking you to call now and male your pledge.
      Any American holiday is Copeland and Bernstein playlist, with a swath of Joplin. Rodeo, again.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Cherry bullet Hands up was a serious grower for me.
    Dreamcatcher “Because” also quotes Fur Elise. There is the obvious motif in the chorus. And also, the verse uses the left hand in a twinkling synth, which is most prominent before the vocal kicks in.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. “Queendom” actually grew on me a lot. It’s on the more generic side but the hooks are fun and I like how dynamic it sounds. I think that’s why I like it more than this one. FMR starts off with some solid verses but when the chorus comes rolling in, it fell a bit flat. Decent hooks, decent sound but just didn’t fit the build up it was given. I was expecting something with some more punch.

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  19. While the mv is gorgeous, I think the song sounds better without the mv. The only think I don’t really like about the song is Irene’s first part and their “rap”. The song could have done well without it.

    It is a song, which is not 100% meant to be upbeat and tbh I am sick of people always wanting a remake of either Bad Boy or Psycho. They are an experimental group and those two songs are one of my least favourite title tracks of them.

    Feel my rhythm is refreshing, I think we international kpop fans just expected because of the title something more upbeat. Maybe follow my heart beat would have been a more fitting title? Anyway, it is a dreamy song and I think it will age well because of the atmosphere and their vocals. At first listen I only liked Seulgi’s, Wendy’s and the chorus parts a lot and now (3rd time listening to it in geberal) without watching the mv I like 90% of it a lot. The mv takes away a lot of the tempo too (I think so at least) and makes it seem less spring like, even though it has so many flower scenes. Idk why but I prefer listening to it without it

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  20. I had to listen to it again because I didn’t pay proper attention the first time. I think the mixing is just not great, like a lot of people have pointed out and the sing isn’t as fleshed out as it should be. Apart from that the rhyme in the first two lines of the chorus (feel mt rhythm come with me sangsang haebwa modeunji) is too obvious and simple for me. Overall, its okay but not something I’ll listen to.

    Like

  21. This new concept is excited me
    but for now, I listen more to their B-Side, ‘BAMBOLEO’.
    A catchy City Pop song but it’s still superior.

    Like

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