Song Review: Red Velvet – Wildside

Red Velvet - WildsideWhen it rains, it pours – and Red Velvet fans are feasting on new music this month. Not only did the group make a long-awaited comeback last week, but their first full Japanese album also looms on the horizon. Before we get there, the ladies have revealed new J-pop single Wildside. SM artists have a distinguished history in Japan, and I’m eager for another act to take on SNSD’s excellent J-pop legacy. So far, Red Velvet b-sides like Aitai-tai and Swimming Pool have born more fruit than their respective singles.

Wildside should please fans of the group’s “velvet” sound. It’s more restrained and consistent than many of their title tracks, showcasing their always-fantastic vocals. And on a more Bias List-specific note, I’m surprised (and happy) to see Nam Donghyun (of Boyhood fame) listed in the album credits. He deserves the paycheck for Retro Love alone! But other than that, this song isn’t really for me. Red Velvet excel at R&B, particularly when they tackle a beguiling track like Bad Boy. Wildside conjures a decent groove and the ladies bring plenty of charisma, but the melodies are a bit rote.

This is most problematic during the chorus. Honestly, I don’t like this melody at all. Despite unfolding against a languid backdrop, there’s a franticness to the structure that feels too one-note. Opinions will vary, and I suspect many will prefer this to the more off-kilter Feel My Rhythm from last week. But, I wish the track would have further harnessed the mystifying restraint of its pre-chorus. Wildside just gets too noisy, which drowns out its charms.

Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7

16 thoughts on “Song Review: Red Velvet – Wildside

  1. I actually like the chorus melody, its catchy and I liked the rhyme they did, but the production behind it is not it for me. There’s just a lot of…sounds going on there and I don’t think they clash well with the girl’s higher tones.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Also very few retro have aged as well as Retro Love. It’s just so INFECTIOUS. I’ll probably be playing it 10 years from loving it just as much as I did in 2020


    • I agree – the chorus is memorable and affecting, but everything is washed out (and yet still whiny?) in the production. This is especially egregious when you compare it to the other previous Japanese releases that appear on the album. I’m listening to Sappy now and it’s so full yet clean.


  2. I perfectly get all the points you have mentioned here! The pre-chorus was cool! The chorus was… interesting! It’s like – we expect it to go One…Two. but it went One…TwoThreeFour.

    At first it did catch me off guard – but by the end the franticness seemed to make sense. And I liked the Japanese rap more than their korean raps… it seemed to fit better and was kinda cool.

    Plus…. good MV and the ladies looked gorgeous. So I’m not really complaining 😂


  3. Wow that first chorus came out of nowhere! Really doesn’t sound like a red velvet song and I don’t think they sound good singing in this style


  4. The only interesting part is the chorus. Its a choice. That is the hook, the D# C# C, D# C# C, F C# C, F C# C.

    I haven’t watched ReacttotheK in a long while, but this is exactly the kind of progression that the Kevin guy would dig into, and we would nod our heads like we understand. And the peculiar composer guy would do 20 mins on how this was predicted by like atonalist theory or something.

    Meanwhile for the rest of us, it is one of those clever music phrases that are very intellectual, but is it musical? Based upon comments here so far, I am going to say it is too clever for its own good. Ice Cream Cake key change into and out of chorus = good clever. This one here = smarty pants clever. I’ve sung it a few times now, and yeah, I’m over it, that hook.

    It should be mentioned that only a group of vocalists like Red Velvet would be able to handle a chorus like that live because it is so peculiar, and also very high pitched. Its higher than you think. There aren’t that many girl groups who could consistently hit those chorus notes without sounding whiny. Only a group like Red Velvet could pull this off.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Like mamamoo?!! Being a moomoo im seriously hungry for a song like decalcomanie! It seems its never gonna happen anytime soon!


      • Decalcomanie is an awesome song. We all wish for another one of those.
        I think Mamamoo know their own ranges enough to consider lowering this down a few notches to match their belting range if this were their song.
        Oh My Girl has some high belters, so they came to mind for a high song like this.


  5. The only thing I didn’t really like was the “down the street” by joy, it was a bit cringe. otherwise I love the song! I also love how Irene and Yeri got to sing the chorus too!


  6. What an incredible chorus. It’s loud, noisy, and distorted, yet still has the courtesy to actually write some melodies underneath all that. Crunchy textures, and still has excellent mixing. The instrumental should be drowning out their voices, but someone with a lot of technical skill has put a lot of work into insuring that they don’t. The members must have worked some magic for their contract re-negotiation.


  7. Mmm I see where they were going but I’m not a big fan of the high pitched melody repeating in the chorus.

    Also did the intro piano ever come back? I wish it stuck around a bit more.


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