Song Review: Seulgi (Red Velvet) – 28 Reasons

Seulgi (Red Velvet) - 28 ReasonsThere was a time in SM Entertainment’s history where solo releases were not common. That’s switched dramatically over the past decade, with so many popular groups launching equally-popular solo projects. The members of Red Velvet have already released sub-unit and solo work, but 28 Reasons marks Seulgi’s official debut after appearing in her fair share of project groups and duos.

Seulgi always stood out as an obvious solo star. She’s a skilled performer, with strong vocals and dance skills. 28 Reason hints at those qualities, though it feels a bit restrained. On first listen, my mind immediately went to Aaliyah in the late 90’s and 2000’s. This is subdued dance music, fitful and complex without making obvious concessions. This approach shines most brightly on the chorus, which lays a satisfying earworm over a moody blend of synth strings. If I had my way, the energy would be lifted to a more dynamic level, but I understand why 28 Reasons keeps things more understated.

This is where the Aaliyah comparison comes in. There’s a benefit to keeping things at a hush. In this case, Seulgi acts as the contrast. She’s given plenty of room to belt it out, and her vocals reach the climactic heights we’ve grown accustomed to from SM artists. I didn’t even need to glance at the song’s credits to realize super-producer Yoo Young-Jin had his hands in composition and arrangement. His vocal tics are all over 28 Reasons, superimposed upon Seulgi. This is no bad thing. It simply adds to SM’s lineage. But, the song could use a bit of tightening in order to stand alongside the very best the agency has to offer.

Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25


31 thoughts on “Song Review: Seulgi (Red Velvet) – 28 Reasons

  1. the thing about Aaliyah is that Timbaland would throw a cricket or baby coo sample next to reversed guitar to push his subtle beats to true experimentalism. I think 28 reasons needs something to distinguish in the production to really sell the subtle-ty of the production.

    I like the vocal direction and production way more than the emptiness of this beat. Instead we get a SM whistle…lol
    but I like the song a lot. I like the creepy vibes Seulgi is able to conjure.

    This definitely mid to high 8’s for me…quite good, but it just needs a little something extra to make it special.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Will there be a buried treasure for this album? The b-sides for this album are pretty good, especially Crown and Dead Man Runnin.


    • Dead Man Runnin’ is so good. It’s not hard to imagine Red Velvet, or at least, Seulgi & Irene, doing the A-side. But tunes like Dead Man Runnin and Bad Boy Sad Girl open new avenues for Seulgi. It is quite a good EP, and stakes out new territory. That’s my first impression, at any rate:)

      Liked by 3 people

  3. My thoughts on this one are pretty mixed. On the one hand, I love Seulgi’s voice and charisma, which the track is driven by. In contrast, I feel like it has got a severe lack of something. Something I can’t describe.
    All in all, nice performance piece. Probably an 8 for me.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I feel the same way about there being some hard-to-identify *something* missing. I like the MV and think I’ll enjoy watching performances, but I don’t see myself listening to the track on its own since it just doesn’t feel quite complete. Seulgi sounds great on it, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mediocre songcraft strikes again. On the good side, it is polished up to a high shine and Seulgi uses her best star power to perform it. But the song sounds like a Taeyeon leftover. It probably should have been left a leftover. The song tries to be shocking, 28 reasons to think someone as bad, and one of them is “I kissed your brother”, and another “I’m making every rule” “You in danger, but its OK”. I mean, cmon people, try harder. By 2:30 I was bored and astounded that there was still a full minute left.

    Adding – Yeah, I can here Aaaliyah too, that era of sotto voce R&B.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This was fun for me because I hadn’t been paying attention to Red Velvet or Seulgi in the past month so this release truly took me by surprise. I heard Timbaland for Aaliyah IMMEDIATELY and really fell for it instantly. It’s different for kpop as a concept and honestly a very well executed homage to that era of music while being its own thing. I still need to check out the mini but the title track ticked all the boxes for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I agree with Noah, the vocal direction and production really sells the song for me. also, I’ve only listened to the album once but Los Angeles stood out the most to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I stumbled on the video 1 hour after it dropped. Before I even hit play, I had already given it a thumbs up because.. ..well..’s fucking Seulgi! If she released a video of her breaking wind in a 55 gallon drum then I’d give that a thumbs up too.

    That said.. ..I’m going to need about a week for this song to properly steep before I’m willing serve up my opinion. I’m going to sip it; slowly. Maybe poor a little into the saucer to let it cool. Then I’ll break out the shortbread cookies and nibble one or two between sips. Yes; that’s the way to handle this release; all prim and proper.

    Now if you’ll excuse me. It’s tea time!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Loved the chorus! I do agree that the song needs a little bit tightening but this is the first time in a while that a solo debut perked up my ears.

    The b-side “Los Angeles” though. I wished it was longer :(((((

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I like this a lot. It isn’t too tame but it’s not too hard hitting either. It’s a good mix of both. Interesting choice of words in some of the parts though…

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I really like this! The willingness to delve into a darker sound without some of the typical sonic approaches we hear in a lot of dark Kpop concepts was refreshing. It also seems that this project builds upon the sound of the Irene-Seulgi subunit without feeling like the songs were left over tracks from that EP. (I also thought it was interesting that Seulgi had a clone/double in the video, which made me think of the Naughty music video and performances she did with Irene — particularly with the short bob wigs).

    The Aaliyah comparison isn’t one I thought of, but I love that you pointed it out Nick. I’d argue that Seulgi’s project is more in line with Aaliyah’s later work with Static Major on her self-titled album than a lot of her hits with Timbaland from One in A Million. There’s also some aspects I hear that remind me of Kelela, who is another singer that has leveraged Aaliyah’s influence to make interesting music.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I like it but I feel like if the production was a little more fleshed out or if the song was longer I would’ve loved it.

    Overall the mini album is pretty good with impressive vocals, styles that suit her perfectly and interesting lyrics. I just can’t help but wish the songs were bit longer or that it was a full album with at least 10 tracks. I know no idol debuts with a full album but I’m not sure what the reason for that is.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved it maybe I’m biased cuz Seulgi is bias, but I still loved the song. Her vocals, the performance, the overall vibe was great. I’m also a sucker for strings in instrumentals. I love it when artists use any string instrument sound for their songs evena banjo would draw me in.

    Now that I’m done praising it, here’s some criticisms I have. You all are 100% right when you said there was something missing. I think it’s in the prechorus. Not only is the entire song too short, but the prechorus especially, it doesn’t lead into the chorus well which makes it a bit lacking in my eyes, but to be fair the chorus is lacking as well and that one I cannot figure out why.

    I feel like the song could’ve been better, but to be honest it’s great for what it is and I love it. I’m definitely listening to the album.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Are SM more or less ambitious for releasing such a lackluster production?

    Where’s the ‘oomph’ we saw in Irene x Seulgi’s stuff?

    Seulgi does a good job, but my expectations were sky high. Oh well.

    Dead Man Running for president!


  14. I kind of love this. I criticise groups often for being too minimal when I am a sucker for maximalism in pop, yet I think Seulgi’s charisma and the creepy vibes of this sell it to me. I love the part in the last chorus where the instrumental cuts out completely and we get this echoed acapella moment, and I think as a solo debut it’s exactly what I thought Seulgi’s would sound like. The rest of the minialbum is fantastic too, I would have loved to see music videos for each song and to have a visual album as the concept trailer dropped some incredible visuals that weren’t in the music video for this! This is one of my favourite solo debuts probably ever though, it really sets her up to have a flourishing career outside of Red Velvet.


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