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[Editor’s Pick] Retro summer queens return

Red Velvet is famous for changing between “red concept” and “velvet concept” in their albums. Last year, they reached great success with their summer release Red Flavor, which achieved their best chart results since debut. Putting aside the chic style of Bad Boy and Peek-a-boo, the group returns with a charming and joyful image in Summer Magic.

With 8-bit games getting popular again recently, the producers combine this element into the pop dance title track Power Up (Track 1). 8-bit sounds serve as the hook for the uptempo song, which makes it cuter and more fun. The catchy tune and addictive “ba-banana-ba-ba-banana-nana” stayed in my mind for days. Red Velvet swept the digital music charts when Power Up was released online on August 6. This marks the first time a SM Entertainment group has achieved a “perfect all-kill” on all major music streaming sites in Korea. To be honest, Power Up does not sound very special at first, but it is undoubtedly a summer jam that brings you joyous vibes and energy.

Hit That Drum (Track 5) highlights samba rhythm and drum and brass sounds. Wendy’s high note gives me goosebumps every time I listen to the song. Irene and Wendy also chose Hit That Drum as the best song to enjoy when you feel stressed out and need energy.

Filled with hip-hop groove, Mosquito (Track 4) is a stylish track composed by world-renowned producer Teddy Riley. The song depicts a situation in which a person is annoyed by an admirer who disturbs her like a mosquito. With its fun title and lyrics, the track sounds like a drama, perhaps a comedy, and I can imagine scenes in my mind while listening to it. These two songs, my favorites from Summer Magic, would make great title tracks.

If Bad Boy (English version) (Track 7) is considered a new song, it would be my favorite out of all the songs. Starting from their debut, I have been obsessed with the group’s “velvet concept.” I have been longing for the release of the English version of Bad Boy since they performed it at KCON NY earlier this year. Unexpectedly, it is released as a bonus track in this “red concept” album. The English version sounds even better than the original, and the lyrics suit ideally with the chic and stylish song.

Red Velvet expresses the wish to stay forever with their loved ones in future summers in the R&B pop song With You (Track 2). The lyrics “When I’m with you, when I’m with you, it’s like Christmas in summer” reflect the original Korean song title of “One Summer’s Christmas,” meaning they are making a Christmas wish in the summertime. The lyrics also mention two Christmas carols, Jingle Bell and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, interestingly bringing the two seasons together.

What surprises me the most is Yeri’s voice in With You. As a sub-vocalist of the group, she has not had many chances to show off her mellow voice in previous albums. Yet she strives to show her talents by sharing song covers and self-composed songs online. This time, her voice shines in the high notes and hooks throughout the song.

Love song Blue Lemonade (Track 6) is a synth-based urban pop track that gives off a beachside ambience. The soothing melody sounds comforting to listen to on summer nights.

From Bad Boy to Power Up, Red Velvet surely fits both the styles of “red” and “velvet,” and they always keep up with good releases. I am impressed with the high quality of songs in Summer Magic and it is definitely among my top three recent Korean girl group album releases. Definitely looking forward to their summer release next year!

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