This Week in Kpop: September 6-12, 2015

Red Velvet Dumb Dumb

This Week in Kpop is Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb, Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb, Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb, etc.

Has Red Velvet Arrived?

Okay, we know, we know, Red Velvet has been around for some time now and has some pretty big hits. But with "Dumb Dumb," we're telling you, they have finally arrived. Fulfilling the promise first made with "Happiness," "Dumb Dumb" is a phantasmagoria of fun, a chaotic splash of pop euphoria. It's a mess of a song, but "Dumb Dumb" has been our jam all week and we don't care who knows it. Did you see the live performance?

Red Velvet is scorching the stage with their blistering, manic choreography, showing a confidence often reserved for groups three years their senior. So, yes, Red Velvet has arrived. You probably don't agree. If you're an SM fan, you may have crowned Red Velvet with their debut release of "Happiness," a fun, well meaning (cheesy) debut.

And while we were intrigued by the music video's stylistic touch, we didn't see how Red Velvet really stood apart from other girl groups. The talent was there, but even with "Ice Cream Cake," which everyone seems to love, we weren't ready to laud them for their greatness just yet. But then "Dumb Dumb," but also songs like "Red Dress," "Oh Boy," "Time Slip," "Don't You Wait No More," most of The Red, in fact, but especially "Dumb Dumb," Red Velvet has finally planted themselves firmly in the girl group sphere, with a manic energy, their pop-art style, and a beautiful (often messy) musical cacophony that they can undoubtedly say is all their own.

And can we talk (write) about the music video a little bit? Just a little, since we're not quite sure what to make of it, and that may be the greatest part of this whole release. You look at the music video, and what strikes you? Well, to us, and our western perspective, the assembly-line imagery and sometimes wooden/mechanical expressions of the idols feels like a commentary on the mass-produced (emphasis on) manufactured nature of the music business. Which would be an argument that we'd expect from an indie group or freaking Seo Taiji, but coming from Red Velvet and within, and we mean no offense when we say, the belly of the beast? It feels like a strange message with more self-awareness we give to agency that opened Red Velvet's career with "Sometimes you gotta be bold. Just rock the world. Booyah!"

It's so confounding that we're split here at Critical Kpop, one side thinking that we're seeing a flash of self-awareness, with SM winking at the audience, just a bit - and the other side thinking that this video was put together with no other intention beyond "looking cool." Who can say? Maybe you can.

Clash of the Boy Bands? Seventeen vs. Monsta X

Okay, we're not talking a real life honest-to-God brawl here, as something tells us that Seventeen wouldn't stand much of a chance against anyone this side of GOT7, you know? Monsta X has been to prison and rescued the love of their lives from the grips of a gang of ruffians! What has Seventeen done, except for the falling in love with one girl thing (which in Kpop, is natch)?

But musically, if there's any rivalry to watch, just by their debut and release schedules, it's Monsta X and Seventeen, two of the best rookie groups of 2015. We'll gladly say that, and we'll even say beyond these two groups, the competition is really slim. Pitting them against each other isn't even fair, since they're so different from each other. But as far as listening, the edge may go to Seventeen's "Mansae," which has a stronger hook and strength in numbers. Honestly though, you can love both groups and be just fine. But Rookie of the Year? Which group has the edge?

Seventeen vs. Monsta X: Seventeen...For Now

Siwon Doesn't Support Same-Sex Marriage??

Siwon feels like he needs to spout his support of bigoted views on same-sex marriage on Twitter, the place where celebrity goes to die? To quote a Red Velvet proverb: "Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb, Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb, Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb..."

Who Wins the Song of the Summer?

Summer is over. You know this. We know this. But you know what? That means we can finally decide, without a doubt: Who Wins the Song of the Summer. This is not a scientific calculation. This is not based on sales. This is based on our own unique criteria, and you have every right to disagree. But why don't you read what we've written first?

September 6-12, 2015

And that was This Week in Kpop! Until next week, remember: Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb, Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb, Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb Dumb, and be safe!


  1. bigoted
    obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, and intolerant towards other people's beliefs and practices.

    First off, I love your blog, but I would take issue with you labelling Siwon's opinions 'bigoted'. He has expressed his respect for those who hold different opinions, and is by no means intolerant of them. His stance on gay marriage, while perhaps controversial, is not obstinate or unreasonable - there are plenty of both secular and religious arguments for supporting marriage as between just a man and woman.

    On another note, great little analysis of Red Velvet and their new comeback! I hope you'll be doing a full review of the album soon :)

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