Perfect Velvet is the second full-length album by Red Velvet produced by Deekay. It was released on November 17, 2017 by SM Entertainment with the lead single (called "title track" in Korea) "Peek-A-Boo". This is the group's first full album release in two years and three months since The Red.
The album received generally positive reviews internationally and their native country South Korea, giving emphasis to the group's musical experimentation and future-oriented sound. The group was also praised for showcasing their growth as artists by changing their identity and color from their previous release The Red Summer, their versatility, diverse music and styling, and for breaking stereotypes among popular girl groups in South Korea and South Korean idols in general.
Perfect Velvet was a commercial success, debuting at number two on the Gaon Album Chart and peaking atop the Billboard World Album Chart, which gave them their third number-one album in the chart in the same year after Rookie and The Red Summer. It is also their fourth in total, making them the K-pop girl group with the most number-one albums on the chart and ties them for most number ones on the chart among all K-pop acts. The album also reached number three on the Top Heatseekers chart, which is their highest to date and their first album to enter the Top 5.
On January 29, 2018, a repackage of the album titled The Perfect Red Velvet was released along with the music video of "Bad Boy".
On October 30, 2017, news about the group's upcoming comeback appeared on various South Korean news sites, which was then confirmed later that day by their company, S.M. Entertainment.
At midnight on November 8, 2017, S.M. Entertainment revealed the title of the group's new single, "Peek-A-Boo", through a teaser along with the title of their second full album which will contain nine tracks and its release date.
The title references the 'Velvet' half of the group's concept, that stems from the meaning behind their name, where 'Red' is their vivid and bold image while 'Velvet' stands for their softer and more mature side. These two sides reflect the songs they release. In an interview with X Sports News on November 8, S.M. Entertainment stated that they intend to show "an upgraded version" of the group's 'Velvet' concept.
Perfect Velvet has nine songs which features mostly pop, hip hop, soul and R&B genres. The album's first track "Peek-A-Boo" was described as an up-tempo pop song with addictive hooks. Tamar Herman of Billboard stated that it is "laden with trop house elements underneath the overarching quirky pop vibe, and is driven by a deep bass drumline, scratchy synths, and metallic beats" which also features "a variety of diverse, playful instrumental elements nestled beneath the main melody". Lyrically, it compares a new romantic relationship to a game that children play.
"Look" (Korean: 봐) is a disco-styled dance song written by Jinbo and Sumin who also composed the song along with Charli Taft and Daniel "Obi" Klein who have written several songs for the group since their first extended play Ice Cream Cake including the single "Automatic".
"I Just" is a pop song with a futuristic bass and distinctive synth sound composed by Aventurina King, Kim Boo-min, John Fulford with arrangement by South Korean EDM artist and DJ, Hitchhiker and its Korean lyrics written by Kim Boo-min. The fourth track "Kingdom Come" has been noted as an R&B song with a gentle beat and a soft melody. It was written by Lee Seu-ran of Jam Factory with music by Deez, Ylva Dimberg and was produced by The Stereotypes. "My Second Date" (Korean: 두 번째 데이트) was characterized as a mid-tempo pop track, composed by James Wong, Sidnie Tipton and Sophie Stern with lyrics by Jeon Gan-di. "Attaboy" is a hip hop song with a hook melody. It was penned by S.M. Entertainment lyricist Kenzie who also composed the song with Ylva Dimberg and The Stereotypes. "Perfect 10" is an R&B song composed by Charli Taft, Daniel "Obi" Klein and Deez with lyrics by Cho Yoon-kyung. "About Love" is a mid-tempo pop song produced by re:one who also composed the song with Davey Nate. Its lyrics were written by January 8 of Jam Factory. The final track "Moonlight Melody" is a low-key ballad with a delicate piano melody, written and composed by Lee Joo-hyung of Monotree and Kwon Deok-geun.
The lead single, "Peek-A-Boo", was released on November 17, 2017.
The second single, "I Just", was released on February 28, 2018.
The group began releasing teasers for their upcoming comeback on November 8 through their official social media accounts, which was followed by individual photo teasers of the members and a preview of a track from the album on each day until November 16. To further promote their comeback, the group held a showcase on November 16 which was hosted by label mate Taeyeon, where they discussed their album and performed the lead song "Peek-A-Boo" live for the first time. On the same day, they appeared on a live broadcast through the Naver app, V Live.
The group had their first music show appearance on November 17, 2017 on Music Bank, where they performed "Peek-A-Boo" and "Look". As part of their promotions, Red Velvet appeared on the variety show Weekly Idol and were guests on several radio shows, where they performed "Peek-A-Boo" along with "Look" and "Kingdom Come". A remixed instrumental version of "I Just" was performed by the musician Hitchhiker, member Seulgi, and NCT 127's Taeyong at the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards, where the group also performed "Peek-A-Boo".
A music video for the song "I Just" was released on February 28, 2018.
Perfect Velvet received positive reviews from South Korea and overseas. The release of the album was also seen as the group's softer, more mature and sophisticated "velvet" side finally being accepted by the public. Seon Mi-kyung of Osen considered the transition from their last song, "Red Flavor" to their "velvet" concept a bold move, especially when they had just gained notable success and recognition for it, but commented that it is noteworthy the group chose to change their identity and color to showcase their growth as artists. In their review of the album, KookMin Ilbo complimented the songs on the album as "colorful and solid". After shedding light on how the distinction between the group's "red" and "velvet" tracks are not as simple as being "dance" vs. "ballad", they claimed that Red Velvet's music is like a signal that people can now "do this kind of music". They also noted that visually, it references mysterious images of classic b-grade movies reminiscent of retro music in the UK.
Kim Sang-hwa of Oh My Star on the other hand, called Red Velvet "a force other groups could not begin to imagine" particularly because of how all five members of the group reached new peaks vocal-wise. He also spoke of their musical experimentation and "future-oriented sound", asserting that it is their strongest ever. He then concluded that the album is one of the most outstanding domestic music records released in the year. Writing for OhmyNews, Oh Joon-young discussed the prejudice that idols are not considered artists and how Red Velvet pushed the boundaries of what idol music should be with their diverse musical inspirations and styles, thus gaining the public's respect. South Korean online magazine weiv also chose Perfect Velvet as their pick for the best domestic album of the year and was the only album by an idol group to be included on the list. In January 2018, Perfect Velvet was chosen by Idology out of 729 Korean albums as the best album of 2017, where 11 of their writers voted.
Tamar Herman of Billboard labelled the lead single as a "stylistic follow-up" to their 2015 song "Ice Cream Cake" which according to her had the same "haunting, chromatic melody and taunting choral hook". She then described the album as "a lush retro-pop soundscape that offers up a complete turnabout from the vibrant sound and styling of their summer hit "Red Flavor" and "The Red Summer". In December, Herman chose it as one of Billboard's 20 Best K-pop Albums of 2017: Critics' Picks. Aubree Stamper of The Michigan Journal stated that "all nine tracks on the album fit well together" and showed a new side of the group. Chase McMullen of The 405 believed that too often than not, most of South Korea's popular girl groups were limited to two concepts, which are "cute" and "sexy" but "Red Velvet's only true interest appears to be dodging what's expected" and is a group who valued their versatility. He also stated that "The album plays like something of a challenge, constantly seeking to top itself". Lastly, he maintained that the members continue to challenge themselves, all the while crafting "irresistible pop that doesn't lose an ounce of sheen once the buzz wears off".
Commercial performance Edit
Domestically, Perfect Velvet was a commercial success, peaking at number two on the Gaon Album Chart. The lead single "Peek-A-Boo" debuted at number 12 on the Gaon Digital Chart but rose to number two a week later. The song also topped the Gaon Download Chart in its second week. All the other tracks in the album charted on the Gaon Download Chart. The album sold a total of 90,456 copies by the end of the year. As of April 2018, Perfect Velvet has sold a total of 101,032 copies, making it Red Velvet's first album to surpass 100,000 copies sold in South Korea.
|5.||"My Second Date"||3:14|
|Japanese Albums (Oricon)||20|
|South Korean Albums (Gaon)||2|
|US World Albums (Billboard)||1|
|US Top Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)||3|
|US Independent Albums (Billboard)||39|
Awards and nominationsEdit
Music program awardsEdit
To view Red Velvet's Perfect Velvet Gallery, click here.
For Red Velvet's Peek-A-Boo, click here.