Red Velvet end up regressing musically & visually with “Rookie”

Red Velvet have come back with “Rookie,” which ends up as an odd effort at this stage in their careers.

Red Velvet have always been a bit hit or miss with me, and I’m afraid “Rookie” is more in the latter bucket than the former. While there are things to like about it, such as the fun tone it sets and the beat of the instrumental, too often it’s just devoid of anything melodic, especially during the chorus.

Surprisingly, the vocal sections of the verses were where the song seemed to excel, as they were generally pleasant and had some kind of direction to them. Unfortunately, while the repetitive chorus ended up working for me on “Dumb Dumb,” this hook of “rookie rookie, my super rookie rookie rookie” became increasingly annoying instead of appealing on repeat listens. Aside from the fact that “rookie” definitely sounds like “lookie,” it’s delivered in a way that’s more noisy and piercing than something that would develop into an earworm. Eventually, it gets to the point where the chorus just feels out of place from the rest of the song, and you’d rather it not come back around at all. Not what you want.

No matter how much I was anticipating “Rookie” and wanted to be treated to a hit, there’s simply no way I could recommend this Red Velvet effort. It’s far too flawed at its core for even the quality instrumental to compensate for it, and while it’s certainly not boring, listening to it is more of a chore than anything fun.

Setting the music aside, Red Velvet have always managed to craft an identity. The concepts are different, but the general feel of them are the same, and that continuity helps them to breed familiarity. That trend continues here … at least at the very start. However, whatever the hell that flower-covered thing is changes that immediately, and the rest of the video is sorta like Red Velvet on an acid trip.

Like, what is this outfit? Fashion, I guess.

They also perform in front of the Windows XP default background.

Perhaps this was a purposeful choice to allow them to experiment a bit with their style, but it seems a lot more odd just to be odd than anything with a plan or goal.

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In the end, “Rookie” felt like an oddly regressive from Red Velvet when they should be rocketing forward. It’s a potentially solid effort to a listener who finds the chorus tolerable rather than annoying, but it was impossible for me to get past that flaw. Worse yet, I even found the video to be disjointed and a bit lazy in execution, which is unexpected to receive from Red Velvet.

This will likely end up as their worst comeback to date, which is saying something considering my dislike of their first three singles. Oh well, there’s always next time (and also this might be a hit since I dislike it).

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‘Rookie’ Album

“Rookie” Song

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