[Review] Red Velvet’s “Zimzalabim” is a nauseating ride you’d like to forget

Red Velvet have returned to their quirky and upbeat ‘Red’ side of things with their latest release, and that has usually been welcome news for me. However, “Zimzalabim” takes the faith I had and throws it directly into the trash with an impressively misguided attempt to mine experimental gold.

The obvious comparison to make here is with SNSD‘s “I Got A Boy“, which definitely divided even fans but was something critics generally enjoyed. I guess I’m still just not that enlightened, because try as I may I could never get myself to even tolerate it enough to make a playlist, much less rave about. While I’m quite unsure “Zimzalabim” will even win over others in that sense, I can at least similarly rule out it ever winning over me.

Not to belabor the point with further “IGAB” comps, but I’m not sure even fans of that song would be satisfied with “Zimzalabim”, as the disjointed phases are similar but this chorus has no melody by comparison, instead primarily opting for an anti-climatic repetition of “zimzalabim zim-zimzalabim zim-zimzalabim zim-zim” repeated over and over. It’s difficult for any song to overcome such a lazy, and most importantly, boring chorus, and this certainly wasn’t the one to do it.

The rest of the song was better, though even that’s relative. When “Red Flavor” was released, many asked why I loved it despite what they found to be an annoying background sound. Well right from the start, it’s as if “Zimzalabim” was designed to showcase exactly what kind of sound would be too annoying to tolerate, as that unholy abomination of a farting, buzzing sound was prominently featured. That along with the great value Hitchhiker-esque EDM break was enough to put me off this even without the chorus.

The rest of the more melodic moments were fine enough, with Irene‘s rap verse standing out in particular. But even then, if you’re going to go this messy route, why not go all out instead of providing something that’s just comparatively pleasant?

It’s almost too easy to say that it’s not hard to see why SM Entertainment have been sitting on “Zimzalabim” since 2016, but it’s also true and I’m not sure why they opted for this as it continues their questionable title track choices since “Bad Boy“.

Lee Seu Ran, flat earth queen.

Whenever my own initial reaction to a song is to recoil in horror, I pause a bit and really try to listen again, mainly to see whether or not there’s something in it that I missed. However, doing so with “Zimzalabim” has only reaffirmed that Red Velvet deserve a lot better than this ungodly mess, and if the theme of this song is amusement park rides, then I’d want off this one as soon as possible.


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