After a four-year hiatus from their signature “Velvet” releases, Red Velvet ‘s third studio album, Chill Kill, is a refreshing return to the group’s roots. The album, released on November 13, showcases the quintet’s ability to weave chilling tales with flawless harmonies, reaffirming their position as masters of the K-pop genre.
The eponymous title track, “Chill Kill,” takes center stage, but before delving into its intricacies, the album deserves credit for its strong lineup of B-sides. Red Velvet’s reputation for delivering exceptional B-sides in K-pop continues with tracks like “Knock Knock,” where bone-chilling harmonies layered over a sample of Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” create an Edgar Allan Poe-esque atmosphere of hide and seek. The vivid storytelling on this album is a testament to Red Velvet’s creative prowess.
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“Nightmare” unfolds with orchestral arrangements and retro swing rhythms, resembling scenes from a Victorian gothic horror novel. “Bulldozer” challenges listeners over powerful bass, testing their resolve to hold on during a wild ride. “Underwater” stands out as a strong contender for the best track, immersing listeners in an ocean of beats, complex harmonies, and evocative depictions of being swept away by deep, uncharted waters. “Iced Coffee” and “One Kiss” contribute to the atmospheric and cinematic journey crafted by the album.
However, the title track, “Chill Kill,” falls short of expectations. Despite teasers suggesting a blend of “tragedy and hope,” the song’s chorus fails to deliver the anticipated twisted version of hope. The clash between menacing synths and heavy beats in the build-up and the lackluster chorus creates a disconnect, making it one of the weaker tracks on the album.
While Chill Kill might not live up to the initial anticipation generated by its teasers, the album as a whole showcases Red Velvet’s ability to captivate with delightfully macabre storytelling. Despite the disappointment in the title track, the B-sides contribute to the thrillingly demonic atmosphere of the album, making Chill Kill a welcome addition to Red Velvet’s discography.
As the nights grow longer and the days colder, Red Velvet’s return with Chill Kill serves as a captivating soundtrack for those seeking a dark and enchanting musical journey.