“Birthday”: A delicious K-Pop album by Red Velvet


Copyright SM Entertainment

This album was released in 17 different variations with a variety of album covers

The fan-proclaimed ‘Queens of Concepts’ have returned to revive the music drought of third-generation K-Pop groups. Since their last album release, “Wildside,” in late March this year, Red Velvet’s comeback had fans eager for more. On Oct. 26, 2022, K-Pop news sites confirmed that Red Velvet would come back sometime in November. And it wasn’t until Nov. 6 that it was confirmed that “Birthday” would be released on Nov. 28. They then started with concept photos of every individual member, then group concept photos, up until the music video teaser was released on Nov. 27.
There are five girls in the group: Yeri, Wendy, Joy, Seulgi, and Irene. Red Velvet debuted in 2014 with only four members, with the digital single “Happiness.” They then added Yeri to the group for their official debut in 2015 for their first mini-album, “Ice Cream Cake.” Since then, Red Velvet has been releasing music with a broad range of concepts and genres and creating bangers left and right. They have one of the best discographies in the K-Pop industry.
With the announcement of “Birthday,” Red Velvet broke their record of pre-order albums of 516,866 with a whopping 712,187 album sales. There are various versions of their new album, the Cake version, a photobook version, a digipack, and a newly announced SMini version. There are 17 versions altogether, and I have purchased 7 of them. There most likely isn’t a solid reason as to why they need so many versions: I will blame capitalism for making the most adorable-looking album covers.
The Red Velvet girls have always been known for their experimental type of music, but “Birthday” certainly takes the cake. While it is not their best album, it came with one of their best B-sides. The second track on the album that is lovely to listen to is the song “BYE BYE.” Every time that song plays, I feel that my spirit is leaving my body and that I will start to ascend toward heaven. “BYE BYE” is a type of R&B mixed with pop, with an instrumental that you can’t help but do a little dancy-dance to. The girls harnessed all of their girlboss energy and created one of their most addicting songs. Truthfully, Wendy and Joy made this song with their deep, velvet vocals that itch my brain just right. “BYE BYE” is a must-listen if I have ever heard one.
The song “On a Ride” is another one on this album. I love listening to this song because it makes me feel happier and light-hearted. This makes sense considering the song’s title, “On a Ride,” which intends to put the listener on an amusement park ride. I can’t help but smile when listening to it, so I never skip it when it comes on. “On a Ride” fits the birthday concept very well, adding to the greatness of this new extended play of Red Velvet.
The title track, “Birthday,” is a new type of music by Red Velvet, adding to their already experimental songs. This new title track samples the classic piece of “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin, taking inspiration from their past album “Feel My Rhythm” when they sampled Bach’s “Air on the G String.” It is quite a funky-sounding song; very upbeat, synth, and bass heavy. Even with all those instrumentals, Red Velvet continues to deliver with their harmonic voices and melodies. The song “Birthday” is meant to make you think of the person you like and how they fulfill all your dreams and provide a wonderful day. I should also mention that the lyrics contained multiple allusions to their earlier songs, which thrilled ReVeluvs – fans of red velvet – like me. Songs such as “Ice Cream Cake,” “Dumb Dumb,” “Something Kinda Crazy,” and many more were referenced throughout the song.
The other two tracks, “ZOOM,” and “Celebrate,” are enjoyable songs, but they aren’t my favorite. “ZOOM” is so extremely catchy that I keep catching myself singing the lyrics even though I’m not the biggest fan of it. “Celebrate,” on the other hand, is a little slow for my liking, but give me a little more time and I will most likely force myself to love the entire album. The only likable part of “Celebrate” is the chorus due to its incredible catchiness, and it also has a good, dance-able beat. Red Velvet’s vocals peak through in this song which gives it more energy and the ability to like it even more.
Even if “Birthday” isn’t Red Velvet’s best album, it isn’t their worst. Red Velvet can’t make bad music. I would have to say that this is one of their most dance-able albums, with not a single song that I would skip. And for non-K-Pop listeners, I would wholeheartedly recommend listening to “BYE BYE” as it represents the girls’ perfect discography amazingly well.