Published Jun 24, 2019The new EP from K-pop stars Red Velvet feels like the first stage of a mind-bending magic trick. From the get go, opening track "Zimzalabim" evokes mysticism, with its magic-words-sounding name. It hits hard with an anthemic, marching band sound that's been in vogue recently (think BTS's "Idol" or BLACKPINK's "Kill This Love") merged with a hypnotic chorus. On the lyrics front, it introduces the listener to themes they'll soon find permeate the record: illusions, leaving the known behind, finding happiness in wonder.
Tracks such as " Milkshake" and "Parade" keep a similar tempo, both literally and thematically: dreaming, flying, celebration. The story hound in me can't help but sniff out a consistency across the songs that resembles the first act of a narrative. Day 1 has a sort of rise without fall that feels intentional, with the only hint of something other than happy coming via the abrupt end of closing track "LP," where it sounds like a cassette tape is malfunctioning.
This consistency, coupled with Day 1 in the title, would suggest there's more to come. In that context, the similarity across tracks is less a lack of musical diversity and more setting the stage for a potential bigger story.
Though not the most obvious comparison, my mind goes to the way magic tricks are discussed in the film The Prestige. The movie insists all tricks consist of three acts: the pledge, turn and prestige. Unfortunately, we can't yet tell if the hypothetical prestige will amaze. But as it stands, 'The ReVe Festival' Day 1 — with all its energy, catchiness, and rose-coloured innocence — is certainly an attention-grabbing pledge. (SM Entertainment)