This article is the first part of our “ReVe Festival” series, which will be reviewing the entire trilogy.

After an almost 8 month break since the release of their 6th mini album ‘RBB’ (‘Really Bad Boy‘) last November, Red Velvet finally made a comeback in June with the first part of their ‘The ReVe Festival’ trilogy. Titled “’The ReVe Festival’ Day 1”, the EP consists of 6 songs: the title track ‘짐살라빔’ (‘Zimzalabim’), along with ‘Sunny Side Up!‘, ‘Milkshake’, ‘친구가 아냐’ (‘Bing Bing‘), ‘안녕‘, 여름‘ (‘Parade‘), and LP. The comeback was highly anticipated. Not only was it the first comeback in a long time of one of the biggest girl groups in K-pop, but the teasers released before the album dropped also promised something very different and unique. Although Red Velvet has been crowned queens of versatility and originality with their various attempts at new concepts over the years, this trilogy was a new attempt even for them. The teaser pictures and videos showed the girls in a sort of festival or carnival set, and the online cover photo of the album included symbols of songs Red Velvet has released since debut.

With the hype so high, it looked like everyone had tuned in for the release of the album. When June 19th came, the music video for ‘Zimzalabim‘ was released along with the rest of the album.

While ‘Zimzalabim’ isn’t anywhere near my favorite Red Velvet title tracks, I can respect Red Velvet and the producers for what they were trying to achieve. It’s definitely something new and unique with the chant-like chorus and the verses that don’t seem to fit into any pre-made formula. Even the way Wendy begins the song, “Whoo! Are you ready for this? Zimzalabim!, wasn’t enough to prepare us for the song. It proved to be even more divisive than Red Velvet’s most controversial title track yet, ‘Rookie‘. Some people passionately hated the song, while others claimed it was the best thing Red Velvet has ever put out. The song is definitely one that took time to grow on me. Even now, I have to be in a very specific mood to seek it out. As someone who likes to hum or sing along a catchy chorus, ‘Zimzalabim‘ doesn’t give me that luxury. It’s more of a chant or yell-type of a song, although I have to admit that the ending chorus with the repeating “Na-na-nas” is every bit as addictive and catchy as you would expect a Red Velvet song to be. 5.5/10

Zimzalabim’ may have thrown people off, but the song that comes right after it successfully brought them all back on the Red Velvet hype train. ‘Sunny Side Up!’ is a sultry, reggae-type song that highlights Seulgi and Wendy’s vocal colors perfectly. As it’s the chosen promoted b-side, Red Velvet has performed it a couple of times, and it was definitely the more public friendly song. If ‘Zimzalabim‘ is a scream to your ear, ‘Sunny Side Up!‘ is its direct contrast, coaxing you while managing to be energetic and fun. It’s yet another testament to how strong Red Velvet’s b-sides are. 9/10

The third track, ‘Milkshake‘, is my personal favorite song off the album. It was the song that made me go “wow” on first listen, and it still manages to surprise me with how good it is. It showcases the girls harmonizing, and it is playful and youthful in its melody. It has a festival sound to it, and one of its highlights is Irene’s rap before the second chorus hits. This is the song that sold the album for me, making me go from “I might actually not really like this album that much” to “nah, I actually really do.” The song also reminded me of a b-side off the ‘Rookie‘ or ‘Russian Roulette‘ mini, but it still holds a distinct sound that fits this album perfectly. 9/10

This is where the album starts to get really interesting. I must admit I had no real strong opinion of ‘Bing Bing‘ when I first listened to it. I could admit it was catchy, but its chorus was a little too repetitive for me to be instantly impressed. However, once again Red Velvet proved me wrong. There’s just so many things to enjoy about this song – the bridge, for example, going from Seulgi to Joy to Wendy’s high note, is a pure earworm. This song reminds me of a roller coaster, I feel like I’m on a ride the whole time, moving forward at a fast pace. This is no doubt the most carnival-sounding song on this album. 7.5/10

Parade‘ is the song I changed my opinion of the most. At first, I was pretty ambivalent about the song, but then one day it got stuck in my head and I was sold. It has a unique flavor to the chorus where all five girls’ voices mesh together in this really beautiful tone. If ‘Bing Bing‘ was almost a crazily fast-paced song, ‘Parade‘ is one pace slower, but it still manages to be energetic and lively. I also think that out of all five members, Joy’s voice blossomed the most in this particular song. Even the title screams ‘festival’, and this is the type of song I would sing out loud with my friends. 8/10

Unfortunately, the last song of the album is my least favorite, and while most people seem to absolutely love ‘LP‘, calling it one of the best songs of the album, it just didn’t resonate with me as much. It’s probably one of my least favorite Red Velvet b-sides ever. It suddenly falls flat from all the high-paced, fun songs we had before, and I find the chorus forgettable and, at times, annoying. The song is definitely more about the vocals than the performance, but even as someone who loves Red Velvet’s slower songs, this song just didn’t do much for me. 3/10

Overall this album surprised me in many ways. While the title track is probably one of Red Velvet’s weakest, I think the rest of the album is extremely solid, with the b-sides being both cohesive and well-suited for each other. This album also achieved a very important goal: to make people excited for the second part of the trilogy, which was released two months later in August.

Artistic Creativity: 8/10
Vocal Quality: 8/10
Music: 7/10