In recent years, the K-pop community as a whole has come to associate summertime with Red Velvet‘s special summer releases. Red Velvet started this trend by releasing “Red Flavor” in 2017 and followed up with the addicting “Power Up” in 2018. Since “Zimzalabim” wasn’t quite the summer song the public had wished for, fans patiently waited for Red Velvet to release the summer anthem of 2019. This came in the form of “Umpah Umpah”, the title track of the second part of Red Velvet‘s ‘The ReVe Festival‘ trilogy.

“‘The ReVe Festival’ Day 2” is similar in form to its predecessor. The packaging was similar and both albums have a total of six songs with the last track being the slowest. “‘The ReVe Festival’ Day 2” consists of the following songs: “음파음파 (Umpah Umpah)”, “카풀 (Carpool)”, “Love Is The Way”, “Jumpin'”, “Ladies Night”, and “눈 맞추고, 손 맞대고 (Eyes Locked, Hands Locked)”. All of these tracks are wildly different from each other, and I personally think Day 2 is one of Red Velvet‘s most diverse album. While the title track was far more public-friendly compared to “Zimzalabim”, I think the album as a whole took a risk that showcased new sides of Red Velvet’s musicality.

The teaser for “Umpah Umpah” was very reminiscent of their past two summer title tracks, “Red Flavor” and “Power Up”. The scenes included dancing on the beach and singing in a car on a colorful set. The snippet of the song itself promised something very bright and energetic. Even the girls looked ready for the summer season in their cool outfits.

While waiting for the MV for “Umpah Umpah” to drop, I didn’t know quite what to expect. “Red Flavor” still remains my favorite Red Velvet song as “Power Up”,”RBB”, and “Zimzalabim” hadn’t quite met my expectations. Red Velvet thankfully blew it out of the water and showed that they were back to prove that they are indeed the queens of the summer.

This song encompasses summer as it’s bright, happy, dynamic, and even has a hint of nostalgia. My first impression of the track was that it sounded like something that would’ve come out in the ’90s or the early ’00s. The chorus showcases the girls’ beautiful voices, and the chord progression and the beat are simultaneously refreshing and also sentimental. It reminded me of my childhood, and even reminiscent of a Disney song. It’s as catchy and addicting as any other Red Velvet title track and I loved everything about it.

What really shines about this song, other than the melody and production, is the lyrics. It likens falling in love with being underwater, and the title itself “Umpah Umpah” is the sound one makes when they’re learning how to swim and how to come up for air in a rhythmic fashion. The line “feel the rhythm” and the repetition of Umpah Umpah points to this. Red Velvet talks to their lover about how falling in love with them is like learning how to swim, and that it’s easy to do once they get in the flow. However, the girls also warn the lover that if they’re not careful (like many have not before), then they might mess it up and not be able to capture their love or “inhaling water” as this swimming metaphor states.

One of my favorite lyrics is Irene and Joy‘s rap that mentions Red Velvet‘s previous title tracks such as “Dumb Dumb‘” “Red Flavor”, “Happiness”, and “Ice Cream Cake”. It was a nice, funny touch to the song that reminded me of the famous Michael Jackson rap in “Dumb Dumb”.
Rating: 9/10

Moving on to the next song, “Carpool” is the first b-side of the album. It’s personally my favorite b-side, and it’s the perfect track for a road trip. Joy‘s sweet vocals start the song with the line “excuse me baby”, and it has a minimal instrumental until the beat starts and continues at a fast pace. It’s not as crazy and quick as some of the Day 1 b-sides, but it’s such a suiting song for the summer with its bright sound and tempo.
Rating: 7.5/10

“Love Is The Way” is probably the song that stands out the most from the album. It’s a genre that’s never been done by Red Velvet before, with its retro and groovy sound that’s yet another throwback to the past. It’s quirky, and I love the harmonizations near the end of the song. Seulgi‘s vocals were made for “Love Is The Way“. This is the type of track I can imagine hearing in a 90’s musical.
Rating: 7/10

The fourth song of the album, ‘Jumpin’‘, sounds most like a Day 1 song. It’s the song that ties the two parts of the trilogy together in the most cohesive way. It has that fast-pace and exciting vibe that was present throughout the Day 1 album. The chorus is more vocal focused with the instrumentals dialing back slightly, but the song itself is heavily based on a strong beat that pushes the rhythm forward.
Rating: 6.5/10

Furthermore, as the Day 2 album slowly comes to an end, Red Velvet’s “velvety” side begins to emerge (much like on Day 1). The fifth track ‘Ladies Night‘ is a song that reminds me of “The Red” album. Its instrumentals have the flute, brass, and the piano to give the song a jazzy feel while remaining light. It’s colored with interesting vocal features, such as falsettos, high-notes, and ad-libs throughout the song.
Rating: 6/10

The last song “Eyed Locked, Hands Locked” is the resident ballad of the album, but there’s nothing generic or boring about it. It has a blues undertone to it, and like many other Red Velvet slower songs, heavily relies on the girls’ vocals in the chorus. My favorite part is Joy’s verse before the second chorus starts. This song creates a very relaxing atmosphere, and is the perfect ending to the album and promises a lot for the upcoming Day 3 album.
Rating: 6/10

“‘The ReVe Festival’ Day 2” is probably one of Red Velvet‘s most diverse and experimental album. No two songs sound similar, and each song touched upon a new fusion of genres we haven’t heard before from Red Velvet. I especially want to point out just how fantastic Joy sounded in this entire album, and I was once again reminded of how she is a wonderful singer.

Overall, I thought Day 2 was a great follow-up to Day 1. However, even though I enjoy “Umpah Umpah” a lot more than “Zimzalabim”, so far I prefer the album Day 1 to Day 2 (although it is a very slight preference).

Artistic Creativity: 9/10
Vocal Quality: 9/10
Music: 7/10

Album: 8.3/10