It’s hard to believe that Red Velvet have only had two comebacks since December 2019. The group, once considered in the top three girl groups of South Korea, have been all but relegated to individual or subunit related activities, resulting in some mixed but generally positive results. However, their big 2021 comeback, Queendom failed to inspire the kind of hype or musical magic usually evoked by the groups best work. As such, Feel My Rhythm arrived relatively quietly compared to their other releases. And despite the overall lack of fanfare, Feel My Rhythm manages to surprise in the best way possible.
Now you can’t just sample one of my absolute favourite classical pieces and expect me not to enjoy it to a certain extent. Bach’s Air On A G String is an absolute masterpiece, harbouring one of the all time greatest melodies, all at once emotional, magical and ethereal. It’s a gorgeous piece and one that I wouldn’t ever consider K-pop adjacent or ripe for sampling. Yet somehow, Feel My Rhythm (bar its rather jarring first verse) manages to take it and form one of the years most beautiful productions. The moments where the percussion is stripped back to shine light on the vocals and the sample are some of the years most invigorating moments, feeling incredibly potent whilst also adhering to a sense of weightlessness. It’s excellent stuff that reaches a peak during the tracks two part chorus, which opens incredibly strong before blossoming into an absolute stunner during its second half. The “follow follow my heart beat” segment is pure bliss, feeling like a flawless symbiotic relationship between sample and lyrical melody. It’s probably the first time I’ve genuinely come close to being floored this year.
In many ways Feel My Rhythm feels like a successor to 2019’s Psycho. Albeit brighter and more melodically inclined. And that’s probably why I much prefer it to its predecessor. Feel My Rhythm manages to go in multiple different directions whilst also circling back to its titular hook in incredibly satisfying fashion. Something that many other SM tracks of late aim for but usually falter at. Most importantly, the girls absolutely kill it. This is probably the groups strongest vocal performance in since 2018 and one that pulls the best out of each of them. Wendy especially, is excellent during the bridge, adjusting her performance to a more breathy, airy tone to really give the track a more ethereal soundscape more in tune with its sample. So with everything considered, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call this my favourite Red Velvet effort since 2018’s Bad Boy.
Final Rating: 9 / 10