Russian Roulette is the third mini-album released by Red Velvet. The title track was used as the promotional song. Compared to the last mini, which didn’t perform as well as their past releases, Russian Roulette proved to be a solid hit.
Released: September 7, 2016
1. Russian Roulette (러시안 룰렛)
2. Lucky Girl
3. Bad Dracula
4. Sunny Afternoon
6. Some Love
7. My Dear
Russian Roulette opens the album on a fun and exciting note with its video game-inspired arrangement. This is still one of my favourite title tracks from the group because it has that bright pop sound the group’s “Red” songs usually take on while also bringing a bit of the more melodic and mellow vibe of their “Velvet” side. The chorus is especially great with the hooks intertwined nicely within the melody.
Another bright pop tune comes blasting in with Lucky Girl, but this time we get a bit of a retro spin with its touch of doo-wop. The verses are a lot of fun and while the chorus is great, the transition into the latter is just so jarring. I like the chorus as the girls are singing in unison and its a nice change from their usual stuff where solo lines are interspersed throughout. It’s a pretty nice song.
Bad Dracula starts off as a pretty heavy-handed pop/R&B tune. But then somewhere in the pre-chorus into the chorus, things change up into a totally in-your-face pop song. It’s not bad, I feel like after that first time, the song just never lets up and is all over the place. I like songs with a lot of energy, but I feel like it just becomes so overpowering at some points.
I do think Sunny Afternoon is better as it has a brighter and more carefree pop sound. I was not expecting this song to be so great because most of Red Velvet’s B-sides always have such odd transitions, but the light R&B elements that are present throughout the whole song are a nice change of pace. That chorus is also great with its catchy and melodic punch.
Fool starts off in an unexpected way with its banjo-like arrangement. This song is more on the mellow side and I like that there isn’t another in-your-face pop song, but this just isn’t my cup of tea. It’s quite cute and a solid song, but I just feel like something is missing. The verses have an odd melody and while the chorus is better, it is also lacking in a really strong hook.
I like that Some Love brings something a bit more on the EDM side of things. It’s one of the examples of tropical house that came out before the genre was overkilled in K-Pop and it is a solid tune. The synths are nice, but it’s the simple hook that really grabs the attention. I do find the verses to be a bit messy as there is a disconnect between the music and vocal arrangement, but the chorus makes up for it.
My Dear finishes things off with something along the lighter pop route. This song isn’t too bad, but I feel like a lot of these sweet pop tunes tend to get overshadowed by other tracks for me. It’s still a pretty solid tune though and has a good chorus with bright sound. I just wish the verses were more interesting there was a bit more power in the arrangement.
Overall: This is easily their strongest physical release yet. While there were a few average songs, I felt like the high quality helped them out a lot and there were a few more pretty solid B-sides. I’m usually on the fence with a lot of Red Velvet’s album tracks, so there were some nice surprises here. Russian Roulette is also a stellar song.