Red Velvet’s Psycho & Naughty continue to receive recognition globally.
“Psycho” - Red Velvet
No other song deserves to be here more than “Psycho.” Even while the critically acclaimed and wildly popular Red Velvet single came out at the tail end of 2019, it continues to be nominated for Song of The Year in 2020 and they’re absolutely correct to do so. The song opens with an intro of pizzicato strings, a gentle operatic plucking giving way to member Seulgi’s opening falsetto. The music video is set in a palatial 1920’s horror set. White columns, glowing chandeliers, and sewing machines are the backdrop to eerie images of Yeri jumping in slow-mo, disembodied reflections, Joy and a bunch of doors, and The Original Visual™ Irene pricking herself on a sewing machine. It’s a haunting but irresistible track. Classical instruments, 8-bit arpeggios and metallic trap elements are the fitting backdrop to a song about a hot and cold, dysfunctional relationship. After Wendy sings her hook: “We’re in a very weird and strange relationship,” it builds into the most insane, jagged, psychotic chorus about intense fighting and making up right after. The whole song is perfectly unhinged, and after living through the year that was 2020, there is no other mood besides unhinged. At the final chorus, the girls sing in repetition “Hey now, we’ll be okay,” set to the same jagged synths. The RV girls are running around a sun-filled room, playing among white gowns. It seems like a pure picture-perfect ending. But right at the last moment, as the track fades out, Irene flashes a wicked smile and whispers: “Psycho.” — Toni Potenciano
“Naughty” - Red Velvet Irene & Seulgi
“Naughty” isn’t quite a song that you listen to, but experience in full. The second single from Red Velvet sub-unit Irene and Seulgi’s “Monster” EP, “Naughty” features a groovy baseline and a catchy hook — not surprising, given Red Velvet’s reputation for soul-cleansing pop tracks aided by powerful vocals. The song itself talks about the thrill of playing hide-and-seek, and the sub-unit wields that duality well: Irene and Seulgi performed “Naughty” in black and white, and they play off against each other in a groundbreaking tutting dance by choreographer Spella. It’s a shame the song was largely snubbed in Korean music award shows this year, because no amount of rewatching will numb you to the fact that it absolutely kills. — MB
Read full list