Hey y’all! I didn’t plan it this way, but I’m doing another SM Entertainment group this week. I’ve been requested to review Red Velvet, which I was more than happy to do. I wasn’t wowed by their debut song, Happiness, but they came back with two singles for their new EP, so the odds were better this time around. I’ve decided to go with Automatic, so without further ado, let’s take a look!
Here’s the music video with English subtitles:
The song is about a girl who has fallen deeply in love with someone. These feelings are both “natural” and “automatic.” She can’t help herself. It’s a nice angle for a love song, the way everything seems to come so naturally when you’re with the right person. The lyrics seem very sweet and romantic.
The lyrics seem somewhat at odds with the video, in which the girls (with new member, Yeri) do a lot of sitting. They sit on couches, at tables, in cars… They also walk around dramatically in various settings: a bathroom, a library, a club. Their faces are very blank, seeming nothing like a girl in love to me. It’s all very robotic, and that paired with the somewhat retro style brings The Stepford Wives to mind.
I do really enjoy the way this video is styled. It’s almost dreamlike, with the girls going from one scene to another almost flawlessly, making quick costume changes with movie magic. It’s very fluid, which goes well with the sound of the song itself. Not to mention the old school R&B vibe, and the hints of vintage clothing here and there. Though the actions don’t fit the lyrics, the video fits the tone of the song.
The one part of the video that I could have done without is the car scene. I’m not sure what the point of it was, and why the costuming suddenly changed. The brightest clothing is all in this scene, which is maybe why it cuts to black and white intermittently. There’s color, of course, throughout the video, but it seems more subtly compared to the bright pinks in this scene.
I’m also not 100% sold on the outfits for the dance scene. I like that the outfits are somewhat inspired by menswear, and I like the black and white, but I’m not sure if the extra fabric around the wrists does it for me. Especially for the two members who don’t have sleeves (and the member with only one sleeve), and are just wearing weird fabric bracelets around their wrists. Those members, at least, probably could have done without. It seems more “period drama” than “glamorous pop star” to me.
That being said, I am fond of the dance. It’s both graceful and sensual, without being too over the top. Somewhat a relief, when you consider that the newest member is no older than 16. It’s a bit disconcerting, but it doesn’t seem like she’s doing anything too age inappropriate, so it’s not that bad. Given the lyrics, I certainly wouldn’t expect bubbly or cutesy choreography, but I do like that it wasn’t flat-out sexy.
The song is a slower tempo R&B song, and I know I complain a lot about slow-tempo songs, but I really did like this one. The melody is very catchy (it’s stuck in my head as I type!) and there’s enough variation over the course of the song that it doesn’t get boring. I probably won’t listen to it every day, but I also wouldn’t skip it if it came up on shuffle.
All in all, I thought this was a really satisfying comeback. It shows a different side of Red Velvet, compared to their debut, and most of it seemed really thought-out and in a way that SM Entertainment isn’t known for. Red Velvet seems to be their new golden group, and I’m curious to see how they continue to grow.
-Entertaining slow-tempo song.
-Gorgeous, dreamlike video.
-A few weird clothing/video choices.