K-Pop Double Take is a weekly review column highlighting recent releases that have yet to receive the attention we feel they deserve.
It’s not so much about exactly what music you sample, most open-minded hip-hop producers would probably say, but what you do with it.
On “Cool World,” the disappointingly overlooked final song on Red Velvet’s first full-length album “The Red,” released on Sept. 9, the K-pop girl group use one of rap’s most famous samples of all time , Lyn Collins’s James Brown-produced 1972 track “Think (About It),” as sped up and processed by pioneer rap duo Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock on their 1988 crossover hit “It Takes Two” as a springboard for the song’s rhythm.
The result is a sound that Rob Base, DJ E-Z Rock or Lyn Collins herself could never have envisioned.
Writing a simple vocal hook that doesn’t rely on technologically driven gimmicks to strike the listener at their core is becoming a lost art in the recording industry and Red Velvet’s songwriting team on “Cool World,” Daniel Klein, Marcus Winther-John, Andy Love and Im Seo Hyun, handed the group a fantastic piece of writing.
The playlists of top 40 radio station heavy rotation playlists are littered with groups attempting to do the kind of three-chord anthemic electro pop that Red Velvet, who made their official debut last year with the single “Happiness,” seem to pull off so effortlessly. The perfectly dialed-in synthesizer sound and vocals that sound like you are in the room with the band members singing their hearts out, make this group succeed musically where others have failed on “Cool World.”
And, though (like many South Korean pop songs with Western cultural references), it is impossible to tell if the song’s name is in any way inspired by Ralph Bakshi’s 1992 film “Cool World” combining live action and animation, or was just a catchy title.
Either way, there’s no debating that Red Velvet are one of Hallyu’s coolest new acts.
Listen to the final song “Cool World” from Red Velvet’s debut album “The Red” RIGHT HERE