Song Review: Red Velvet – Chill Kill

The high points in Red Velvet’s discography are so high, but if I really think about it I haven’t cared for one of their title tracks since 2019. As with most groups approaching their tenth year in the industry, their comebacks have become less frequent, but today they deliver a wealth of new material on their third full album.

Title track Chill Kill continues SM Entertainment’s tradition of releasing slightly-spooky tracks right after Halloween has passed. Its stomping mid-tempo beat and powerful vocals recall 2019’s Psycho, though Chill Kill is a bit stranger. Its delicate — at times dramatic — instrumental reminds me more of last year’s Feel My Rhythm. The production has this weird sense of stuttering tension, as if a big climax is lurking around every corner. Those high points never materialize, as the chorus pulls back to deliver a haunted house atmosphere. Instead, Red Velvet’s vocals supply the theatrical heft. We get hints of past glories in their execution, even if the arrangement insists on strangling that potential (dynamic bridge aside).

Above all, this is very odd track. I keep trying to imagine how an acoustic version — without the cinematic production — might sound. Apart from the standout chorus melody, I’m not sure there’s much here that isn’t simply atmosphere. With that said, Red Velvet know how to sell atmosphere. Chill Kill is definitely a mood, and an interesting piece for listeners to pull apart. There’s so much going on, yet the end product doesn’t land many knockout punches. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I’m interested to see if it will become a grower.






Grade: B-

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