Peek-a-Boo (Red Velvet song)
|Single by Red Velvet|
|from the album Perfect Velvet|
|Released||November 17, 2017|
|Recorded||2017; S.M. Studio|
|Red Velvet singles chronology|
"Peek-a-Boo" (Hangul: 피카부; RR: Pikabu) is a Korean song recorded by South Korean girl group Red Velvet for their second studio album, Perfect Velvet (2017). Described as an up-tempo pop dance song with trop house elements, the song was written by Kenzie and was produced by Moonshine, Ellen Berg Tollbom and Swedish singer-songwriter Cazzi Opeia. It was released on November 17, 2017 as the lead single of Perfect Velvet.
Upon its release, the song and the album received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the group for their transition from their brighter and bubblier image from their last two singles "Rookie" and "Red Flavor" (both released in the same year), to a more mature sound. The song attained commercial success, peaking at No. 2 on both the Gaon Digital Chart and Billboard's World Digital Songs chart.
Red Velvet held a comeback showcase on the day of the song's release and promoted the song on several music programs, including Music Bank, Inkigayo, The Show and Show Champion. The group also performed the song on several year-end music awards, along with their single "Red Flavor".
After finishing initial promotion for The Red Summer and wrapping up their first concert Red Room in August 2017, various South Korean news sites reported that Red Velvet is planning for their third comeback within the year on October 30. The announcement was then confirmed later that day by their home label S.M. Entertainment.
S.M. Entertainment revealed the title of the group's new single through a teaser along with the title of their second full album, Perfect Velvet at midnight on November 8. Referencing the "velvet" half of the group's dual concept that affects the group's music and their image where their "red" side is brighter and livelier, producing upbeat songs such as their last single "Red Flavor" while their softer and more sophisticated "velvet" image spawned tracks predominantly of the R&B and ballad genre, S.M. Entertainment stated in an interview with X Sports News on November 8 that they intended to show "an upgraded version" of the group's "velvet" concept. The single is described as one of the group's "velvet" tracks but with hints of their "red" side which their company felt is the perfect formula for the concept.
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"Peek-a-Boo" was composed by Moonshine (Ludvig Evers & Jonatan Gusmark), Ellen Berg Tollbom and Swedish artist Cazzi Opeia, who revealed earlier in June 2017 that she had written a song for the group.
Musically, "Peek-a-Boo" was described as an up-tempo pop dance song with addictive hooks. Meanwhile, Tamar Herman of Billboard stated that it is "laden with trop house elements underneath the overarching quirky pop vibe, and is driven by a deep bass drumline, scratchy synths, and metallic beats" which also features "a variety of diverse, playful instrumental elements nestled beneath the main melody". The song was composed in the key of C# minor, with a tempo of 115 beat-per-minute. To match the mysterious vibe of the music video, member Joy recorded her own laughter multiple times for a segment in the track but ultimately, the voice taken from the original demo was featured instead. Its lyrics, which were written by S.M. Entertainment songwriter Kenzie, compares a newfound romantic relationship to a mischievous game children play.
A music video for the song was released the same day as the single and album. It was directed by Kim Ji-yong and was filmed in a 100-year-old house somewhere in Los Angeles. Kyle Hanagami once again choreographed for the group, his fifth time working with them after "Be Natural" (2014), "Ice Cream Cake" (2015), "Russian Roulette" (2016) and their last single, "Red Flavor", which was released only months prior. Its dance features a peeping hand movement similar to the "OK" hand sign emoji.
In what Billboard describes as "seductively murderous", the music video had a darker theme than any of their previous songs. With a plot similar to b-grade horror films, it starts off with all five girls in rainbow dresses staring ominously at a full moon on the porch of an old house. In various scenes, the members are shown with all kinds of weaponry and doing a form of ritual. A pizza delivery boy is lured inside and tricked into playing with them, but after making a show of helping him escape the danger he realizes he is in, they hunt him down and the video ends with his uniform on display in a glass case that was last seen empty in the girls' house. The music video reflects the image change the group underwent from "Red Flavor". Lai Frances of PopCrush stated that "the K-pop quintet ditched the saturated sets for darker schemes while channeling their inner Wednesday Addams". Similarly, The Michigan Journal felt that it gave off sinister cult vibes and compared it to "a creepy 1930's Hollywood horror film". The group's main vocalist Wendy admitted that she struggled to get into character as a "femme fatale" but fellow member Seulgi claimed that she liked the darker pop sound and eerie music video. She also added that "people will be more curious about it because it's mysterious and charming all at the same time".
To promote the song and album, Red Velvet held a showcase on November 16, where they performed "Peek-A-Boo" for the first time. The group also appeared on a number of music shows in South Korea and had their comeback stage on Music Bank on November 17, an hour before the album's release along with the music video. The song was also performed on several South Korean year-end music awards, along with the group's previous singles in 2017.
"Peek-a-Boo" received generally positive reviews from music critics and was especially well-received in South Korea. Coming from a brighter image which reflects the "red" half of the group's concept, where their previous single "Red Flavor" falls under, the group revisiting their softer and more mature "velvet" side was considered a bold and dangerous move, considering the success of "Red Flavor". Seon Mi-kyung of Osen believed that it is noteworthy the group chose to change their identity and color to show their growth as artists. KookMin Ilbo praised all the songs in the album, calling them "colorful and solid" and characterized the single as "a combination of grooves by heavy drum beats and dark yet lively melodies". While talking about how the quality of music has increased dramatically over the past decade, they commented that Red Velvet's music is like a signal that now, people "can do this kind of music". Kim Sang-hwa of Oh My Star compared the transition from their "red"-dominant songs to "Peek-A-Boo" to "a rugby ball that you are unsure of where it would go", but called their musical experimentation and "future-oriented sound" their strongest ever and hailed the album as one of the most outstanding domestic music records released in the year.
Tamar Herman of Billboard described the lead single as "a stylistic follow-up" to their 2015 song "Ice Cream Cake" which according to her had the same "haunting, chromatic melody and taunting choral hook". Referencing the song's music video, Aubree Stamper of The Michigan Journal stated that "the song itself and its addicting beat will lure you in just like the poor pizza boy" and gave emphasis to its playful lyrics in the chorus. Chase McMullen of The 405 compared the group to other popular girl groups who are limited to either "cute" or "sexy" concepts and lauded them for "simply refusing to be pegged down" and "making a point of valuing their versatility", giving their last two singles as an example of their diverse music.
"Peek-a-Boo" debuted at no. 12 and no. 6 on the South Korean Gaon Digital Chart and Gaon Download Chart respectively in the 46th week of 2017, with 103,451 downloads. The song quickly rose to no. 2 on the Gaon Digital Chart a week later and no. 1 on the Gaon Download Chart, with 145,930 downloads in its second week. It became their third single to enter the top five on the Gaon Digital Chart within the year, and their eighth overall top-ten hit. It then charted at number 9 for the November issue of monthly Gaon Digital Chart, with a total sales of 316,099 downloads. In addition, the song debuted at number 3 on the re-established Billboard K-Pop Hot 100 for the week of November 27, 2017. It then rose to no. 2 the following week, becoming the highest peak for the song (and the group) on the chart, tying with their previous release "Red Flavor".
Elsewhere, the song charted at number two on the US Billboard World Digital Songs chart, which ties with their previous record on the chart with their 2016 single "Russian Roulette". In Japan and Philippines, the song debuted at number 36 and 62 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 and Philippine Hot 100 respectively, making it their second single to enter the chart in 2017.
- S.M. Entertainment Co., Ltd. – executive producer
- Lee Soo-man – producer
- Kenzie – vocal director
- Lee Joo-hyung – vocal director, pro tools operating
- Lee Ji-hong (S.M. LYVIN Studio) – recording engineer
- Lee Min-gyu (S.M. Big Shot Studio) – recording engineer, digital editing
- Jung Eui-seok (S.M. Blue Cup Studio) – mixing engineer
- Kenzie – lyricist
- Moonshine (Ludvig Evers & Jonatan Gusmark) – composer, arrangement
- Ellen Berg Tollbom – composer, arrangement
- Cazzi Opeia – composer, arrangement
- Red Velvet – vocals
- Shin Agnes – background vocals
- Cazzi Opeia – background vocals
|Japan (Billboard Japan Hot 100)||36|
|Philippines (BillboardPH Hot 100)||62|
|South Korea (Gaon Digital Chart)||2|
|South Korea (Billboard K-pop Hot 100)||2|
|US World Digital Song (Billboard)||2|
|South Korea (Gaon Digital Chart)||7|
|South Korea||November 17, 2017||Digital download||S.M. Entertainment, Genie Music|
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