Red Flavor

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"Red Flavor (빨간 맛)"
Single by Red Velvet
from the album The Red Summer
Released July 9, 2017 (2017-07-09)
Format Digital download
Genre Dance-pop
Length 3:11
  • Kenzie
  • Daniel Caesar
  • Ludwig Lindell
Producer(s) Caesar & Loui
Red Velvet singles chronology
"Would U"
"Red Flavor (빨간 맛)"

"Would U"
"Red Flavor"
Music video
"Red Flavor (빨간 맛)" on YouTube

"Red Flavor" (Hangul빨간 맛; RRPpalgan mat) is a song recorded by South Korean girl group Red Velvet for their fifth extended play The Red Summer (2017). Written by S.M. Entertainment lyricist Kenzie and produced by Daniel Caesar & Ludwig Lindell (known collectively as Caesar & Loui), "Red Flavor" is primarily a dance-pop song with a summer vibe, while the lyrics hint towards a young relationship with summer references. It was released as the title track from The Red Summer on July 9, 2017 by SM Entertainment, along with an accompanying music video.

Upon its release, "Red Flavor" received positive reviews from music critics who praised its hook and catchiness, describing it as a "summer anthem". It has since appeared on several year-end lists from critics. The song was a commercial success in South Korea, becoming the group's first Gaon chart-topper and their fifth song to sell over a million copies, while being their highest entry on the re-established Billboard Kpop Hot 100. It also attained success outside of their native country, peaking at number four on Billboard's World Digital Songs chart while becoming their first single to enter Billboard charts in Philippines and Japan.

Background and release[edit]

Following the release of Red Velvet's fourth extended play Rookie in February, SM Entertainment confirmed through news outlet on June 23, 2017 that the girls would be releasing their first summer release and had recently finished filming a music video.[1] This marked the group's second comeback within a calendar year. On June 30, the first batch of teaser photos were posted on the group's official social media accounts. The album title and the full track list which includes "Red Flavor" was revealed on the same day.[2] On July 7, a 19-second video teaser for "Red Flavor" was uploaded on the official SMTOWN channel, with the official video being released two days later.[3] The song had its official digital release on July 9, 2017, along with the extended play.


"Red Flavor" was produced by Daniel Caesar and Ludwig Lindell who had previously worked with several South Korean artists under the name 'Caesar & Loui'. In an interview with Tone Glow, the duo revealed that it had originally been written for the British girl group Little Mix with the title "Dance With Nobody". After deciding that the song could also work for the K-pop market, they recorded the demo with vocals by Ylva Dimberg whose voice is still heard in the background vocals in the pre-chorus. A distorted voice singing the lyrics "Red Flavor" featured in the song was done by Lindell himself.[5] Its lyrics, which was written by long-time S.M. songwriter Kenzie, focuses on the theme of a young girl being in a summer love while using fruits as references. Youngest member Yeri also wrote the rap in Red Flavor.[citation needed]

Musically, Tamar Herman of Billboard characterized it as an electropop song with "dramatic synths and a percussive melody", which labeled the song as their sixth single to follow the "Red" concept. It was composed in the key of A major with a tempo of 125 beat-per-minute.[4][6][7] In addition, Chase McMullen of The 405 noted that the song includes a "clap-along groove" and horn-like instrument throughout, thus giving it a funky summer vibe.[8]

Initially released in Korean, a Japanese version of the song was also recorded for the group's first Japan showcase on November 6, 2017.[9]


Choreographed by Kyle Hanagami who had previously worked with the group for their singles "Be Natural" (2014), "Ice Cream Cake" (2015) and "Russian Roulette" (2016), the song's fruit-infused music video, which was directed by director Seong Chang-won, has a colorful summer theme that features all five members singing about love in the summer while dancing in an outdoor setting and at an in-house party. It also shows humorous scenes of the girls interviewing humongous pieces of fruit.[10][11] Red Velvet member Joy recalled running into S.M. Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man at an SMTown dinner, who disclosed to her that he had been heavily involved in overseeing the song's title, lyrics, melody, rhythm, and even the choreography.[12] It was released on S.M. Entertainment's official YouTube channel on July 9, 2017 to coincide with the digital release of The Red Summer.

A day before its digital release, "Red Flavor" was performed live by the group for the first time at an SMTOWN concert in Seoul which was considered as an unconventional release.[13] Hours after its release on July 9, the group had their first music show performance on Inkigayo where they also performed "You Better Know".[14] They continued appearing on several music shows such as The Show, M Countdown, Music Bank and Show Champion where they earned their first music show trophy for "Red Flavor" on July 20, 2017.[15] The song was also a part of Red Velvet's first solo concert Red Room in August 2017. It is the first Red Velvet song to be recorded and performed in Japanese, serving as their debut performance during a showcase in Japan on November 6, 2017.[16]

Critical reception[edit]

Following its initial release, "Red Flavor" has received positive reviews from music critics. Tamar Herman of Billboard magazine called the track "dynamic in its jam-packed, but not overpowering production" and concluded that it is "sure to be one of the summer's K-pop earworms".[4] Jeff Benjamin of Fuse magazine described the song as a "super-simple-to-swallow piece of pop", giving credit to the "cheery-chanty melody" which he describes as one of Red Velvet's more accessible tunes.[11] Chase McMullen of The 405 website complimented the song as an "effortless pop glide" while Lee Gi-seon of IZM magazine reacted positively to the unity of the group, which was presented throughout the whole song.[8][17] Chester Chin of The Star labelled it as an "in-your-face summer jam" and added that it's "relentlessly catchy".[18] Taylor Glasby of Dazed Digital commented that it "shouldn't be seen as merely a quirky fix", stating that "It's complex and intimidating and that it feels so immediate and identifiable on the surface is just emblematic of its greatness". With the mighty punch of its chorus, she claimed the song "completely won the summer".[19]

"Red Flavor" was included in IZM's Top 10 Singles of the Year and was named "Song of the Year" by GQ Korea in their November 2017 issue.[20][21] In December, Sun Mi-kyung of Osen selected it as one of their Memorable Songs of 2017 list, emphasizing the song's addictiveness and longevity on the charts, calling its hook "one of the best bars that hit the music industry".[22] Dazed Digital also included the song in their 20 Best K-pop Songs of 2017 list at number 2 and its music video was one of YouTube Korea's Top 10 Most Popular MVs of 2017.[19][23] The song also landed on Billboard's "20 Best K-Pop Songs 2017" list at number 4, with Jeff Benjamin praising the song's uplifting, addictive, deliciously bubblegum melody.[24]

Chart performance[edit]

Within the first 24 hours after its release, "Red Flavor" quickly topped 7 Korean digital charts and 8 other countries' iTunes digital chart.[25] On the third week of July 2017, the song debuted at the top spot of Gaon Digital Chart, thus giving the group their first No. 1 digital hit. It also debuted at the top spot of Gaon Download Chart with 291,643 downloads, becoming the group's best selling record in the first week.[26] As of December 2017, the song has been downloaded more than a million times, making it the group's fifth million-seller and currently their second best selling hit, only behind "Russian Roulette" (2016). The song then debuted at number two on the Billboard Kpop Hot 100, making it their first top-five entry and currently their highest position on the now re-established chart, tying with their next single "Peek-A-Boo".[27]

Elsewhere, the song debuted at number four on the US Billboard World Digital Song, making it their third song to debut and peak at the same position following "Happiness" (2014) and "Rookie" (2017).[28] The Korean version also debuted at number 24 and 25 on the Billboard Philippine Hot 100 and Billboard Japan Hot 100 respectively, marking their first entry (and currently their highest peak) on both charts.[29][30]


Weekly chart[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
Japan (Billboard Japan Hot 100)[30] 25
Philippines (Philippine Hot 100)[31] 24
South Korea (Gaon Digital Chart)[32] 1
South Korea (Billboard K-pop Hot 100)[27] 2
US World Digital Song (Billboard)[33] 4

Monthly chart[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
South Korea (Gaon Digital Chart)[34] 2

Year-end chart[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
South Korea (Gaon Digital Chart)[35] 20

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label
South Korea July 9, 2017 Digital download S.M. Entertainment, Genie Music
Worldwide S.M. Entertainment


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  2. ^ Jung, Hee-yeon (June 30, 2017). "'컴백' 레드벨벳, 타이틀곡 '빨간 맛'…7월 9일 공개". naver (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  3. ^ "Red Velvet Offers a Taste of Summer With 'Red Flavor' Song & Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  4. ^ a b c Herman, Tamar (July 9, 2017). "Red Velvet Offers a Taste of Summer With 'Red Flavor' Song & Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Korean Flavors: An Interview with Songwriting/Production Duo Caesar & Loui". toneglow. Tone Glow. August 8, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017. 
  6. ^ LLC, Blendist. "BPM for Red Velvet - 빨간 맛 Red Flavor on songbpm". Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
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  12. ^ "이수만이 적극 추천한 SM 타이틀곡 3". dispatch. Dispatch. 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2017-11-15. 
  13. ^ "레드벨벳, SM타운 콘서트서 신곡 '빨간 맛' 최초 공개···조이 티저 오픈" (in Korean). Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
  14. ^ "이효리, '인기가요'로 음방 피날레…레드벨벳 신곡 첫 공개 : 스포츠조선". Retrieved 2017-11-10. 
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  23. ^ Hicap, Jonathan (December 8, 2017). "2017's top K-pop music videos on YouTube in Korea revealed". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  24. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (December 14, 2017). "The Best K-pop Songs of 2017: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2017. 
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  34. ^ "Gaon Monthly Digital Chart - July 2017". Retrieved 2017-11-11. 
  35. ^ "2017's Gaon Year-End Digital Chart". Retrieved 2018-01-27. 

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