EP review: Irene & Seulgi (Red Velvet) - Monster

EP review: Irene & Seulgi (Red Velvet) - Monster | Random J Pop

Upon listening to Monster, one of my thoughts was that one of the worst things that SM Entertainment did with this EP was releasing "Monster" as the lead song. It is beyond generic. It sounds like something from a smartphone commercial. Follow up single "Nothing" was a far better song to have gone with when it comes to delivering something that's exciting, easy to latch onto and makes a far bigger and better statement about the potential for Irene and Seulgi. And this is what's missing from Monster as a whole. A sense of who Irene and Seulgi are aside from just being members of Red Velvet. Then I realised that "Monster" was actually a far better representation of the EP than "Naughty", and that it was just one of several things that SM did wrong with this release.

Monster falls victim to the SM Entertainment model, which is taking a sound that SM likes and just giving it to everybody, with no real sense of trying to have anybody have their own sound. Only in the past 8 years (12 years into her career) has SM's resident queen BoA started to settle into something which could be considered her sound - but then that's being infringed on by Red Velvet, who are far more active and at the forefront of this generation of K-Pop than BoA, to a point where some may see it the other way around. "Diamond" sounds like something from BoA circa Kiss My Lips, whilst "Naughty" sounds straight up like something from BoA circa One Shot, Two Shot and Woman. In fact, the entire EP sounds like BoA. Even "Feel Good" and "Uncover". The only respite is from "Monster" which could be any SM artists' song and "Jelly" which sounds like Seohyun's "Don't Say No".

SM's failure to give Irene and Seulgi something that's their own, or at the very least marks a new direction of sounds in SM that Irene and Seulgi can say they started, is what hurts this EP. Sure, the songs are good. But they're not unique to Irene & Seulgi, as we've heard them all before in some form. And Irene nor Seulgi do not bring anything to the songs to own them and ward off comparisons.

EP review: Irene & Seulgi (Red Velvet) - Monster | Random J Pop

It's clear that there's no real focus nor intent for Irene & Seulgi to be...anything. Monster feels so cobbled together. There's no flow to this EP. It's just a hop, skip and a jump from song to song, none of which leave a lasting impression of Irene or Seulgi. SM's lack of consideration with this EP feels more glaring at a time when SM has gotten good over the years at producing albums and EP's as bodies of work. The fact that they're capable, but just didn't bother goes to show that SM were either using Irene & Suelgi as guinea pigs, or just filling a gap in their release schedule; even if it means Monster won't be loved in the long run or be remembered. Which is fine, given it'll be buried in Red Velvet's collective discography in 2 years with EP's anyway. The mini album including an Irene solo song, but not one from Seulgi also adds to the lack of intent and purpose behind this EP. It was never meant to be a vehicle for Irene nor Seulgi, or even anything that adds to Red Velvet. There may as well have been SM Station releases by a bunch of other artists.

It's a shame, because this EP has good songs on it, but it feels like the bare minimum is being done on each of them. "Diamond" has a really nice soulful groove, but Irene & Seulgi add nothing to it. "Uncover" has a sexy throwback Janet Jackson vibe about it, and Seulgi sounds nice, but you just want more than what she's giving.

Monster is a case of good enough songs, but not good enough of an EP. Unless you are already a Red Velvet fan, there's nothing about Monster which will have you invested in Irene, Seulgi or even Red Velvet. The visual for "Naughty" will do more for that than the music itself.

I thought SM were better than this, and Irene and Seulgi deserved better.

๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ The songs are good.
๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿพ Irene & Seulgi have no musical style or identity.


■ Naughty
■ Diamond
■ Uncover ๐Ÿ†