Chill Kill – The 3rd Album
- Genre: K-Pop
- Date: 13 Nov, 2023
- Content: Not-explicit
- Track(s): 11
- ℗ 2023 SM Entertainment
In the decade following the global success of K-pop in the late 2000s, several firms and artists tried to make their mark. However, only three organizations successfully used their financial resources and promotional skills to elevate themselves and pave the way for others. They did this by using the contrasting themes of “red” and “velvet,” which helped a group of five members release more mature and darker songs as they grew older. In 2020, they moved away from their youthful bubblegum pop style towards a more mature acoustic and visual style, making the differences less noticeable. SM Entertainment released the group’s fourth overall and third Korean studio album, with ten tracks, including the lead single of the same name, on 13 Nov 2023.
BoA, known as the godmother of K-pop, is just one of the many famous artists that SM Entertainment has produced in the past. After the success of Girls’ Generation and f(x), both fading by the middle of the decade, SM Entertainment introduced Red Velvet as a promising act, quickly becoming popular in the Korean market. A clear vision from the beginning dramatically accelerates the rise of new and captivating artists, as fans always look for fresh talent.
The album cover artwork showcases the group in their attire of contrasting shades of black and white, striking a pose reminiscent of a photo album. The members’ posture and expressions convey a sense of confidence and unity, making for an eye-catching and memorable cover.
Tracks And Features
The album’s first track combines pop with R&B and features layered vocals. It’s a decent song titled “Chill Kill,” but not the best one on the album. The lyrics of this pop dance song narrate a love story, expressing the desire for the other person even in the face of disaster when the peaceful world was turned upside down. A strong bass, dreamy synths, string melodies, and a bell rhythm characterize the track.
The song “Knock Knock (Who’s There?)” is dance music that features a deep bass line, a mystery bell sound, and a quick string rhythm. The lyrics describe getting into a delightful and disorienting game of tag in a dream that starts with a knock on the door. Instrumentally, “Knock Knock” is a more frantic rendition of the title track, drawing inspiration from artists like Destiny’s Child but with a more dramatic feel.
The first few songs prelude to the two standout pieces, “Underwater” and “Will I Ever See You Again?”
“Underwater” is reminiscent of Perfect Velvet, one of the best full-length K-pop releases. The lyrics of the third track, “Underwater,” compare endless love to far-off deep water. The song has a slow-tempo R&B vibe with dreamy synth rhythms and a powerful, funky bass as the girls sing soulfully over dark, snappy beats and synth bass, enhanced by the chorus.
“Will I Ever See You Again?” is a fantastic song with an alluring vintage beat and captivating piano leads that set the mood perfectly. The lyrics of this fourth track are incredibly inspiring and remind us to move forward with positivity and composure, no matter what life throws our way. The upbeat beats and synth drops make this song a true masterpiece, and it’s no surprise that it’s also the most popular track on the list despite being one of the simplest.
“Nightmare” is another dance song that showcases the band’s talent impeccably. It’s impressive how they seamlessly transition from vocals and a late-night beat to lighter choruses. Including their “Feel My Rhythm” hit song in this track is a nice touch and is a mid-tempo R&B song with a robust string orchestration and a retro swing beat. “Iced Coffee,” the seventh song, is a simple R&B ballad featuring melancholic strings and a serene guitar beat.
Towards the end of Chill Kill, the mid-tempo tracks feel a bit repetitive. However, “One Kiss,” the seventh track, is a high-energy groove dance tune that perfectly blends synth and bass sounds with an enticing melody. The lyrics are about winning a stranger’s heart with a single kiss and keeping it a secret, making it catchy and relatable. The eighth song, “Bulldozer,” is a motivational piece of dance music with a robust and bass-heavy beat, catchy sound effects, and empowering lyrics that remind us to never give up despite resistance or limitations. It’s a perfect way to end the album on a positive note.
The listening journey gradually slows down for the following three songs, leading to the concluding ballad “Scenery” after the more energetic “One Kiss.” Using warm synths over a gentle, daydreaming tune, “Wings” is arguably the most intriguing. It takes on an upbeat R&B feel, fusing jazz, piano, bell, and synth rhythm with jazz lyrics that relate life’s lessons to the emergence and flight of a butterfly. The songs also convey a message of optimism and encouragement. The final track, “Scenery,” is a ballad highlighted by a gentle guitar melody. The songs tell a straightforward tale of layering each day with cherished memories that have gathered over time, much like a landscape painting of the four seasons. It’s another noteworthy addition and an appropriate finishing sound because of the members’ exquisite voices, which beautifully complement it.
|Knock Knock (Who’s There?)
|Will I Ever See You Again?
This is a “Chill Pill.” The album has some standout moments, but overall, it has a laid-back vibe that might not appeal to those looking for a more intense listening experience. This album isn’t as diverse or full of notable tracks as an album of a similar calibre, making one wonder if it could have been even better. Still, the album’s mature sound should not be disregarded; it creates a more comfortable and calming listening experience. Given its room for advancement, it would be intriguing to see how the group may build on this foundation and produce an even more compelling album in the future.