With all the group talents coming out of South Korea such as IU, BTS, BLACKPINK, MAMAMOO, and Jessi, it takes a lot to stand out among these best groups. But this set of girls seem to have it figured out.
Iconic outfits? Check. A flawless discography? Check. The original visuals? Check and check! Seven years into Red Velvet’s career, the multi-talented girl group continues to intrigue both old and new fans alike with their mysterious music videos and powered-up hit after hit. Here’s everything you could ever want to know about Red Velvet, including the group’s origins, fun facts, and complete discography.
- Red Velvet’s Beginnings
- Group Members
- Red Velvet Discography
- Happiness (2014)
- Be Natural (2014)
- Ice Cream Cake (2015)
- The Red (2015)
- The Velvet (2016)
- Russian Roulette (2016)
- Rookie (2017)
- The Red Summer (2017)
- Perfect Velvet and The Perfect Red Velvet (2017/2018)
- #Cookie Jar (2018)
- Summer Magic (2018)
- RBB (2018)
- Sappy (2019)
- The ReVe Festival Trilogy (2019)
Red Velvet’s Beginnings: The Super Rookies
Embed from Getty Images
Even before their debut, K-pop has been abuzz with the names of the “cake girlies” following their public introduction through SM Rookies in 2013. The first ones to be announced were Seulgi and Irene, who had been trainees since 2007 and 2009, respectively.
They later became a duo under the name SR14G and made a dance performance video to S.E.S’ “Be Natural” – a performance that established their chemistry and unknowingly became a major turning point in their lives.
The next two members were casted via SM’s Global Auditions in Canada and Seoul. In March 2014, Wendy was introduced as part of SM Rookies. While there, she showcased her expertise, singing for the soundtrack of Mimi. In July of the same year, the fourth member, Joy, was announced not as part of SM Rookies, but rather as part of Red Velvet.
On August 1, 2014, Red Velvet made history when they debuted as SM Entertainment’s newest girl group. Their name represents their two sides: the “Red,” vivid, and bold side, and the “Velvet”—classy and toned-down.
Red Velvet’s debut song, “Happiness,” skyrocketed to the top five on the Gaon Digital Chart. Additionally, it became the second most-viewed music video worldwide during its first month.
In October, the quartet released a remake of “Be Natural,” which featured the choreography performed by Irene and Seulgi as trainees.
By the end of the year, the four-month-old girl group won Rookie of the Year at the Golden Disk Awards and Seoul Music Awards, leaving everyone wondering, Who are they?
Group Members: The Perfect Velvets
Date of Birth: March 29, 1991
Legal Name: Bae Joohyun
Fulfilling the role of a leader isn’t an easy feat, but it comes naturally to Irene. Hailing from Daegu, Bae Joohyun was cast during a public audition in 2009.
During her trainee days, Joohyun was given her stage name, Irene, to represent the innate tranquillity attributed to her goddess-like aura.
She is also the self-proclaimed “mom” of Red Velvet, due to her tender way of caring for her dongsaengs through even the most mundane things.
Additionally, Irene serves as the multi-talented main rapper, lead dancer, sub-vocalist, center, and the original visual.
Date of Birth: February 10, 1993
When it comes to who really is the ace of K-pop, it’d be a sin not to include Seulgi in that discussion.
Red Velvet’s main dancer exudes insane charisma and confidence on stage. In fact, it seems like she turns into an entirely different person each time.
Seulgi is also the lead vocalist, although she could easily be a main vocalist in any other group—evidenced by her flawless roles as Wendy’s stand-in during her hiatus.
Date of Birth: February 21, 1994
Legal Name: Son Seungwan
Blessed with crazy vocals that brought fame to some of Red Velvet’s well-known lines like “shine on me” and “breathe again,” Son Seungwan has more than proven her role as the main vocalist of Red Velvet. Her fellow members even go so far as to call her Red Velvet’s vocal trainer!
Having lived in Canada and Minnesota for 7 years, Wendy is regarded as the group’s English representative. Outside group activities, Wendy has lent her voice countless times to OSTs, and even collaborated with John Legend in 2018 for the dreamy acoustic track, “Written in the Stars.”
Today, Wendy’s vocal prowess led her to become the first member to debut solo—a feat she powered through and absolutely nailed, following a long hiatus.
Date of Birth: September 3, 1996
Legal Name: Park Sooyoung
They say that you can’t outdo the doer, and who else could be the doer if not Red Velvet’s own pride and joy?
Born as Park Sooyoung, the proclaimed “sexy dynamite” has repeatedly caught men and women’s attention with legendary outfits. As an indispensable member of Red Velvet, Joy is the group’s sub-vocalist and lead rapper—roles that fit so well, she’s now considered the bridge queen of Red Velvet songs.
Joy has also graced the world of television with her past dramas, as well as her famous appearance on We Got Married.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Joy is set to star in another drama as the lead.
Date of Birth: March 5, 1999
Legal Name: Kim Yerim
Last but most certainly not the least is her unnies’ source of happiness, Red Velvet’s maknae, Kim Yerim.
As part of SM Rookies, Yeri has trained with SM since 2011. The two eldest members make hilarious claims about raising Yeri, since they watched her grow up and flourish right before their eyes.
She officially joined Red Velvet as the sub-rapper and sub-vocalist during the Ice Cream Cake era, as she was only fifteen when Red Velvet debuted.
Yeri also had her own mini-show called Yerihan Bang, in which she MC-ed and showed off her infectiously bright personality.
Her social butterfly persona could just as easily make her the nation’s maknae, since she maintains good friendships with contemporaries-slash-unnies like TWICE’s Nayeon, and sunbaes SNSD’s Taeyeon—and IU, as well! Like her fellow members, Yeri has ventured into acting as of 2021.
At this point, there is no doubt that Yeri is the glue that completes Red Velvet. No wonder some fans think of Ice Cream Cake as Red Velvet’s official debut era!
Red Velvet Discography
Release Date: August 4, 2014
Sometimes, you gotta get bold. And that’s exactly what the girls did for their debut track. Packed with optimism that matches upbeat instrumentals, Happiness piqued listeners’ interests and left them wanting much, much more.
Release Date: October 13, 2014
The girls’ second track is the re-popularized version of S.E.S.’ 2000 hit. Through the sultry, soul-slash-R&B track, “Be Natural”—and the unblemished choreography that came with it—Red Velvet sings their way into fans’ hearts.
Be Natural established their “Velvet” side, in stark contrast to their debut song. The track also featured a rap by NCT’s Taeyong, who was still a trainee at the time.
Ice Cream Cake
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Officially marking their debut as a five-membered group is Red Velvet’s first EP, Ice Cream Cake.
The title track gives a sugary taste of dance-rock, and combines cheerleader-like chants with a fiery bridge rapped by Irene and Joy.
- “Ice Cream Cake”
- “Somethin Kinda Crazy”
- “Stupid Cupid”
- “Take It Slow”
Release Date: September 9, 2015
Making history as Red Velvet’s debut studio album is the solid and commendable The Red. At the frontlines sits the highly energized “Dumb Dumb,” which offers fans a groovy sound and yet another JoyRene rap. In fact, it gave birth to Irene’s legendary Michael Jackson nod.
- “Dumb Dumb”
- “Huff and Puff”
- “Red Dress”
- “Oh Boy”
- “Lady’s Room”
- “Time Slip”
- “Don’t U Wait No More”
- “Day 1”
- “Cool World”
Release Date: March 17, 2016
Taking control of their Velvet era is the luscious, stripped-down second EP. The lead track, “One of These Nights,” is a ballad coupled with orchestral accompaniments that show off the warmth in their voices. Meanwhile, “Cool Hot Sweet Love” serves up the tastier side of R&B through sophisticated and sleek synths.
Ending the album with a nostalgic grandeur is “Rose Scent Breeze.” This piano ballad intensifies with the entrance of the orchestra and a guitar solo, while the girls’ own feelings grow stronger vocally.
- “One of These Nights”
- “Cool Hot Sweet Love”
- “Light Me Up”
- “First Time”
- “Rose Scent Breeze”
- De-Capo Version, “One of These Nights”
- Joe Millionaire Version, “One of These Nights”
- Piano Version, “One of These Nights”
Release Date: September 7, 2016
Mixing and matching the “Red” and “Velvet” sides of the group, this refreshingly fun third EP keeps things compelling with each song.
The title track is arguably one of Red Velvet’s best. It treads uncharted waters—and actually survives them—with its energetic synths and lively vocals.
Retro track “Lucky Girl” delivers fun vocals and blues-y doo-wops, while the acoustic, romantic “Fool” is made all the lovelier by Seulgi singing the intro and outro sequences.
- “Russian Roulette”
- “Lucky Girl”
- “Some Love”
- “Bad Dracula”
- “Sunny Afternoon”
- “My Dear”
Release Date: February 1, 2017
The girls’ fourth EP, Rookie, kicks things off with a throwback to the “Dumb Dumb” days. The title track gives fans an eccentric, pop-funk sound with hooks that pull you right in and keep you there.
Slowing things down is the chill “Little Little,” with “Happily Ever After” speeding things back up with the girls’ run-in raps—randomly yet cleverly dispersed throughout the song.
- “Little Little”
- “Happily Ever After”
- “Talk to Me”
- “Body Talk”
- “Last Love”
The Red Summer
Release Date: July 9, 2017
Ppa-ppa-ppalgan mat! Legend has it that Red Velvet invented summer, and what better way than through The Red Summer? This fruity 5th EP marks the group’s special summer releases, as led by the song of the century, “Red Flavor.”
The Red Summer perfectly captures that summer vibe. It’s fun, vibrant, and compels you to stop in your tracks and dance.
- “Red Flavor”
- “You Better Know”
- “Hear the Sea”
Perfect Velvet and The Perfect Red Velvet
Release Dates: November 17, 2017 and January 29, 2018
Coming in hot and out for blood—and… pizza?—is the aptly named Perfect Velvet, the group’s second full-length album.
This comeback is set up with the eerie and sinister sound of “Peek-a-Boo,” which mixes the “Red” and “Velvet” in just one track alone. Yeri gives a sensational rap that makes her red star shine bright.
Next is the self-assured “Look”, which borrows disco elements and combines them masterfully with R&B, bringing out the confidence in Irene and Yeri, and the supreme head tone by Wendy.
In 2018 came the repackaged version, The Perfect Red Velvet, paving the way with one of Red Velvet’s strongest comebacks ever—“Bad Boy.”
The girls reacquaint themselves with their mature and sultry side on this track. Deemed as Seulgi’s era, “Bad Boy” blesses fans with her ad-libs—and that dance move you just can’t get enough of (even if she somehow puts Joy in a suitcase).
- “Bad Boy”*
- “All Right”*
- “I Just”
- “Kingdom Come”
- “Time to Love”*
- “My Second Date”
- “Perfect 10”
- “About Love”
- “Moonlight Melody”
*on The Perfect Red Velvet
Release Date: July 4, 2018
Heralding their Japanese debut and first Japanese mini album is #Cookie Jar, led by a quirky and playful title track that resembles that of the Red Velvet fans knew through Rookie.
A refreshing new wave and disco track greets you in “Aitai-tai.” This song keeps you bouncing in your seat, especially in the interludes laced with Yeri’s voice.
The third and last original Japanese song is “Cause it’s you,” a dreamy, semi-acoustic track that takes pride in its guitars—and the glittery accompaniments sparkling throughout.
Remaining tracks for #Cookie Jar include Japanese remakes of the band’s earlier Korean singles.
- “#Cookie Jar”
- “Cause it’s you”
- “Dumb Dumb” (Japanese Version)
- “Russian Roulette” (Japanese Version)
- “Red Flavor” (Japanese Version)
Release Date: August 6, 2018
The summer queens are back with their blue lemonades in the vibrant, blue-and-yellow themed Summer Magic. Carrying the flag at the frontlines is the PAK-worthy “Power Up,” which has fans and idols everywhere dancing with their hands up and singing ba-banana and yeah yeah’s.
“With You” screams summer in every way, from the girls’ sunshine-warm vocals to the subtle reggaeton undertones. A jungle-like tone akin to “Zoo” is brought out by “Mr. E” through its mysterious percussion, lower-register vocals, and the wildlife making itself known in the background.
“Mosquito” is a pleasant surprise, due to its ability to push the girls out of their comfort zones. The fact that every member raps here adds flair to the song…but the actual best thing about it is the clever onomatopoeias resembling a real mosquito.
- “Power Up”
- “With You”
- “Mr. E”
- “Hit The Drum”
- “Blue Lemonade”
- “Bad Boy” (English Version)
Release Date: November 30, 2018
Perhaps one of the finest things about Red Velvet is how they come up with B-sides that are so good, they can easily out-sell the title track. Such a phenomenon took place with RBB, their eighth EP.
Lead track “RBB (Really Bad Boy)” evokes Halloween in every way, from its horror-themed video to angsty tones throughout the song.
Meanwhile, “Butterflies” borders on chill EDM, and once again showcases the girls’ vocal mastery. “So Good” transports fans back to the R&B unique to Red Velvet with its smooth, velvety elements that make putting this album on a loop inevitable.
- “RBB (Really Bad Boy)”
- “So Good”
- “Sassy Me”
- “RBB (Really Bad Boy)” (English Version)
Release Date: May 29, 2019
Giving fans even more J-pop excellence is Red Velvet’s second Japanese EP, Sappy.
The title track is rather eccentric—in a good way, of course—with its experimental mix of electro-pop modernity and nostalgia. A brass riff finishes things off to make this song feel like some divine fever dream.
“Sayonara” basks in the film-noir, jazz-like era with its mid-tempo groove, sexy background pianos, and honey vocals. Seulgi especially shines here, with lines belted so magnificently you’ll almost cry.
- “Swimming Pool”
- “Peek-A-Boo” (Japanese Version)
- “Rookie” (Japanese Version)
- “Power Up” (Japanese Version)
The ReVe Festival Trilogy
Released: June 19, 2019
Kicking off this legendary amusement park-themed trilogy is none other than The ReVe Festival: Day 1, which is the group’s tenth EP overall.
Jam-packed, chanty cult classic “Zimzalabim” takes pride in its bursts of sound and colour, with lyrics that make you shout out loud. Red Velvet once more incorporates reggae into the funky “Sunny Side Up,” flowing into “Milkshake” beautifully.
- “Sunny Side Up!”
- “Bing Bing”
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Despite the Christmas-y album art, The ReVe Festival: Day 2 is actually a worthy successor to both Summer Magic and Day 1.
Bright as the summer sun, “Umpah Umpah” gives fans an enchanting chorus, notable nods to earlier songs in the maknae line rap, and a captivating bridge and high note by Park Sooyoung.
Upbeat track “Carpool” feels similar yet still stands out, thanks to raps and choruses admixed with Yeri’s fun ad-libs. “Love is The Way” gives fans retro Red Velvet once again, with its doo-wop style that shows off their vocals—especially towards the end, when each member takes turns singing.
Delivering a beautiful ending is “Eyes Locked, Hands Locked.” This sweet R&B track brings a whole new meaning to falling in love, and fills your heart with the warmth Red Velvet evokes so naturally.
- “Umpah Umpah”
- “Love is The Way”
- “Ladies Night”
- “Eyes Locked, Hands Locked”
The ReVe Festival: Finale
Release Date: December 23, 2019
Come one, come all! The ReVe Festival Trilogy wraps up with Finale. Take note—this compilation might just be the best album yet.
Finale combines all the tracks from its predecessors and adds four new magnificent songs, including the modern classic “Psycho.” It brings out superb ad-libs, a dark concept, and glitter tears to give a whole new definition to K-Pop. Years may pass, but this track is guaranteed to get revisited again and again.
Trap-slash-synthpop track “In & Out” then guides fans down from the “Psycho” high with its simple yet enticing groove—as well as Joy’s killer lines.
Ending the album is the surprise special track “La Rouge,” which is every bit as red and sexy as it sounds. A heavy reliance on early 20th-century jazz makes the vocals ooze confidence—kind of like a predator out for its prey. It’s the perfect conclusion to the trilogy, hypnotizing the listener with every word.
- “In & Out”
- “Remember Forever”
- “Eyes Locked, Hands Locked”
- “Ladies Night”
- “Love is The Way”
- “Umpah Umpah”
- “Bing Bing”
- “Sunny Side Up!”
- “La Rouge” (Special Track)