K-Pop Pick Of The Day: Zimzalabim

Track: Zimzalabim | Artist: Red Velvet | Album: The ReVe Festival
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Red Velvet, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite artists of all time, just released their newest title track, Zimzalabim. And it’s... hmm.


Part of the reason why I’m so struggling to encapsulate my feelings for Zimzalabim is, I think, because the song is quite literally all over the place. It kind of reminds me of Girls’ Generation’s I Got A Boy in that respect (a song that ended up growing on me).

The transition from the post-chorus instrumental break to the bridge and back (at 2:15) is especially sharp-edged, and not in a totally positive way. It’s almost like the arrangement just gave up on being cohesive for a brief few seconds. The chorus, in general, lacks some range; heck, Zimzalabim makes Rookie sound like Bohemian Rhapsody.

I do like the progression we see in the chorus; the final repeat of it is a few steps higher than the rest, to segue out of Wendy’s high notes in the bridge section immediately preceding it. The reoccurring snare drums in the background give the whole track a triumphant and somewhat frenetic tone. My favorite part, though, has to be the nearly imperceptible three-note piano phrase heard during the intro at 0:10, and then once more at 0:14 a few notes down, even fainter this time (to the point of barely existing). Those three notes promise so much about Zimzalabim: slightly Burtonesque, a little playful, somewhat moody. Too bad the rest of the song isn’t quite as nuanced.

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Shabaab Kamal

This has nothing to do with the song itself, but damn, if this ain’t the most imperialist shit ever

one “oriental” culture using an artifact from a depiction of another “oriental” culture (the song is referencing “sim sim salabim,” which is how Jonny Quest’s best friend from India used to cast SPELLS)

(not saying Red Velvet is imperialist; the song is an imperialist artifact unto itself because it shows how much of an ouroborus history can be)