When an album is titled The ReVe Festival: Day 1, it means that there has to be an album for Day 2 or more, and fans weren’t wrong. I wasn’t sure of what to expect for The ReVe Festival: Day 2 album, but once I heard the teaser for the title track Umpah Umpah, I was looking forward to the MV.
The MV was released on August 19th, and on that day I was wide awake at 1 A.M. Rather than going to sleep early for work, I decided that I might as well watch the countdown or live preview of Umpah Umpah with fans on YouTube. Unlike Zimzalabim, I was hooked on the first listen. Umpah Umpah‘s catchy beat and happy-go-lucky vibe gives me serious nostalgia of the 90’s. There is something about the sound (something unforgettable) that reminds me of childhood days of watching cartoons/anime and playing video games or even being in a classroom with cut-out shapes of the sun, moon, stars, lightning and clouds, or for those who were in Australia… 90’s Play School, The Wiggles, and maybe a little bit of Round the Twist (I shouldn’t be giving any ideas away or S.M. Entertainment might make a concept out of this for their next Red Velvet Halloween song =P)? One of the background sounds in the chorus is similar to something I’ve heard before too, but I can’t exactly pinpoint where. Maybe an old-school video game like Mario Kart 64?
To be honest, when I first heard the line, “Umpah Umpah”, it did sound like Oompa Loompa from Willy Wonka the Chocolate Factory movie / Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book. One of my favourite movies/books with Pure Imagination still giving me goosebumps. According to @5REDVELVET:
‘Umpah umpah’ is a word used in Korea when they first learn swimming and try to hold their breath underwater. They practice regular breathing by saying ‘um’ as they inhale and ‘pah’ as they exhale. The lyrics have a swimming theme and they’re helping the person breathe.
Love how the lyrics and the choreography all make sense after reading what the word “umpah umpah” means. Since there are a couple of K-Pop songs with titles that are a play on words, I feel that the title of this song has double meaning. It also sounds like oom-pah or umpapa, the “rhythmical sound of a deep brass instrument in a band.” The MV itself is colourful and has a story, and the girls look gorgeous, as always! Beautiful Irene, Joy, Seulgi, Wendy and Yeri. S.M. Entertainment artists’ visuals and grooming are no joke.
Umpah Umpah is the perfect K-Pop summer song and I wish it was released before I left for South Korea so that I could have heard this song instead of Zimzalabim being played at the stores there. In the MV, one can also see that at the start, Red Velvet are leaving a big city to a quiet retreat, or a holiday destination, only to be met with a day full of rain. This portrays my trip very well when my group and I left from a big city such as Seoul to the beautiful Jeju Island. Our last day at Jeju was spent on Udo Island and it rained, but we were lucky enough to see what we wanted to see just before Typhoon Davis hit the island. After Jeju Island, we traveled to Busan. On one of our days in Busan, we couldn’t do much because the typhoon had made its way there. The rain fell hard and it was as if someone had turned the shower on full. Not wanting to waste the day in our AirBnB, we decided to head out and embrace the rain. After all, we paid for the trip and wanted to make the most of it. However, we didn’t stay out for too long as we got drenched even while carrying our umbrellas. The typhoon made us change our plans for the day, so I felt that I couldn’t see everything that I wanted to see in Busan, but guess that means another trip, IA.
Knowing that we would be traveling during the rainy season, my friends and I were checking the weather app. every single day and were happy to see when the forecast displayed sunshine and then sad to see if it was rain. We were lucky that, for most of our trip in Seoul, we didn’t encounter any rain. It was only when we had to leave, did we witness the true nature of summer in South Korea. The last week, in general, was filled with constant sweat from the humidity and rain that caused our hair to look like a mess.
Despite Umpah Umpah being a catchy song, in my opinion, none of the b-side tracks for The ReVe Festival: Day 2 album were catchy like ones in The Reve Festival: Day 1 album, and I feel that the b-side tracks in the Day 1 album fit the festival theme more. However, the title track for the Day 2 album is much better than Zimzalabim! My group of friends, who watched Red Velvet‘s Zimzalabim stage performances on TV while we were getting ready in the mornings on our trip, all shared the same opinion that it wasn’t as good as Red Velvet‘s previous songs. They also felt that the stage outfits could have been better. This is the opinion of both guys and girls. I didn’t mind the outfits as much as they seemed to fit the experimental take on the song.
Designer Paris Starn‘s outfits copied for Red Velvet‘s Umpah Umpah promotions
Now, speaking of outfits, S.M. Entertainment was recently accused of plagiarising a fashion designer’s ideas for the Umpah Umpah MV. I’m not even surprised. =P The funny thing is that the company does it very subtly and will target the people that not many people know about on social media so that they can easily get away with it. S.M. Entertainment, however, should be careful, because if they target someone with connections, that person can easily pull the cards on them. The company can only get away with it for so long before their image is at stake.
I understand the designer’s disappointment… what could have been an amazing collaboration fell through. It’s not that hard to give somebody credit. A simple, “Hey! We’re inspired by your idea and we would love to collab. with you!” can go a long way. This is what the young generation on social media are doing. This is what innovative companies are doing with influencers and any person that could potentially help in marketing them, including customers. For an entertainment company that seems to be the best at marketing among the Big 3 in South Korea, I feel that when it comes to the ethical side of things, they have quite a long way to go. The things that they engage in, it’s like your boss getting credit for your ideas or a co-worker stealing them and getting all the recognition for it, and any person working in the corporate world will know that it is never a good feeling. Also, imagine working hard, putting in the time and effort trying to make ends meet, only to see someone else profit off of your ideas, especially a company that is already big and has money multiplying.
Having said that, it looks like the Red Velvet are still following their colour concept, which is each member portraying the colour that they have been assigned. This portrayal is done through either their outfits, accessories, or even nail polish. For example, Irene‘s colour is pink, Joy‘s is green, Seulgi‘s is yellow, Wendy‘s is blue and Yeri‘s is purple. In the Umpah Umpah MV, it is seen in the copied outfits that each member is wearing. This colour concept is what I call the Care Bears concept, as it was in my dream related to K-Pop long before S.M. Entertainment implemented it. I would have actually taken the concept a lot further or done more with it, such as having an image, or even having an MV for each symbol that a Care Bear represents. For example, Umpah Umpah looks like it could relate to Grumpy Bear‘s cloud and rain symbol and Ice Cream Cake could relate to Birthday Bear‘s cupcake and candle symbol. Regardless, I do have my suspicions about the colour concept for Red Velvet and NCT‘s Dream Within a Dream poem recitation, but let’s just say that one of the reasons I made my blog private a few years back was so that the company would stop lurking around, potentially trying to take ideas from fans to market their artists without any due credit.
As for ideas, I did want to share one here. How awesome would it be if a dance group in Sydney did a dance cover of Umpah Umpah at Bondi Beach on a bright sunny day while the Festival of the Winds, which is happening next weekend, is taking place? This is what the Festival of the Winds looks like. If anyone does decide to do this, please thank me and give me credit… =P
Going back to song titles being a play on words, I already have an idea for a song title, and it’s called, “Halla Halla Bong Bong”. xD It is dedicated to the Jeju orange/citrus fruit called Hallabong, a flavour that I fell in love with on my trip. The fruit is actually named after Mt. Hallasan in Jeju Island. If I were to think of the MV for “Halla Halla Bong Bong”, it would be shot on Jeju Island. Halla Halla also sounds like “holla,” which is short for “holler,” meaning, “a loud shout or cry,” while “bong” means, “a musical noise made especially by a large clock.” Then there is also the name “Hala”, which means, “the aura of light around the moon.” The colour scheme for the MV can be orange as Red Velvet doesn’t have a member that represents the colour orange.
Now, if any entertainment takes this idea, especially S.M. Entertainment, I-WILL-DESTROY-YOU, or better, hire me and give me the money that I deserve for such ideas! =P Friends, please remember what I just said here so there is proof that I came up with this “Halla Halla Bong Bong” idea first! Thank you! =P On a more serious note, when I visit a place, I have to try what the local food and cuisine is like, and Jeju is widely known for hallabong, so I ended up having hallabong juice, which was incredibly refreshing for the summer heat! I even brought some hallabong dark chocolates to Sydney, and my parents and colleagues tried them and said that they were really good! I should have brought more.
Also, there has been a post that I’ve been working on and off on for a few months, and I was planning to post it this weekend, with the aim being yesterday since it was a cloudy and rainy day and I wasn’t going anywhere, but then the “news” came out and I’m thinking that the post is no longer going to be relevant anymore. I’m having second thoughts about it. It would have been nice to share my views… Hmm. I’m sorry lchan! If I post it, it will be just for you! I don’t want to ruin this post with the “news” because Red Velvet don’t deserve it, but if I hold off then it will take me ages to say it.
Read the rest of this entry