If anyone’s looking for a peppy but not cloying summer jam, look no farther than “Red Flavor.” It’s not a track that expands Red Velvet’s sound or pushes any boundaries, but it’s not trying to. It’s goal in life is to be a fun track to blast as you drive with your windows down or hang with friends, and it succeeds.

“Red Flavor” is, to put it mildly, an earworm of unholy proportions. Built on a foundation of relentless drums with interjections of brass throughout the verses, it’s a track whose energy is right on the line between “high” and “manic.” The latter is staved off through the slower, more melodic pre-chorus and bridge, allowing the audience to catch our breath in time for the chorus to hit.

And make no mistake, that chorus is what gives “Red Flavor” its, well, flavor. It’s extremely love it or hate it. And has the potential to get very old, very quickly. The looped male vocalizations are extremely obnoxious, Red Velvet’s vocals are all chanting and little singing, and the drums are upgraded to full bore thudding. Yet, when balanced against the brass interjections of the first half, the brass and synth slide in the second, and the energy of a cheerleading team on crystal meth, it somehow becomes so annoying that it stops being annoying and starts being fun. Plus, the “ca-candy shop” line quickly wedges its way into the deepest part of the subconscious.

Lyrically, “Red Flavor” treads a fine line between innocent and innuendo. Ostensibly, the “red flavor” in question is the unnamable, undefinable taste of summer. On the other hand, they’re a group called Red Velvet singing about “red flavor”; the cunnlingual implications are not hard to see. Still, it stays just this side of dirty, with only Irene’s truly raising eyebrows as she sings about giving her eye candy her home-brewed red cocktail. It’s innocent enough to play in front of small children, but adults will have fun raising a few eyebrows.

The MV is  rather tame, by Red Velvet’s standard. Sure, it’s got some weird elements — it opens with them interviewing giant fruit — but compared to the MVs for “Rookie” and “Dumb Dumb”, “Red Flavor” is pretty normal. In this case, though, normal works. “Red Flavor” is a summer jam, and it has the MV of one.

There’s group dancing in various locations, a house party, introspective interviews with fruits as a metaphor for exploring one’s own nature; all in all a light MV that’s accessible to all and goes down easily. Special attention should be given to the graphics of the group shots. While nothing ground-breaking, they do give the MV a rather old-school vibe that picks up on the timelessness of “Red Flavor.”

“Red Flavor” is a rather excellent song. Lightweight and peppy, it’s tailor-made for the season and is executed with aplomb. Sure, it’s not high art, but in summer, I don’t want art. I want catchy pop songs that make me smile, and Red Velvet has delivered a winner.

(Images via SM Entertainment, YouTube)