If you don't appreciate Red Velvet, you hate fun. It may be an asinine way to begin a musical dialogue, but in this case? It's just true. Drop whatever you're doing, skip work, crash your car, find the nearest pool, and kick back. You needn't worry if it happens to be, say, a complete stranger's yard in which said pool is located. Once the infectious grooves of Red Summer reach their tired ears, they're sure leap out of their window bearing gifts of sangria and incense to join you.

Red Velvet have enjoyed success from essentially their first moment, but adoration hasn't come as easily. Sharing a home at S.M. Entertainment with the ever underrated and underutilized f(x), Velvet were under fire nearly immediately from embittered fans of the senior group, who saw the new idols as simply a cuter, more easily marketable, version of their edgier, artsier seniors. It didn't help that Velvet received an official fan club from S.M. (a near must for the big groups in Korea) almost instantaneously, while f(x), a group at least 5 years their senior, had yet to even receive real discussion of one from their patrons.

Naturally, through sheer force of will and pure affability, Red Velvet conquered regardless, gradually converting naysayers as well. If you're unfamiliar with them up until now, none of this matters: prepare yourself for distilled musical sunshine. If you're one of those hol’ outs (this writer was): accept the conversion.

Even in an industry which adores its quickie, razor focused, brief releases year in and year out, Red Summer is a particularly concise offering. It clocks in at under twenty minutes, and there isn't a wasted second. It's tailor made to throw on repeat for summer outings, whether you're hitting the beach, pretending you're social indoors, or breaking and entering into a neighbor's pool.

Opener ‘Red Flavor’ boasts the kind of effortless pop glide that many pop artist's desperately fail to capture in the quest for a lead single, it's clap-along groove dashing ever-forward without a moment to breathe. Next up, ‘You Better Know’ slows things down only to build to anthemic chorus, while ‘Zoo’ pulls out all the stops (seriously, there are jungle animal sounds, they mimic Tarzan's battle cry...and it works) to present one of the summer's most gleeful and audacious pop moments thus far.

’Mojito’ (worth noting: the Korean title reads closer to 'Summer Light', certainly preferable) keeps up the energetic vibe, and things only slow down in time for closing, as ‘Hear the Sea’ allows the listener to drift off with its string-boasting, lazy vibe, perhaps falling asleep by the shore. When you take your listener to such a high, all in 18 minutes, you know you need to leave them somewhere soft to land.

With the older groups steadily gathering for their curtain calls, and the newest hopefuls all entangled in a nerve wracking battle to prove who's next, when every single matters perhaps a little too much, K-pop hasn't sounded this good ol' fun this year so far. We sincerely hope you're scaling the fence to the neighbor's pool, now just go ahead: press play.