Did you know that back in 2017, netizens created a petition to the Blue House (the home of South Korea’s president) asking them to force Red Velvet to delay their comeback? But why? According to the petition, it was all down to the upcoming CSAT.
The College Scholastic Ability Test (known as the CSAT or suneung in Korean) is widely known to be one of the most difficult high school exams around. Similar to the United States’ SATs, the test quizzes students on mathematics, English, national history, subordinate subjects (such as social studies or sciences), additional foreign languages, and Korean.
In 2017, almost 600,000 teens across South Korea registered to take the CSAT. Typically, the Korea Institute of Curriculum and Evaluation holds the exam on the third Thursday of November every year. In 2017, that meant the CSAT should’ve been held on November 16.
However, that same month, South Korea was unfortunately struck by its strongest earthquake in modern history. The Pohang earthquake measured 5.4 in magnitude, striking on November 15—one day before the proposed CSAT date. In order to give students time to calm down and find new test sites in cities that faced damage, the exam was postponed until November 23.
But there was just one problem: Red Velvet was set to release a new song on November 17, and Red Velvet songs are known to be very addictive. In South Korea, the most addictive songs released in the lead-up to exam season make it on to a very exclusive list: the list of “SAT banned songs”. Students tell teachers they must not listen to these songs while studying, lest they get them stuck in their heads.
Students across the country were likely looking forward to listening to Red Velvet’s latest hit the day after their exam. However, the CSAT’s postponement meant they’d be listening to the song while studying—which meant they’d be distracted. So, netizens took drastic action by appealing to the government to postpone the comeback to November 24.
Understandably, the petition didn’t make it to the top of the president’s list of priorities, and Red Velvet’s comeback went ahead as planned. The addictive song in question? None other than “Peek-a-Boo”, one of Red Velvet’s most popular songs in South Korea and internationally.
The song racked up so many listeners, it joined Melon‘s hall of fame that year, so it seems test-takers just couldn’t resist temptation.
It can’t have been easy for students to focus on test questions with “peek-a-peek-a-boo” playing on repeat in their minds. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t the first time Red Velvet’s songs made it onto the list of prohibited tracks. “Dumb Dumb” became an SAT-banned song in 2015.
Later, in 2019, “Zimzalabim” joined the list too.