RAINBOW - “A”
Is it bad that a group’s second ever single is considered to be when they peaked? Well, a lot of people consider that this song is the group’s best.
Rainbow is with DSP, the same label/group as Kara. When they first came out, they said that they were sexier than Kara (which I actually agree with), but they were quite confident considering their first single was this atrocious mess. ♫ I WANNA GOSSHIP GIRL ♫…ugh.
About half a year later, they came back with a digital single, and it was much better received. It did well enough to merit a debut in Japan — #3 debut there — and honestly, it’s sooooooooooooo…sassy. There’s a cheeky sexiness visible here that’s not in K-pop much. Generally, it’s either virginal innocence (HI A-PINK) or tacky sexuality (HI STELLAR). I think Lee Hyori’s “U-Go-Girl” was a prime example of this: it’s ridiculous and campy but still fun and sexy without violating Korean standards (let’s exclude the French maid performance).
Anyway, the song is fabulous. It has colour! It has ponytails flipped every which way! It has nonsensical English! And it has ABS! The only issue I have is with makeup — the girls are actually much prettier than this video indicates. The makeup makes them all look a little drag (or even perhaps a LOT). If you take a look at them now (say, in the Rainbow Blaxx performances) you’ll see that they’re beautiful.
So yeah. This is when I really started to like Rainbow. They followed it up with a solid song (“Mach”) and I was really excited for future singles.
But then they came back with J-poppy singles that were, to be honest, mediocre (“Come to Me” / “Sweet Dream”) then took a long break until they came out with cutesy singles!!!!!! THIS DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. NO K-POP GROUP GOES FROM SEXY TO CUTESY AND REMAINS SUCCESSFUL. Generally, the trajectory is innocent to sexy (girl -> woman), as evidenced by S.E.S., Fin.K.L, Baby V.O.X (although they went back and forth), Girls’ Generation, Girls’ Day…. If you go the other way, you usually aren’t successful (After School, Secret, Rainbow). So Rainbow took a longer break and hasn’t come back since.
This is why I was excited for Rainbow Blaxx. It was a return to the sexy concept. The issue I had with that, though, was the fact that DSP marketed the sex appeal too strongly. ”CHA CHA” IS A GOOD K-POP SONG ON ITS OWN MERITS. There was absolutely no need for DSP to hype up the 19+ (R-rated in Korean) stuff for the teasers and for the MV. The song, even with its modified choreography, was terrific. I don’t know why they stopped promoting after three weeks, but I’m very disappointed.
I really hope Rainbow can come back strong, especially since Kara seems dead in the water now.
♫ A A A A ♫