[Mini-Album] Rainbow – PRISM

PRISM is Rainbow’s fourth mini-album and the group’s last release. Whoo was used as the promotional track.

Released: February 15, 2016
1. Saying I Miss You (보고 싶다는 그 말도)
2. Whoo [MV]
3. Black & White
4. Click!
5. Eye Contact
6. Whoo (Inst.)

I think the oddest choice with this mini-album is that it opens with Saying I Miss You, a piano ballad. At first, I was a bit worried because Rainbow’s past ballads haven’t been that interesting. However, this one is surprisingly pretty good and the girls sound great. They almost sound unrecognizable as they come off far more mature. The song is pretty standard with its standout piano, gentle guitar and touches of percussion. The thing that really brings the song up is that the melody is nice and memorable. It’s a bit standard, but good.

Whoo brings some life into things with its pop/rock sound. It’s probably most reminiscent of the energy that their single, A, brought, although the synthesizers are replaced with heavy percussion and guitar riffs. It’s insanely catchy. The chorus is the highlight of the song with its melodic hooks. That and the breakdown, where the repetitive title hook comes in handy. It’s great.

While Whoo was a great promotional track, Black & White swoops and in and takes the crown as the strongest song on the album and one of Rainbow’s strongest tracks in general. A much more serious twist that seems to combine the 80’s synths with the rock elements of the last song, Black & White is an explosion of energy. The verses do a great job of building up the energy, which is let loose in the chorus. That array of synths combined with the background vocals really give the song some energy. It’s an exhilarating song!

Click! is a great surprise with its much more 70’s retro sound. I really love how this song just screams of something from that era with its groovier sound with its wicked bass line and splashes of brass. I think the funnest part is that the song has these really odd vocal parts and sounds added in that really give it a weird, but cool edge. This is all tied with an infectious melody. This seriously could have been a promotional song.

Ending the mini with the shortest song, Eye Contact is a sultry pop song with a nice eeriness to it that is reminiscent of 90s R&B. While it isn’t the most exciting song on the album, especially compared to the last three songs, it does help bring some variety. It’s not particularly catchy, but it does get back. I quite like the music with its recognizable beat and the melody just seems to glide right over everything. It’s quite smooth and cool. Not bad.

Overall: I knew Rainbow delivers from time to time and their last mini was great. This is just as good as that one. The mini is filled with five high quality tunes and while three of them are definitely higher, everything seems well-produced and brings variety to the table. Some of Rainbow’s strongest songs are on here and it’s a great release to depart with.


[Mini-Album] Rainbow – INNOCENT

INNOCENT is the third mini-album released by girl group Rainbow. Black Swan was used as the promotional track.

Released: February 23, 2015
1. Bad Boys Cry (나쁜 남자가 운다)
2. Black Swan [MV]
3. Mr. Lee
5. Privacy
6. A Little Bit More (조금 더)

The mini opens with Bad Boys Cry, which is something I did not expect from Rainbow. It’s a ballad, but here we are given a soulful R&B tune. I love the beat and the piano in the song is fantastic. The transition from the calmer verses to the more explosive choruses is also nicely done and helps to elevate the song. The girl’s sound great as well. I just wish the music in the chorus was a little cleaner sounding.

Black Swan was the promotional song and the reception wasn’t as great as their other songs. I don’t quite understand why as this is a fantastic tune. I love the darker tones it has and the synths are absolutely intoxicating, especially the underlying one in the chorus. And that beat is just pulsating. I do like how the choruses are significantly longer than the verses. It feels like there isn’t much of a break. The melody is insanely catchy. It’s a bit drawn out, but there are some really strong hooks.

Mr. Lee is a bit calmer, but it still has a great beat and a nice 80’s quality about it. I do find the transition from the verses into the chorus a bit difficult to distinguish, but it keeps the same rhythm throughout the song, which is nice. The vocals are definitely airier and the girls do sound great in this style. Another stellar tune.

At first, I was a bit unsure of PIERROT. It is probably the most lighthearted song at this point with its high-pitched synths and vocals. The verses are a bit odd with the mix of singing and rapping and do an strange transition into the calmer pre-chorus. However, the transition into the chorus is both jarring and cleverly done. The chorus is quite short, but it does its job effectively. Excellent.

Privacy has a really cool funky bass line. It definitely gives the song a bit of a funk feel. I really love the 80’s sound of this song though. From the airy vocals to the funky synths and guitar, everything is just executed so nicely. I do feel the chorus would benefit more if the voices were fuller, but it’s still a solid tune.

A Little Bit More brings us to the slowest song on the album. It’s a sensual pop/R&B ballad and I love it. The verses are a bit dull, but the opening hook of the chorus is really intoxicating. The vocals are also really well done and the girls continue that airy singing that is present in many of the other songs. However, Hyunyoung’s ending belts really bring the song up.

Overall: Wow! Wow! This is definitely Rainbow’s strongest release yet. Every song is of such high quality and pretty sure most of them could be solid promotional songs. I really like how there is a cohesive sound to the album as the songs are generally darker compared to their last releases.


[Mini-Album] Rainbow BLAXX – RB BLAXX

Rainbow BLAXX is the second subunit from girl group, Rainbow. This one featured members Jaekyung, Woori, Hyunyoung and Seungah and was meant to be a “sexier” subunit. RB BLAXX was the subunit’s first mini-album and their only release.

Released: January 20, 2014
1. Cha Cha [MV]
2. Last Word (한마디)
3. Silhouette
4. Cha Cha (Instrumental)

While the unit definitely screams sexy, the song Cha Cha really isn’t. Instead, it is just a funky pop tune with some really intriguing elements to it. I really like that it has a slight ska sound to it due to its sliding brass instruments. This tied in with the smooth delivery of the melody really works well with the song. The transition between the verse and chorus isn’t as noticeable as I expected, but it’s an interesting twist. I do think that the chorus could be a bit stronger, but it is a fun song overall.

Last Word is a nice midtempo R&B-pop ballad. I was really impressed with this one as it helps showcase the voices of the members. The music is actually quite good too and I like the little twang the song has. Might only gripe is that the chorus has this really weird sound in the background that just doesn’t fit. Also, the transition into the rap is a little odd, but it does do well smoothing that out. Decent tune.

At first, Silhouette sounds like it will be a gentle ballad, but it transitions into a midtempo pop tune with its soaring synths and R&B beat. I think the song is good, but I’m not a fan of the melody. The verses are really unpredictable, but the girls don’t sound that great hitting the notes in falsetto. The chorus melody is also a bit lackluster. It’s not bad, but the weaker song.

Overall: This was a decent mini-album. All three tracks offered something different, so it gave a little bit of variety. I wish the group did play up their sound a bit more though so it matched their image. The B-sides on the mini were something that could be heard from Rainbow, so I wish they did something a little more heavy with R&B or dance-pop instead of keeping it so safe.


[Digital Single] Rainbow Pixie – Hoi Hoi

Hoi Hoi is the debut digital single released by Rainbow’s subunit, Rainbow Pixie. It was their only release.

Released: January 12, 2012
1. Hoi Hoi (호이 호이) [MV]
2. Hoi Hoi (Instrumental)

While the image of Rainbow Pixie is quite cute, Hoi Hoi is pretty straightforward dance-pop. I like that it has a bit of a retro sound to it with its disco influence to it. With that said, the song is just quite weak overall. While the three are the strongest vocalists in the group, the song doesn’t really show that off. The song’s catchiness is largely reliant on the repetition of the title, but its done in a way that doesn’t provide much replay value. The verses are actually the best parts of the song because the chorus just sounds a bit lazy.

Overall: Probably one of Rainbow’s weakest releases. While the music is decent and provides some retro influence, the vocal arrangement leaves me wanting more. The girls are also quite strong vocally, so something that showed that off would have been better.


[Album] Rainbow – Rainbow Syndrome Part 2

Rainbow Syndrome Part 2 is the second part of Rainbow’s first album. Sunshine was used as the promoted track.

Released: June 4, 2013
1. Kiss me
2. Sunshine [MV]
3. Don’t Touch
4. Let’s Dance
5. I’ll Wait for You (기다릴게)
6. Eenie Meenie Minie Moe
7. Chewing Time

The album opens with Kiss me, a funky pop tune with some rock elements to it. I don’t quite understand the addition of the numerous English phrases in the verses and this part of the song isn’t particularly great. The chorus has some more energy to it, but the melody is a little odd and doesn’t really flow that well. It just sounds like a bundle of different hooks put together. I think there are some fun parts of the song and the song has a lot of interesting sounds. I just wish it was a little cleaner in delivery.

Sunshine is a nice transition as this one is a bit more straightforward pop, but with a touch of bubblegum. It’s a cute song and a pretty upbeat and spirited listen. I love the use of synths to mimic a strings-like sound. It helps give the song some edge, but helps blend well with the more programmed sound of the music. The melody is a lot fun and the chorus is especially charming. I think the delivery is much more well-done here and the chorus meets its goal without having to mess around with too many hooks. I do find the first part of the chorus more interesting though as the second half is quite repetitive. The girls sound great anyways and its just an overall fun tune.

My favourite on the (whole) album and one of my top three Rainbow songs, Don’t Touch, is a beast. I can see why it wasn’t chosen as the title track, but I love the somewhat J-Pop touch of it. It has some funk and disco elements in the music and it works so well with the more pop melody. The verses are fun, but the chorus is where the fun is. The chorus is quite short, but it does its job. The melody is executed in a rather clear manner and it is effective where it blends well with the array of synths and touches of rap. It’s great.

Let’s Dance is probably Rainbow’s first attack on straightforward dance music since I Believe from their debut mini. It’s a change from this album and not exactly what I was expecting. I don’t think this one is as strong as the I wish the melody blended better with the music. The verses are great and do a good job of building up to what should be an explosive chorus. However, the choruses seem a bit of a letdown since the more pop melody doesn’t exactly work well with the heavy dance beats. The music is really good, but I wish the melody was stronger.

I’ll Wait for You has some dance elements to it, but it is definitely strongly pop-driven. It’s a nice return and a decent song in general. I like the bouncy beat and the many synths that come into play throughout the song. My favourite part is when the chorus opens up because it really comes with some power. Hyunyoung does a good job with the vocals here, although she does sound a bit screechy at times. The song is a lot fun. I don’t think it’s A-side material, but its a good album track.

EENIE MEENIE MINIE MOE brings us back to a more straightforward pop sound. I like the verses because they are quite bare and don’t feature a lot of instruments, mostly just a beat. It’s a nice contrast to the fuller chorus. With that said, I don’t think this song is particularly great. The melody isn’t bad, but it isn’t something that would get stuck in my head easily. It’s decent, but one of the weaker songs.

Luckily, Chewing Time is fantastic. Definitely one of the strongest songs on the album, this one has so much attitude to it and it is a nice change. I love the funky electric guitar mixed with the touches of brass throughout the song. While the title is a little odd, it actually works really well during the chorus opening and it helps create a strong impression. Lots of fun and one of the group’s strongest.

Overall: I would definitely consider the second half of the group’s first album as the stronger of the two. All of the songs are upbeat and just a lot of fun. While some aren’t particularly strong, there is a good array of dance / pop songs that keeps everyone happy and there are certainly some fantastic songs on here.


[Album] Rainbow – Rainbow Syndrome Part 1

Rainbow Syndrome was Rainbow’s first album. It was actually split into two parts that were released three months apart. The first part featured Tell me Tell me as the promoted track.

Released: February 13, 2013
1. Golden Touch
2. Close Your Eyes (두 눈을 감고)
3. Tell me Tell me [MV]
4. Cosmic Girl
5. A Story You Never Knew But I Know (나만 아는 너는 절대 모를 이야기)
6. In Love

The album opens with Golden Touch, a rather funky tune that has some 70’s qualities to it. While the song is largely made of synths, I really enjoy how some of them are used to mimic other instruments like brass. While the song as a whole is fun, I do find the vocal arrangement to sound like it lags behind the actually music. I don’t think it totally fits together despite both being quite good. It’s a good opener though since it does have a lot of energy.

I do find the transition Close Your Eyes a little odd though since we slow things down with a midtempo pop ballad. I do enjoy the piano lines throughout the song and it helps add life to the rather generic musical arrangement. It’s a pretty positive sounding song and the vocal arrangement is charming, but the whole thing gets a bit boring after a while. There are a few surprising bits, but it’s been done better before.

Tell me Tell me was used as the promotional track and it is easy to see why. While the song itself is a departure from Rainbow’s previous title tracks, Tell me Tell me is a solid song. It’s on the cuter side, but it isn’t totally pushed to that end. I really love the synths used in the song though as they do mimic strings and it sounds great with the rather sporadic beat. The best part of the song is definitely the chorus opening as the hook is excellent and very catchy. The girls also sound great here, although it definitely sounds dominated by Hyunyoung.

Cosmic Girl changes things with an uptempo disco tune. I think it is a nice change to be heard on the album and it’s one of the stronger songs. It fits the girls a little better as it has a more mature sound to it. I really like how they did the musical arrangement in this song as the high-pitched synths mixed with the brass sounding synths help give the song a fun twist and keep it the song contemporary. It’s a well-done track.

A Story You Never Knew But I Know is a little less dance and a little more pop. It has an explosive array of synths during the chorus and features a pretty uplifting sounding vocal arrangement. The odd thing with this song is I actually find the verses better than the chorus. They are more interesting as the melody isn’t as predictable during those parts. When the chorus hits, everything becomes rather generic. I’m a fan of generic, but this song is definitely a filler and ends up forgettable in the long run. The girls sound good though.

In Love is a step up compared to the last song despite the continuation of the happy-go-lucky pop sound. I do like the musical arrangement more just because of the few instances that we can hear the funk influence in the guitar riffs. Besides that though, the song is unfortunately rather forgettable as well. The melody is better and more catchy, but i found the production to be a little odd as the verses sound so clear but the choruses are so quiet and they end up a little flat in delivery.

Overall: I really love Rainbow, but this is one of their weaker releases. There are a few good tunes, a few mediocre and a few that ended up a little flat. I was really looking forward to reviewing this, but it did come out a little disappointing considering the promotional track was so good. Cosmic girl was definitely a nice gem to find though.


[Repackaged] Rainbow – So Girl (Repackage)

So Girl (Repackage)  is the repackaged edition of the second mini-album released by Rainbow. Sweet Dream was used as the promotional track.

Released: November 8, 2010
1. Sweet Dream [MV]
2. Kiss (Acoustic Ver.)
3. To Me [MV]
4. To Me (Club Ver.)
5. Sweet Dream (Instrumental)

Sweet Dream pretty much continues the same sound that To Me had going for it with the piano line and dance beats, which is pretty nice to see the continuation. The difference is that the chorus is less focused on repetition and the overall song has a darker tone to it. There are parts of it that actually make it stronger than To Me, but the main problem I find is the chorus as the girls sing in unison it sounds more like a choir so it seems too muffled. Vocally, it’s a nicely done track and most of the members shine. It is a little disheartening to know that Yoonhye and Noeul are put into the backburner like they were in the previous promotional song.

Up next is Kiss (Acoustic Ver.) which had the original featured on their debut mini-album. They say acoustic version, but the general song sounds very similar to the original except that it’s toned a bit. With that said, I think this arrangement helps not only showcase the girls’ vocals better but it also helps the melody stand out more.

To Me (Club Ver.) is an interesting touch to the original. The only major difference the original and this one has is the massive 2 minute intro at the beginning which includes heavy beats with parts of the chorus as well as a toned down middle 8, which was a great touch. It’s nice, but it could’ve been better. Some of the beats at the beginning are annoying but it would’ve been nice to see the actually song parts being changed up with a different beat or something since it was kept pretty much intact. It’s over 6 minutes long so I think I’ll just stick to the original.

Overall: So Girl (Repackaged) was interesting to say the least. I was disappointed that only one new song was included, but the new versions were a nice touch and despite not bringing that much difference to the originals, they still had their own charms.

B+ (new songs)