Mar 7, 2015

Rainbow's "Innocent" Hits All The Right Spots


It's clear that Rainbow needed a revival of some sorts, having spend years desperately trying to get their name out there without much success. It's always frustrating being a Rainbow fan simply because of how their 6-year old career has turned out, and never feeling like the girls get the promotion they need and deserve. While "Rainbow Syndrome" mostly wasn't really my kind of music, their titles in the past have been flawless and with this darker, maturer comeback I was intrigued to find out what gems were hidden on "Innocent".

Rainbow - InnocentThe very first song on Rainbow's third mini-album is "Bad Man Crying", and it's one of my personal favorites. The tempo is quite slow but not too drowsy, and the power of the drum beats is a beautiful complement to the sensual finger-snapping and piano-lines. The approach is simplistic as the song mainly focuses on the vocals, which explains the minimal instrumental. In many songs the singing tends to get buried under heavily layered electronica sounds, but not this one. In fact, the vocals are what makes it so great. I also find myself enthralled by the by beautiful melody, especially in the chorus when it truly blossoms.

"Black Swan" is the following song, and also the album's leading single. The musical pattern here is quite similar to the previously mentioned, such as having a steady beat as to build the rest of the song on. The instrumental here is also a bit on the less dense side, although a bit more complicated. I know that the reactions towards this song have been mixed, and I can easily understand both perspectives. I think the melody is pretty and the electropop vibes are fantastic, but it certainly lacks that extra something. My main issue with it is the chorus, which for me is extremely anticlimactic. The verses sound amazingly promising but the build-up is pretty much for nothing. Not only is the main hook quite badly recorded but the instrumental is painfully weak as well, and I keep thinking that if it had more punch in it I would like the entire song better. The non-growing pace is the same throughout the entire song too, and there's never truly a point where the next gear kicks in and powers the track up.

Sexy and seductive are two words I'd use to describe the album's third track; "Mr Lee", a song about desperately trying to get this particular guy's attention. So desperate in fact, they're willing to put on more and more makeup and wear more and more revealing clothing. It's not particularly empowering, yet they're still singing about how hot they know they are and warning him to catch them before someone else does. The lyrics are a bit contradicting, but the melody is what you'd call a true ear-worm. Objectively there's nothing specifically original about the piece, but the song is still pretty damn good and the chorus especially etches onto you after listening to it a couple of times.

Rainbow - Innocent
The tempo finally rises a bit with "Pierrot", as the intro is particularly familiar sounding. Thoughts spring towards f(x) and lately 4Minute, but as the song develops it creates more of an original sound. My favorite part of the song is the pre-chorus, where the music suddenly softens up and grows into a more pop-oriented style, and then the chorus kicks in with its catchy "Ddu ddu ddu" hook. Lyrically the easy-going melody matches the message, which is to encourage a loved on to trust and rely on them with whatever burdens their heart. As a reference, the word Pierrot is used, meaning someone who's job is to make other people laugh as was the stock character used in French comedic theater. The message seems to be that even the seemingly happiest people have it hard sometimes and need support, and that's what Rainbow is trying to be in the song.

Retro bass and funky guitar sounds take center stage in next track "Privacy", which is a song sounding like it could have been released way back in the day. Although I have not experienced those times myself, this track gives me instant associations to the music of another generation. I personally think this song is one of them more interesting on the album because of mentioned reasons, and the breezy vocals and falsetto lines work well with the given instrumental. The lyrics here are quite seductive as well, but in a more "playing-hard-to-get-way", a flirty one of course. Everything about this track is working but for some reason it's just not as memorable as the other ones. It doesn't leave a mark on me as I've listened to it, but it's certainly not a song I would skip if it came on.

Rainbow - InnocentThe very final track is "A Little More" and it's even sexier and more soothing what than "Mr. Lee" was. It's a perfect way to end things on, as it is a ballad but the tempo is still alive and breathing. Again, Rainbow brilliants with their soft, airy vocal qualities that are perfect for this type of song. These kind of ballads can, most of the time, be quite hard for me to swallow but this one has a melody that keeps it from turning out bland and generic. The falsetto parts in the chorus combined with the "Baby touch my body" hook works flawlessly together and leaves a subtle but powerful impression, which is literally what a ballad needs for me to find it worth listening to.

I think I might have to turn into more of a devoted fan of Rainbow now after I've listened to this mini, because it's one of the more solid releases to have come out this year so far. Every single song is a gem, and I think it's one of few albums I can listen to from start to finish without skipping a single track. However, the overall sound is lacking an identity as it could have been any other girl group singing and it would have been just as good. Rainbow still needs to identify their own sound and more importantly their own image, because although this is good I'm not sure this is what Rainbow should be doing. Anyhow, the album is still beautiful and as always, deserve more recognition.

Highlights: "Bad Men Cry", "Mr. Lee", "A Little More"
Score: 4,25/5

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