Mar 3, 2015

Rainbow Transform Into A "Black Swan" For Their Latest Comeback


After almost two years of absence, DPS' forever neglected group Rainbow has returned to grace our lives with their return to the music scene. Well, unless you count Rainbow Blaxx of course, a sub-unit towards which my feelings are still unresolved. As a full group, however, it's been a long time.

Being under the same label as Kara, a hugely successful group, and SS501, who were immensly popular back in the day, you would think that this group has had the same fate. Unfortunately, Rainbow is a perfect example of both talent and potential gone wasted thanks to bad management, but as a fan you just have to keep on believing in them. That is exactly what I did when I watched their video for "Black Swan".

First of all I will not discuss the song in this review apart from maybe briefly browsing through the lyrical content, but I will save that for the actual album review which will be up shortly. This is all about the video, and how I think it works both as a complement to the song as well as from a stand-alone standpoint.

Rainbow - InnocentThis is the first time Rainbow has tried a concept like this, I believe, as it's a lot more dark and also quite a lot more creepy than what we're used to seeing them do. Rainbow has had a career made up of switching between different looks and concepts, but they're mostly known for their sexy ones like with "A" and "To Me" which also did fairly well in South Korea. In 2013 they decided to spice things up by going full-on cutesy cute, and I did not appreciate that at all. So for them to even ditch the aegyo in the first place was enough to have me interested in this comeback.

As for whether it actually lived up to my hopes or not? I'm still conflicted. The song especially but the video as well has me quite torn. I think it's both totally amazing and also a tad bit underwhelming. Not that I thought Rainbow was ever going to get special treatment though, so I guess being as good as it is I should feel happier. The video is very pretty, don't get me wrong, but it's also kind of boring. I simply feel as if they could have done so much more with the given premise.

What I do like however, is the artistic direction and visual value. If anything, this video is very beautiful from an aesthetic point of view, and I'm not solely talking about the members themselves who look nothing less but strikingly beautiful. I love the outfits, hair and makeup which is more than I can say for many groups these days. Rainbow are truly one group of gorgeous girls and this video allows their beauty to take center stage without either being too raunchy for my taste or too cute and unflattering for their ages.

As for the video's artistic style; it's dark and alluring, most certainly to match the lyrics and the concept. The shots vary from black and white to dark filters with a bluer tone, thus giving it an instant eerie output. The girls' blue contact lenses are also put to good use by matching the color filter, and although I'm usually a moderate fan of them they work well for this particular video. Additionally, the shots switch from full-group dance sequences to individual close ups of their faces and eyes as well as specific shots to help push the vague plot forward. To add more spookiness, the screen also glitches here and there as well as going in and out of focus. These details are all part of making the video a little more special, and let's just say that's fortunate because there isn't that much else to it.

For a song which I felt could have made room for an interesting story (turning into a black swan), this video gives us only hints and clues as to what is actually going on, so I guess it's up to each and everyone to make their own assumption. Lyrically the song does strike some familiar chords, perhaps with those familiar with the movie "Black Swan" or the ballet "The Swan Lake" even, but the video only touches the subject in the most shallow way possible. There are broken mirrors, closed doors and thick fog, all mysterious and presumably dangerous. The members are first seen as curious but later portray severe distress and fear, possibly over realizing what they're turning into and who they really are. As you can tell, the story is highly ambiguous and free for interpretation, but the theme remains quite solid as you can't deny that something strange is going on behind the dark walls.

tumblr_nk7gazSEgQ1r27owuo2_1280Now here comes my biggest complaint: the choreography. Don't get me wrong, it's not dreadful, whatever that means, but it's exhaustively underwhelming. There are some more interesting parts, but as a whole it's awfully uninspiring and fails to showcase any dancing skills this groups possesses. Particularly the butt-swaying move in the chorus feels terribly outdated, and I can promise I've seen that exact move in like 10 other girl group choreographies.

To summarize: I both like and dislike the video for "Black Swan". I enjoy the aesthetic aspect of it, because it's visually enchanting and the girls look marvelous in their dark hair and sparkly dresses, but I dislike the overall production value. It's blatantly obvious how hard DSP tried to come up with something unique and original, but it falls flat in some areas. I definitely think Rainbow deserved even better, but I'm also not too disappointing because it's a big improvement from their latest group comeback. If this is their new direction than I'm all in favor of it, but then let's hope that their next video release is on an even higher level.

Song: 3,5/5
Video: 3,65/5

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