Thursday, February 26, 2015

[MV Review] Rainbow - Black Swan



As you all know all too well, Rainbow hasn't made a comeback for a very long time, by Kpop standards at least. I'll take this opportunity to give you all a brief primer on Rainbow to refresh your memories (or educate you about their glory if you're either new or been sleepin' on them, feel free to skip ahead tho).

Once upon a time (aka 2010 through 2011), Rainbow were the darling of the public eye after snatching wigs and taking names with the truly fantastic A and Mach (no MV). Following up with the also great To Me and Sweet Dream, DSP then decided since they were doing so well, they should go to Japan and rake in the big YEN like KARA was. Unfortunately for everyone involved, a combination of Japanese exile, subunit activity (Rainbow Pixie sucked because they tried to copy Orange Caramel), and vocal polyps for Hyunyoung shelved any and all follow up.

Since then, they've sort of drifted away into obscurity. Jaekyung, Hyunyoung, and Jisook have managed to find work as TV show hosts, but everyone else has been languishing away in the DSP basement. It's been a year and seven months since their last full comeback in 2013, not counting Rainbow Blaxx. I'm sure you've all collectively deleted the memory of that particular set of songs off your minds cause both the songs they chose to promote, Tell Me Tell Me and Sunshine were boring as hell. It's a damn shame because that only continued the unfortunate trend of DSP shitting the bed and picking the worst songs from their minis to promote for Rainbow (case in point: the vastly superior I'll Wait for You off Rainbow Syndrome Part 2 went completely under the radar for most people).

That being said, Black Swan is everything we could have asked for and more. The only reason it took so long for them to come back is probably because DSP forgot Rainbow exists, so Jaekyung had to put the whole team on her back and do everything herself: come up with the concept, write the lyrics, write the songs, produce the songs, design the album jackets, press the CDs, distribute the CDs to ship all over Korea and the rest of the world, sew the outfits, make the jewelry and accessories, take the promo photos, think up teasers, produce the teasers, develop the choreography, shoot the MV, edit the MV, secure the venues for promotions, negotiate for variety show tours, schedule press releases, prepare PR articles for media play, and every other thing in between.

>tfw you find out you have a 0 won budget for your comeback preparation

By grace of God and/or all that is right in the KPop world, Jaekyung has definitely come through for her starving Rainouses (Rainousi?). The song's fantastic and I love (almost) everything about it. The vocals, the lowkey production, the understated instrumental, it all comes together to make one hell of a song. It may be a slow burn grower for some people, but it WILL grow on you. The chorus hook is one of my favorite parts and it's definitely one of the more memorable hooks in Rainbow's discography. There's just something about it that burrows itself into your brain and refuses to get out. Working as intended, Jaekyung.

The bad parts of the song, or rather the parts I liked the least, are where it slows down for the rap break (can we PLEASE leave these in the past??) and the fact that it doesn't really... build up to anything. The chorus is great, don't get me wrong, but it's the dominant part of the song to the point where it's difficult for any of the verses to stand out. Many people understandably have griped that the chorus feels like an eternity only because the verses are structured so similarly. Going back to the rap, I don't feel like it was particularly necessary for this song. The beat slows down quite a bit to accommodate for it, and doesn't really get its momentum back despite Hyunyoung's best efforts during her vocal run.

But boy, does she look good.
Visually speaking, the MV is also as understated as the song's production. This time around, Rainbow have gone for a slightly more psychological bent a la the infamous Black Swan movie. But without lesbians. Using liberal use of jarring cuts (but thankfully not T-ara level), odd splashes of graphic scribbles, and angsty solo zoom-ins, you're supposed to get a sense of horror or suspense, but I think they could have done a better job communicating that. Or given us lesbians, I would have killed to see Jaekyung play the Black Swan to say Hyunyoung's White Swan. Goddamn it, Jaekyung.

What we do get is an almost symbolic representation of the Rainbow situation up until now. The beautiful girls of Rainbow, left high and dry by goddamn DSP, have descended into madness and despair while languishing in their solitude. All of the cuts where they're seemingly okay before snapping and breaking down in fields of snow or rooms full of cracked mirrors only serve to reinforce this idea. Fragile mental states are only exasperated by a lack of attention and proper care, things poor Rainbow have not gotten in a very long time. Maybe Jaekyung intentionally filmed and edited this way as a silent protest and/or plea for help.

You don't need to smile through the pain anymore, I GET YOU.
At the beginning and end of the MV, we get sequences of an eerie piano piece layered with crackly phonograph effects. I really wish they did something with that, either make a full song out of it as a filler track or even use it as part of a remixed or reimagined Black Swan instrumental. Combined with a stronger concept leaning more towards the psychological horror, we could have had a really unique comeback on our hands.

Jisook already makes a great creepy/deranged serial killer.

Don't get me wrong, what we do get is a nice mix of sexy and elegance as advertised in their pre-release media play. The irony of a group founded on the concept of the 7 colors of the rainbow dropping such a great song with a muted black and white pallet is not lost on me. Jaekyung looks goddamn fantastic, with Hyunyoung easily taking top marks as well. My girl Woori, lame rap aside, is also looking really damn good. Pls help stan her so she can get some work too.

She's coming for your wigs and your fans.
Everyone else is styled pretty well, but not even a Hwayoung-esque rebirth can save Yoon Hye from her own soul-stealing gaze.

Dear God, what have I done.
In my humble opinion, the dance is pretty basic but there's some snazzy bits in there that will make perfect fuel for future fapcams. There ARE some moves that look really fucking familiar though. Either Kpop has run its course in terms of choreographic originality or Jaekyung got a little lazy/sloppy when she was looking for inspiration.

Please excuse Jaekyung for not coming up with a more exciting dance,
she was doing this all by herself.
I could have sworn I've seen this particular hand dance somewhere else
before, but at least Hyunyoung's sass is a treasure and a half to watch.
When in doubt, throw in some hip gyration and you've got yourself a
sexy MV.

When you're REALLY in doubt, put Hyunyoung's well-toned ass and legs in
front of the camera at good angles while she does hip gyrations.
Black Swan is easily one of Rainbow's best tracks to date, but some may need a couple of listens to let it burn in.

  • hip gyration
  • sexy + elegant concept
  • themes of psychological horror
  • song so good
  • chorus is da best
  • can be a grower for some
  • rap break, goddamn it Woori
  • Yoon Hye still as soulless and creepy as ever
  • doesn't really have an explosive payoff for the build-up throughout the song
I give this MV a 4.25 out of 5.

PS: Now taking submissions for a Fifty Shades of Grey "My interests are very singular" esque photo meme using Jaekyung.

You can make your own! WHAT DOES SHE SEE?
inb4 ur dick


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I've always felt that Rainbow deserves some more recognition and success.
    As hot as Woori, Jaekyung and especially HY are, I'm afraid this song will bomb too.
    I personally am indifferent about this song.

  3. The song is average at best, but probably one of the best Rainbow songs

    1. oh and probably just me, the chorus seems to be the worst part of the song, I like the verses better

    2. The chorus was the part that made me Mute the MV ... better watch it without the sound playing

  4. She sees the future.
    Jaekyung is love. Jaekyung is life. Jaekyung is... better than Nana! */horror

  5. I actually quite like Yoonhye and Noeul. Their whole "We're just random fans who wandered on to the set of this video. We aren't really idols" look is rather endearing

  6. This mv perfectly explains what i go through when waiting for the pizza to arrive.

  7. Rainbow continue their trend of releasing really good songs yet gaining no fans. Noeul and Hyunyoung look best.

  8. this and "Gossip Girl" are their only 2 singles i don't like. i don't know why, this song just does nothing for me.

    1. Gossip Girl is listed among the worst Debut song in k-pop its normal...

  9. even when jaekyung is in the back she's the only one i'm watching.
    what is the point of everyone else

  10. This song is definitely growing on me. It is slowly moving up towards A status which is one of my all time favorite K-Pop songs. It isn't a wig snatching comeback but I am content. Noeul is a hidden gem. Woori is sexy as fuck. I never understood the appeal of Hyunyoung. I feel like her and 726821 other idols went to a plastic surgeon and asked for Style 675A.

  11. I love the song. Jisook, Yoonhye and Noeul are looking great as well as the other Rainbow members.

  12. Here's my submission for the Jaekyung meme:

  13. What is this where no sounds are happening? What is this use of silence you speak of? Why aren't they trying to cram a million different sounds into a 3 minute song? WTF is going on here? I can't stop listening to it. The synths rock.

  14. MV 4/5
    Song 2/5
    Such disappointment...
    (goes back to watching Hyunyoung's fancam of A)


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