It has been about a year since Rainbow last attempted a comeback with the ill-received (but honestly pretty good)”Black Swan.” With that in mind, it’s not very surprising to see the group return to it’s more lighthearted, funky roots with their latest comeback “Whoo.” Thankfully, while it may lack the ingredients to be an instant classic, “Whoo” gets far more right than it gets wrong.
The single’s beat, a mixture of giddy guitar riffs and punctuating synths, falls comfortably within Rainbow’s wheelhouse of peppy gems like (the admittedly superior) “A” as well as (tragically) non-single songs such as “Cosmic Girl” or “Don’t Touch.” The funky, moderately upbeat tempo of “Whoo” gives the song a positively warm vibe and Rainbow does a fairly good job of conveying happiness without anything coming off as too forced or aegyo-ish. The production also does an excellent job of mashing the members’ vocals together to sound like a disco pop choir for the choruses while still leaving enough of Rainbow’s personality in the mix for the individual parts as well. If there are negative points to be had with the single, it’s that the combination of the easy-going beat and cheery vocals isn’t punctured by any moment of climax (the closest that the song comes to switching things up is with Woori’s rap, which isn’t particularly mindblowing). The hook of “whoo, clap clap, clap clap, whoo” is not the the sort of hook that sticks in the mind after the song ends either. Still, for its few faults, “Whoo” seems perfectly content to be the musical equivalent of a mild 65 degree spring day; agreeable in every way but just a bit lacking in punch.
As for the video, while it looks like DSP Media issued a directive to spare every expense possible, “Whoo” makes the absolute most out of what little budget Rainbow was obviously given for this comeback. Basically only working off of their proscribed colors, some clever editing and Rainbow’s charisma, “Whoo” comes together magnificently. The bare white set on its own would have been a major let down but the injection of bold colors to match with each member’s color (even if it’s just a painted square) adds a colorful impact to a music video that sorely lacks a sense of jolt. The playful way that “Whoo” fiddles with its aspect ratio is another wise avenue that the music video takes to add some diversity to its limited set pieces and shots.
Of course, with essentially no gimmicks to help them, the members of Rainbow have to be their best advocates in “Whoo,” and the group does a fantastic job of selling pop fluff fun without the help of many props or even decipherable choreography shots. In particular, Woori, Jaekyung and Jisook slay this video but the entire group comes off looking very good here (although whoever gave Hyunyoung those hazel contact lenses needs to be fired right away).
“Whoo” isn’t one of the best songs that Rainbow has ever released but it is a very good, and very recognizably Rainbow single. It may not end up on many “Best of” lists but “Whoo” is a decidedly simple and fun comeback that is perfect for the middle section of a sunny day playlist. Hopefully, at the very least, “Whoo” earns Rainbow some much-needed goodwill because a K-Pop world that limits Jaekyung and Jisook to DIY goddesses isn’t one that I want to live in.