#TBT – Rainbow’s “A” Is Still As Exhilarating As Ever

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Sometimes, it seems like Rainbow is cursed. Despite the fact that the group sports a roster of heat and the group’s singles range from solid to straight fire, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that Rainbow is not a shining success story (Per Wikipedia, the group’s best-charting single is “Sweet Dream” which peaked at 5 on Gaon). Sure, part of that could be a problem with DSP Media, a label that managed to arguably fluke itself into one smash group (Kara) and a smattering of forgettable projects. And part of the problem with Rainbow is likely the lack of… a discernible identity (the whole “color scheme” of Rainbow is more gimmick than concept). Still. To this day, it’s a bit mindblowing that Rainbow’s most popular single “A” did not buy the group enough goodwill to turn them into bonafide A-list stars on the K-Pop circuit.

As masterful as “A” is on the whole, the  music video’s first thirty seconds are what makes “A” Rainbow’s most memorable single. From the very first notes of the song, “A” hits like a speeding freight train. The fact that the song starts with the hook and the chorus is disorienting as all hell but it works. An opener like “A”‘s runs the risk of making the music video look and sound repetitive and jumbled but the MV’s blazing pace, the camera’s off-kilter pans and the set’s futuristic lighting set up all work in harmony to turn confusion into a rollercoaster ride where the listener is simply dropped in mid-way through the first deep plunge. From there, Rainbow doesn’t let up. There are no breaks. The hooks hit like fists of fury, the choruses transition to verses and back into choruses with a seamlessness that make “A” sound like one long and glorious note and Woori’s rap impressively punctuates the pop-tornado that surrounds her. This sort of formula shouldn’t work. “A” should be exhausting to listen to. Instead, it’s nearly infinitely repeatable.

As close to perfection as “A” gets, it does contain some of the small wrinkles that the group would never quite iron out. It’s nearly conceptless to the point where the video doesn’t stick nearly as well as the song does.  Rainbow, while slaying every moment of “A,” don’t get individual moments to shine (outside of Woori), making most of the group look like “Anonymous Hot Korean Singers 1A, 1B, 4D, 3A, 6W, 5V and The Rapping One.” It’s the sort of flaws that one could have easily excused in 2010, when Rainbow was new and “A” was the group’s third single (and their first hit one). With hindsight, it’s apparent that the group wasn’t able to take the fantastic groundwork that “A” laid down and build a distinct point of view out of it.  Still, don’t get it twisted. Rainbow made a K-Pop giant of a song and I AM STILL FLABBERGASTED THAT THE K-POP GODS DIDN’T GRANT RAINBOW CHART IMMORTALITY THE MOMENT THAT “A” DROPPED.




  1. The sad part is some of these girls are really talented and at a better label would likely be much bigger stars. Of course, when the members signed up with DSP back seven years ago, DSP had not yet shown itself to be the mess that it is today. Maybe it could have ended up like Starship if it was better managed, but instead it is clear that DSP is not a good company to work for. It managed to kill Kara and has mismanaged Rainbow into irrelevance. Rainbow’s contracts should be coming up for renewal. I suspect that group won’t persist much as Kara left when their contracts were up. A few Rainbow members could probably do better on their own with an agent that simply looks for acting/modeling/TV gigs. The rest probably would be better off finishing school or looking for regular jobs if they majored in something that provides a better career. I can’t imagine that any of the Rainbow members make more than the idol media of about $30k per year with as little success as they are having. At some point in your mid-20’s I would think you accept that you aren’t going to hit the big time as a girl group and start to look for plan B in life.

  2. ‘A’ was one of the first K-Pop videos I watched, long before I knew who Rainbow and many of the other groups were except for maybe Wonder Girls. It totally blew me away. This was pretty much my reaction.

  3. black soshi · · Reply

    JiSook is so frickin hot.

  4. I loved both “Mach” and “A”. It was a crime that “Mach” never got a proper MV and promo period until a Japanese version was released years later and they were already irrelevant.

    If only they promoted “Mach” right after “A”. I felt those two songs went well together.

  5. The promotions for this song were magical. I still have most of the music show performances on my external hard drive.

  6. This is epic. First time I listed to a Rainbow song to the end, its very good. This song is as good as Kara or T-ara at their best.

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