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.