I was one of the (very) few who didn’t care for Taeyeon’s solo debut, I. I understand why it was such a big hit, and why so many loved it. My qualms came down to personal taste more than anything. Still, the fact that I was less enamored than most led me to approach Rain without any real expectations.
Being the first of SM’s weekly digital releases for 2016, Rain felt like it might be a throwaway from the start. And while it’s not a song that’s going to set the world on fire, it actually turned out to be more enjoyable than I thought. We’re dealing with a straightforward, r&b-laced ballad here, but with enough vocal hooks and quirks to make it worthwhile. The gentle production remains straightforward and forgettable throughout, but Taeyeon’s ad-libs at the end of each chorus caught me straight away, as well as the inflection her voice gives the smallest of phrases.
As a solo performer, she’s been given space to really show that she can deliver a song, from build-up to release. Rain isn’t home to any particularly memorable vocal acrobatics, but it does have a nice build that makes the track feel like it’s going somewhere, even if that somewhere is a gentle stroll down the block in the middle of a rainstorm. In the end, it’s a mood piece, and it effectively captures the feeling it was going for. How much you enjoy it will depend on whether that slow, quiet storm sentiment is the type of feeling you seek out when listening to music.