Song Review: Rainbow – Aurora

I often hesitate to use the word “underrated,” because it can mean different things to different people. But, when you compare quality of discography to chart and public success, Rainbow have got to be one of K-pop’s most under-appreciated groups. When they disbanded in 2016, many lamented the end of an era. But, few seemed to care when the girls were actually releasing music! Three years later, Rainbow have re-formed in celebration of their tenth anniversary.

I’m not sure whether this reunion will last longer than this initial release (I hope so!), but it represents a rare second act for K-pop. I only wish it had resulted in a mini or full album with an upbeat title track that didn’t just feel like a glorified fan song. There’s nothing wrong with fan songs, but they can only go so far when it comes to musical invention. Aurora is pleasant and sentimental. It actually reminds me of a more robust, bouncier version of Kei’s I Go from last month. And of course, it’s an absolute joy to hear the ladies of Rainbow back together in any capacity.

However, taken apart from the ceremonial anniversary it honors, Aurora is pretty bland. It has a nice drive to it, pulsing forward on warm strings and electronic piano. Its chorus surges with an appealing lushness, taking advantage of the girls’ always-refreshing vocals. It’s a perfectly fine, middle-of-the-road pop song, elevated by nostalgia for times when Rainbow were releasing tracks as epic as Mach or Sweet Dream. Thankfully, that’s a strong nostalgia for many of us!

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

8 thoughts on “Song Review: Rainbow – Aurora

  1. Their last mini album was so good. “Whoo” was a fun little title track but “Black & White” was one of the best kpop songs of 2016, period…and of course it went completely underappreciated as an unpromoted b-side. Ah well.

    When people bring up “real” group bonds in kpop, I’ll always think of Rainbow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. TL;DR: I agree, word for word, with your review.

    Expounding further:

    The Reunion: When some groups end, you sometimes hear their agencies make comments such as “this isn’t the end for the group” or “they haven’t REALLY disbanded”, but you still feel, in all likelihood, that you’ll never hear from them again as a group. I am so grateful that Rainbow made a serendipitous exception to this. I have every release they’ve dropped and I will stan them for life.

    On “Aurora”: Yeah, it’s a bit of a snoozer as I’m not really a ballad-y kinda person, but I’ll take it. Even mediocre Rainbow is better than some groups best offerings; to me, anyways.

    On the “under-appreciated” aspect: Rainbow is definitely on that list. It really is a gut-punch when you see that much talent go largely ignored. Other entries on the “what the hell is wrong with the world?” list are: Berry Good, STELLAR, 4TEN, Nine Muses, Dal★Shabet, SPICA, N*White, Sonamoo, Two X and.. ..I could go on.

    Nostalgic Treat:

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of overlooked groups can be chalked up to mismanagement in one form or another but groups like 9 Muses and Dal Shabet especially are like……what more could they have done. How did they not blow up and become beloved by the public. 9M was just pumping out quality for years….it’s baffling.

      On another note I just listened to Rainbow’s MACH for the first time after somehow missing out and oh my god. Oh my god. I got actual chills. Pop perfection is an understatement. (It’s by Sweetune of course it’s by Sweetune) How did this not instantly shoot them into the stratosphere. Did they not promote it properly??? Did all of Korea go deaf in late 2010???? What went wrong here????? I am disgusted

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How did you NOT know about “Mach”? I jest. Yeah, that was the first Rainbow song I encountered, so you can see how I fell for them instantly. Interesting take on Mach is the the instrumental version is just as good. A lot of artists release instrumental versions and most are just gimmicky. But MACH.. ..totally appreciable on its own.

    “MACH (Inst.)”:

    You know about “A”, right?



  4. I am glad that I waited to comment, because I had not listened to Rainbow before. If I had just gone on this song I would have thought “meh”.
    But I listened to Mach and A and a couple others, and yeah, solid pop songs. uncomplicated and straightforward. well produced, well performed.
    … this song is still meh.


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