credits: LOEN Entertainment YouTube channel
1. I initially thought that 30 Sexy was something Justin Timberlake-ish. It turns out, it’s more like vintage JY Park, with a dash of Earth, Wind and Fire. (I get it, Ji Hoon. You like September.)
2. I really wanna give the Rain in the La Song MV a quick shower.
3. La Song is catchy but a bit difficult to appreciate, especially for those who are not into hip hop.
4. These two songs do not showcase Rain’s vocals at all. So sad. I wish they balanced it out by releasing a dance song and a ballad or slow RnB, just like how he usually does it. I think he still doesn’t realize that his fans love him the most for his voice even if that’s what the survey said in his latest fanmeet.
5. I suddenly super-duper-miss my super-manly “Rain’s World” era Rain.
6. There are random sightings of chicken/poultry in La Song, and they’re being slaughtered along with the pig. Why, Ji Hoon? Why???
Here’s the album cover:
The album jacket is old school Big Bang. Someone’s lacking in creative juices…
I gave it a chance and listened to one of the slower tracks called Dear Mama Don’t Cry. I’m so sorry, Ji Hoon, but I have to cry. What have you done to your lovely voice??? Where’s the full, husky tone that we loved? Whose freakin’ idea was this??? I wanna !!!!
I’m sorry, but I can’t listen to this any further. I just can’t. This is not the Rain I know.
I guess I should be held responsible. I posted my psychic’s advice on this blog, urging Rain to reinvent himself. But dude, when Ann said ‘reinvent’, she didn’t mean adopt a dated and dirty concept, and change your voice to something that closely resembles Alvin and the Chipmunks.
In the interest of fairness, I decided to listen to the whole album. It won’t hurt to try, right? Right?
Famous last words.
I’m not sure if the tracks I listened to were just encoded in low quality which resulted to the songs sounding like it’s very badly produced. His voice sounded like galvanized iron being cut into pieces in some of the tracks. Unless it was intentional and he actually intended to sound like Park Jin Young, at which I wanna slap him silly because NO, Ji Hoon. Just NO. Compared to his post-JYPE releases, namely Rainism and Back to the Basic (I don’t even need to mention the Japanese album Eternal Rain which impressed even our local record executives for its super-polished production values), Rain Effect sounded very amateurish, production-wise.
My overall impression of the album, including the MVs: it’s like Rain is auditioning to be a YG artist. The album cover is nearly identical to 2ne1’s first album (I realized that I initially wrote that it’s old school Big Bang, until I remembered later on that it’s actually 2ne1, not Big Bang). The ‘clap clap clap’ in 30sexy should’ve reminded me of the clap-clap-clap in With U, but instead reminded me so much of Seungri’s Strong Baby. His choreography, MV concept and the use of electronica/house fused with RnB looks and feels like he’s a wannabe G-Dragon, except that he ended up looking and sounding like Park Jin Young. Rain, there’s a reason why G-Dragon is into that kind of music. It’s because G-Dragon doesn’t have the singing voice that you have. GD’s voice is meant for electronica. Your voice, not so much.
I haven’t read the lyrics to any of the songs, but there really is no need for that. Listening to the album is like watching an episode of Teletubbies or any of those shows geared towards kids aged 3 and below. I mean, there should be a reason why the lyrics has to be repeated over and over and over just to fill out 3+ minutes of each track. It usually works when you’re aiming for marketability, but repeated lyrics has to be coupled with an overall catchy song in order to minimize the annoyance.
It saddens me that Rain is the one credited to writing all of the lyrics. I suddenly miss the genius of My Way and Love Story.
Here’s a track by track rundown:
01. Rain Effect – the 30-second intro is a nice, intriguing opening track. However, the intrigue stops there. Well, at least it opened nicely.
02. 30 Sexy – JYP, is that you? This one sounds like a mash-up of several songs (like the previously mentioned September by EWF). The sound is very 80s pop. It’s one of the more listenable tracks in the album, though.
03. La Song – I found the secret to appreciating this song: don’t watch the MV. My initial assessment was right. The beat is very catchy, I found myself bobbing along to the song. (Yes, Agent P was broken again by this song.)
04. 어디 가요. 오빠 (Oppa, Where Are You?) feat. Hyuna – My ears! My ears!
No, Ji Hoon. Just… NO.
Most – ok, ALL – of the people I know who listened to this song universally hated it. Some lamented about the choice of Hyuna as ‘duet’ (what duet? They didn’t sing!) partner. Well, she only moaned and said ‘oppa, oppa’, so she’s actually perfect for this.
05. Marilyn Monroe – They said there’s always a hidden gem in a pile of rubbish. In this case, it’s Marilyn Monroe. This song is vintage Rain. It’s quite nice to the ears. It showcased his beautiful voice. It also sounds like one or two of his previous slow RnB songs (eg. Love Is from the Rainism album), and it’s still not anywhere near as good as those songs, but compared to the rest of the album, this one is The Bomb. It actually warranted a couple of repeat listens from me. [Edit] I was told that this song is written for You-Know-Who, but for some reason, when I think of Marilyn Monroe, the image that enters my head is this one.
06. 차에 타봐 (Baby) – one of the more decent tracks. Listenable, but a bit forgettable.
07. Superman – I call this one, “Ode to G-Dragon”. Too electronica for my taste. Does not showcase how good Rain is a singer, at all. But if you’re into that kind of
noise music, maybe you’ll like it.
08. 알아버렸어 – Very 80s-sounding. Another forgettable track. Nothing special to offer.
09. Dear Mama Don’t Cry – OK, as I’ve said, I haven’t read the lyrics so I don’t know exactly what this song is about. Is ‘Mama’ referring to his mom, or to
Mama Bear some other person he calls ‘Mama’? It doesn’t sound like it’s for his mom, because the way he sang it is like he’s begging for sexy time. I also absolutely HATE his voice here. It sounded so thin and galvanized iron-like.
[Update] I’ve just read the English translation of the lyrics and it turned out, the song is for his mother. The lyrics are quite touching, actually, but as I said, the way he sang it is like he’s begging for sexy time. There’s a sort of disconnect with the lyrics and the way it was sang. I find this a bit off because I still remember the old Rain who sang 익숙치 않아서 (Can’t Get Used To It) and while listening to it, you can feel your heart breaking even if you don’t really know what the lyrics are.
10. 30 Sexy (East4A Deeptech Mix) – Remixing this song doesn’t make it any better. But then, I’m not a fan of remixes. But then again, I find that Bad Guy Remix improved on the original, so… what was my point again?
Ultimately, the one thing that this album lacks is SOUL. It’s just a mish-mash of beats, (sort of) melodies and repeated lyrics that don’t make much sense. Rain has lost the heart and soul that is embedded in his previous albums, particularly the ones he produced after he left JYPE.
All in all, this is my verdict: if you want to support Rain, go ahead and buy this album for the sake of helping him top the charts. (But against TVXQ? Good luck with that.) But I honestly think that anyone who has not listened to Rain before would either not like him, or would totally get the wrong idea about the kind of music he does. For all of us who waited nearly four years for his comeback album, this one is a major disappointment.