Rain’s 5th Korean album, entitled Rainism, was released on 10.16.08. After various messages about starting an American career (being in movies such as Speed Racer), he returns to Korea for the long-awaited Rainism.
My Way serves as the album’s opener. It’s a very strange introductory track as it first sounds like someone is setting something up and once Rain begins singing, there is this really annoying sound that continues. This was a very pointless track on the album and should have not even been on the album.
The title track, Rainism, comes as the album’s first full number. The song begins with a mysterious and sleek instrumental with Rain speaking and there’s a certain sexual atmosphere that comes through. As the song goes on, the instrumentation becomes even more addictive and then Rain repeats “I gotta be a bad boy, I’m gonna be a bad bad boy” and that only amplifies the sexual energy. On the first verse, his verse sounds very sleek but the words that he sings higher sound really out of place in keeping with the cool atmosphere. The chorus is a little disappointing as it doesn’t take it to the next level but it is catchy. The long section of pure instrumentation is wonderful because the music, which is the best part of the song, really is spotlighted. Rainism is actually a pretty simple song but it’s a catchy one with truly hot instrumentation.
The tempo slows down a little bit for the next track, Only You. The opening instrumentation is a combination of a very pretty guitar and some electronic sounds, which really catches the listener’s ear. On the first verse, Rain gives smooth vocals that portray the emotional quality of the song perfectly. The chorus is nice but his voice is a little too high here to really suit the music. Only You isn’t a bad song by any means but it would have been better had he stuck to a lower octave on the chorus.
Love Story is the album’s first real ballad. The song starts off with very pretty instrumentation but Rain really shouldn’t have been talking over it. On the first verse, his vocals are gorgeous, effectively communicating the emotions of the song. The transition from the verse into the chorus is so smooth that it’s hard for the listener to realize when the chorus starts but once it becomes apparent, they can hold onto it as his voice remains beautiful as does the music. One section of the song that really stands out is the third verse as the music takes a slight change and Rain keeps up with it fantastically.
사랑이라는 건 is a very pretty midtempo number and really catches the listener’s ear as there is something just so natural about the song. You can really feel that you’re there with Rain as he sings and that always gives the song that personal touch that makes it so loveable. It’s definitely one of the standout numbers on Rainism.
One thing that becomes very apparent while listening to Rainism is that Rain has a habit of speaking over the opening instrumental and honestly, it gets annoying after a while. Unfortunately, 내 여자 is a very forgettable track because it sounds like a throwaway version of 사랑이라는 건. His vocals aren’t particularly impressive and the music sounds so boring that the listener can’t even enjoy it.
Finally we come to another upbeat number with You. The song starts off with a very dark and mysterious instrumental that instantly gets the listener ready for something intense. His speaking actually works well on this song before the first verse starts. His vocals here are perfect and even the higher vocals go perfectly with the music although it is a little hard to distinguish the line between the verse and the chorus at first listen. Overall You is a fantastic song that the listener can really get into as the sexual atmosphere is back to enjoy.
It’s nice to see Rain try new things and that’s just what he does on Fresh Woman as he explores upbeat jazzy sounds. One notable thing about this song is that he sticks to the lower vocals and it really pays off because going into the higher range just would have made his vocals clash with the song. Fresh Woman sounds great and definitely is one of the album’s most memorable numbers.
Rain teams up with C-Luv for 더 끌려, another upbeat enjoyable song. The talking at the beginning is a phone conversation in English and it does sound really annoying but after it finishes, we come to the chorus and Rain’s vocals sound great here, staying smooth to match the sleek instrumentation. Although his vocals tend to be better in the lower range, he sounds almost sleepy on the verses and his voice almost draws the lyrics. Nonetheless, it’s a very fun and cool track that stands out on Rainism.
That coolness continues on the tenth track, 고개 돌려. From the moment the instrumentation starts, the listener is taken into a sleek world and on the first verse, Rain has the same problem as ealier as sounding a little sleepy at points instead of retaining that cool atmosphere. However everything becomes all right on the chorus as the backing vocals support the front vocals very well and both ride with the music strongly. It’s still an enjoyable number that finds its home on Rainism.
After a slew of upbeat trck, 9월 12일 comes as a smooth and intimate ballad. It’s easily the best slow song on the album as Rain’s vocals show the emotional presence of the song and the music is just so smooth and soft that the listener can’t help but fall in love with it. He definitely shined on this song and made it one of the most memorable ones of the entire album.
While My Way (Intro) was the opening track, the closing song is also entitled My Way. Although it’s miles better than the original, it’s still a pretty forgettable song. Rain’s vocals are nice but the music is so boring that the listener just has a hard time connecting with the song at all.
Album Ranking: B +
Rainism is a nice collection of songs ranging from infectious dance tracks to some emotional ballads. Rain generally delivered on the upbeat songs with Rainism and You being some of the album’s best offerings. As far as ballads go, 9월 12일 is gorgeous and is a standout song while the other slow numbers are generally forgettable. If we can bring such strength on the next album with more interesting ballad instrumentals then he’ll be set.