BAP may be rookies, but they seem like veterans of the game with their THIRD promotion already. Man – these guys must be tired! And schizophrenic, apparently, because each promotion has packaged with it a completely different personality and image, starting with the aggressive “Warrior”, leading to the aegyo – I shudder when I use that term – “Stop It”, and now the tormented and quietly violent “Rain Sound”. (Note: another word for that is “Emo”.) So what’s the consensus?
It was basically expected that the newest BAP release would sound nothing like its predecessors, and the premier of “Rain Sound” proved that assumption. The song possesses a calm ambiance, which is an about-face from the high-impact energy of “Warrior” or the exuberance of “Stop It”. The verses are lovely and properly create a remorseful and wistful sentiment throughout the song. Raps added by Bang, Zelo, and occasionally Himchan have good flow and also do a great job of carrying the same mood that the melody conveys. However, “Rain Sound” still seems to fall victim to one of the biggest traps in K-pop, which is choosing to stick with the traditional chorus. What I mean by that is that although the verses have pushed the envelope in terms of sound and maturity, the chorus is still the typical gushy, balladic chorus that we come to expect from a lot of Korean (and Asian) pop music. It completely cuts through and ruins the wistful feel of the rest of the song, instead replacing it with overdone emoting. If it weren’t for the chorus, “Rain Sound” would have been a favorite of mine.
The music video attempts to build on the mood created by the track with a lot of interesting visual decisions. It seems to be set in some kind of unused/haunted hospital wing or morgue, where the boys act moody and heartbroken. Things like hospital beds, an ambulance, and an IV drip filled with mysterious green liquid all give me a hint as to their location. Also, there’s usually a mannequin chillin’. (More on that later.) But the setting is completely illogical: A. What kind of IV drip fluid is that kind of green? Is it sour apple Kool-Aid? And B. Why is there an ambulance INDOORS?
I will say, however, that they’ve succeeded in creating a clear visual mood with their set-pieces and color choices. They have gone for a gritty but polished look, combining sharp styling, an intriguing yet calibrated environment, and interspersed graffiti images. If I had one request, it would have been that the music video committed more to the grittiness, which would have made the visual theme even more compelling. On one level, it feels a bit like a bunch of pretty boys in nice clothes hanging out in a creepy place.
Besides the visuals of the music video contributing to the overall mood of the video, BAP has decided to present to you their inner turmoil in another, far more subtle way: by crying. CRYING A LOT. Tear-filled eyes grace this video a million times; this also meant that the makeup artists went all-in with the eyeliner. I was going to add pictures of every time I saw crying or a pair of eyes welling up with tears, but I ran out of hard-drive space. You’ll just have to settle for this one picture of Zelo, who has the worst cry-face in the world. It gives Claire Danes’ infamous cry-face a run for its money.
I’m a little conflicted as to how to feel about the mannequins, and their use, in this music video. On one hand, it’s a way to display conflicted feelings in a symbolic and harmless way. On the other hand, the act of tenderly caressing and then utterly destroying them majorly creeps me out:
Himchan’s no better:
Not really sure what to think…
The weakest part of this video takes place outside of the hospital/morgue, and instead occurs in the classic boy band alternate universe dreamscape. It was a little dull and didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the video. With a white backdrop, the boys of BAP hang out, gesture, and sing in crisp white suits, suits that I actually appreciated.
WAIT BUT OH GOD WHAT’S HAPPENING
I’m sure they’re trying to convey some sort of symbolic destruction of purity and love, but all I can think about is those horrible colors marring their white suits!
I’m infinitely tempted to dedicate 1000 more words to the state of everybody’s hair and clothing, which I love save for a few missteps (I’M LOOKING AT YOU AND YOUR FURRY-ASS COLLAR YOUNGJAE), but I’m going to try to exercise some restraint.
Overall, this is an interesting and high-quality comeback. It isn’t without its missteps, but the members of BAP are natural performers and carry the concept through with commitment. In “Rain Sound”, they display their newfound abilities to wear a lot of eyeliner, set mannequins on fire, and soil perfectly fine white suits. Problems aside, let’s be honest here: BAP has tried on the personas of many boy groups, and still does it better than practically all of them.