I’m not sure what I was expecting from Rain’s new song, but it wasn’t “In my crib got the hundred dolla bills.” You’ve got to give it to the legendary idol for embracing different styles, but I’m not sure “Gang” is my favorite song from him. It’s like if “La Song” got a second-generation makeover in an attempt to look edgy, but only ended up losing all the edginess it already had. Still, it’s hard not to nod your head to the bassy beat, and Rain’s dance performance in the music video for “Gang” was entertaining as ever.
By far my favorite parts of “Gang” were the rap verses. Though Rain is more widely known as a dancer and vocalist than as a rapper, it was the rap that felt the most natural to me in this song, especially in the second verse. Rain’s style is toned down from most of the rapping we see from K-pop today, and this ended up suiting the mid-tempo dance beat. Even so, I didn’t love the throwback dance instrumental. Much more captivating performances appear elsewhere on the comparatively soft, gentle mini-album. “My Life” is mostly composed of ballads of varying textures, plus one energetic mid-tempo, “Sunshine.” For me, the biggest highlight was the opening track, “Goodbye,” a gorgeous duet with Jo Hyun Ah that’s all about vocals. Anyone who didn’t know Rain (though I seriously hope there aren’t any K-pop fans who don’t know Rain) would think based on this one track that Rain is strictly a ballad singer, it’s that natural. Rain’s vocals are also enchanting, in a subdued kind of way, on slo-jam “Baby Baby.”
Rain comebacks are always entertaining, and this one was no exception. It’s not my favorite thing he’s done, but Rain isn’t aiming to break hearts this time around. That was the goal of January’s emotional “The Best Present,” and now that he’s achieved it, he’s back to party. While the B-sides continue to show off his sentimental side, “Gang” is pure fun. Rain is as iconic as ever, and will remain so, I’m sure, for many years to come.
GANG: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? It’s kind of a coin toss for me, but out of respect for Rain I’ll say bop.
Take a look at Rain’s “Gang” MV below: