As promised in my last post about 4Minute’s upcoming comeback, I was going to be following it closely and update as needed. On January 26th, CUBE released 4Minute’s pre-release song, “Cold Rain”, marking the first time 4Minute has ever had a ballad as a title track.
This comes likely off the success BEAST has had following their pre-release ballads that have even won on music shows against songs that were actively being promoted on said music shows. All in all, it’s really a good strategy since Korea seems to love ballads.
I may have said this before on here once or twice, but I’m definitely not a huge fan of ballads. I love Kyuhyun’s because of the beautiful voice I get to hear while listening to them, but I’ve also found myself quite fond of BEAST’s ballads lately. I’m not sure what set them apart from B1A4’s or even Super Junior’s, but I’ve been listening to them a lot lately.
Anyways, after hearing “Cold Rain” was going to be a ballad, I was skeptical since 4Minute are not known for their ballads, or even the strong vocals of the members. Yes, Jiyoon was on Immortal Song and Gayoon has improved immensely since debut, but HyunA probably gets more flack for her singing than anyone else in the industry and 2Hyun have always just been kind of…there.
I waited until the MV came out to make my decision, and I’m glad I did since I’m actually quite fond of the song and have replayed it a couple of times. Even though I’m seeing a lot of wank from 2ne1 fans about the video and song “copying” their precious “Missing You” video, I have to say even from a subjective standpoint the songs sound nothing alike. The video, while you can see similarities in the styling (though, I must point out, HyunA has been wearing her slaughtered Yetis much longer than any other K-Pop artist), the direction of the video is also much more different and in actuality some scenes reminded me of After School’s “First Love” video much more than any of it reminded me of 2ne1’s ballad.
The song itself gives me a similar feeling as some of BEAST’s ballads, which makes sense since both groups hail from CUBE. I really enjoyed the structure of the song with HyunA’s subdued rap, featuring a nice sample of her vocals, which are really better than she gets credit for. Yes I am biased, but there are plenty of singers worse than her in both Eastern and Western music. I also enjoyed seeing a bit of a rap feature from Sohyun, since she’s always had a bit of an awkward place in the group; as her vocals aren’t as strong as 2Yoon, and honestly not as pleasantly toned as Jihyun. Jihyun had a surprising amount of lines, despite half of them being the sound of rain falling.
Overall I would say the biggest line injustice has to be Jiyoon. However, even though she’s my second favorite in 4Minute, this is very understandable. She has a strong raspy voice, and this song is not meant to be strong at all. If she had even some of Gayoon’s lines it would have altered the entire feel of “Cold Rain” and turned it into something much less vulnerable. I’m very sure she’ll have her time to shine on the second single.
Gayoon, as alluded to, was the true star of “Cold Rain.” In the early 4Minute days, her voice was almost unlistenable to me. However, ever since “Volume Up,” you can hear the clear improvement from her and finally on “Cold Rain” it has all come to fruition and the audience can really appreciate her vocal skills. She has so much control over her voice, and even though at times the song goes a bit out of her register where you can tell it would be hard for her to hit the notes live, overall Gayoon carries this release, and fills it with so much emotion it’s hard to even press ‘pause’.
I’m hoping 4Minute can actually have a relatively successful hit with this song to build up anticipation for their upcoming second release, as well as to show that they can actually handle ballads, which in my opinion, they can.