Welcome back to another Rapid Review. We’re back at it with another 2nd generation girl group! I’ve been at this for quite a few reviews but every time I feel like I’ve fully explored this period of Kpop, I find a new group that invigorates me. And this week, that group is Rania with their first studio album, “Just Go”.
Rania was one of those groups that stayed on my periphery. I remember the big scandal with Alex, a former member, opened up about the discrimination she faced as a Black woman. Other than that, I knew very little about them before this review.
Rania has an interesting but complicated history. Originally intended as the new lineup of Baby V.O.X., they reformed the group and debuted in 2011 under DR Music, with the handy help of Teddy Riley. Yeah, I had no idea either. Their debut track, “Dr. Feel Good” was actually under his “Teddy Riley, First Expansion in Asia” album. Also, it’s pronounced “Rah-Nia”, in case you were wondering.
Unfortunately, due to the deadly combination of mismanagement from the company and personal conflicts, Rania’s lineup kept changing. On June 28, 2020, then-member Hyeme announced on her Twitter account that the group would be dissolved and rebranded as Black Swan.
This album came out the gate swinging. Riley originally produced “Dr. Feel Good” for Lady Gaga but this whole album reminds me of the glittery, party anthems of the late 00s/ early 2010. And not just from western pop. “Just Go” reminds me of slightly gritter SNSD’s “Run Devil Run.” To me, that’s why this album shines. The ladies have a very confident and mature sound, backed by grimier beats. These are grown women readers, and I adored every minute of it.
“Killer” really highlights their strengths; the tight harmonies, the throbbing beat, and the hip-hop breakdown in the middle. I think of other girl groups from that time and while I hear similarities, Rania raises above. Had been on a better label, Rania could have easily been one of the greats of K-Pop. I’m really sad they’re not better known.
With that said, even if DR Music managed them, I’m not sure if they could have made it. As I said, this album has a mature sound to it and at that time, K-Pop wasn’t very friendly toward artists like that, especially women. It’s very possible that Rania would have been constantly stiffed by K-Pop conservation mindset and double standards.
Some of these songs are from past EPs and the last 3 tracks are English versions of certain songs. Still, I’ll give this album as a strong 9 stars. I’d give it 9.5 but I’d love some slower songs to shake up their sound but that’s it. I love this album.
Just Go, Killer,
A high energy album that stands along with great 2010s EDM party anthems. Amazing vocals and strong productions, this album is a must-listen for dance-pop fans and those looking for a more mature sound from K-Pop.