To kick off my reviews this year, we’ll start out with a song that came out last year.
“Start A Fire” is an attempt at pulling some 90s R&B. The instrumental consists of synth drums with the occasional piano tinkle, and for the most part it’s a pretty good attempt at it. It’s not something particularly ground-breaking, but it did grow on me after a couple plays.
However, there is one teensy weensy problem that I have with everything: and it’s got nothing to do with the music.
Rania is one of those nugu groups that have never really taken off. Sure, they came out with a few bangers like “Dr. Feel Good” and “Style” way back in the day, but beyond that they’ve just sat somewhere in the fourth or fifth tier of Kpop hierarchy. Rania is to girl groups what U-KISS is to boy groups, so it’s no wonder that they tried to gain some buzz by adding an African-American woman named Alex into their lineup in late 2015.
And just as you’d expect, they ruin it.
It was one thing that Alex couldn’t show up for “Demonstrate” because of visa issues, but it’s a whole other thing entirely that in her debut song with Rania that she’s alone in all her shots (save for the ones at the end), and isn’t present in the choreography. It feels like she’s only here as a guest rather than an actual member of the group to gain buzz for Rania. Think of K.A.R.D., but if they kept Youngji as a “hidden” member like they did with “Oh NaNa.” It just feels like a cheap way to get people to talk about Rania because it isn’t every day you seen someone non-Asian in a group, and most times they get swept under the rug.
It’s really a shame because Alex is talented in the rap department. Her flow is better than even the best rappers in the game, and I find it pretty cool that it was done all in English. Maybe part of the reason Alex isn’t so present is because she hasn’t learned Korean yet, but the least Rania could do is at least include her in the dance shots. You don’t have to know Korean to know how to dance.
But anyway, what we have here is a really good song done by a group that seems to be pushing a member to the side despite the fact she’s a great addition to the group. I hope that this changes with Rania’s next comeback, but for now I’ll enjoy “Start A Fire” for what it is – a good 90s throwback with an awesome rap on the bridge.