It would take a truly spectacular album to follow in the footsteps of I am..., and I feel that RAINBOW falls short.
Musically, it’s a lot like I am..., in the same way that LOVEppears and Duty are similar. And like Duty, it is a perfectly fine album on its own. But while Duty’s singles overshadowed the rest of the album, the opposite is true with RAINBOW. The album tracks are better than the singles, which leaves the album feeling unbalanced.
On the one hand, having great album tracks isn’t a bad thing — it means that the album as a whole is good. Yet there lies the problem. There are no real standout tracks because each song is about as good as the others. This isn’t necessarily a requirement for an album if the overall quality is very high, but I don’t feel that way about RAINBOW. It’s a good album, certainly. It just doesn’t push past that for me. And, as I mentioned above, this isn’t a good place in Ayu’s discography to have anything less than a stellar release. But then again, could anything really live up to I am...?
I actually feel that the inclusion of the album’s title track, “RAINBOW,” would have given this album a much-needed boost, but because it isn’t present, the album falls short. (The song “RAINBOW” was released on the album A BALLADS in March 2003, several months after this album.)