U-Kiss has had a career arc that feels somehow unfulfilled. Despite being a veteran idol group (they debuted all the way back in 2008), their prominence in Korea has really plummeted as they’ve focused their attention on Japan instead. Because of this, they’re a group that many forget actually still exists. This isn’t fair, but it just shows how desperately they need to reestablish themselves in their homeland.
Kissing To Feel is another Japanese single, but unlike the cloying cuteness of previous single Action, this one returns them to an edgier sound that hearkens back to their best material. In fact, Kissing To Feel sounds more like a kpop title track from 2011 or 2012 than a current release. I mean this in the very best way, since I’m a fan of the big choruses and intense dance production that used to be a staple in Korean music. In a year where chill r&b has taken prominence so far, it’s refreshing to hear something that sounds like a throwback to kpop’s more inventive side.
The song opens with a catchy spoken intro (that’s not repeated nearly enough) before bursting into its thundering verses. After a slowed-down bridge, we’re treated to the song’s best moment: that giant, sledgehammer chorus. It’s a bit Shinee-esque in nature, and would’ve fit perfectly on any of that group’s albums from 2012-2013. It feels like a sucker punch, delivered with an intensity and passion that we haven’t seen from the guys in far too long. They’d do well to take this sound and make a comeback in Korea with something similar.