My interest in jpop group Kis-My-Ft2’s releases has been pretty hit and miss over the years. I’ve loved some (mostly Perfect World), but found others to be too generic and overly processed. Still, they’re a group that I feel that I should like, given that they’re one of the more kpop-sounding boy bands in Japan, so I approach each new release with a cautious optimism. Sometimes it pays off.
As far as singles go, Gravity turns out to be one of the good ones. Eschewing the frantic kitchen-sink production style favored by many of the groups under Johnny’s Entertainment, the song opts for a straightforward, synth driven propulsion. A healthy dose of rhythm guitar and squeaky electronics fuel the excellent verses, segueing into a standard EDM build before we’re hit with the go-for-broke chorus.
Speaking of the chorus, it feels just shy of a total triumph. The arrangement adds weight and power, particularly during the extended note that soars over the final repetition, but that ends up compensating for a melody that slightly (very slightly) underwhelms. This still puts it safely in the “win” column, but I can’t help feel that the track could have been absolutely epic with a hook that hit just a bit harder. It’s a minor complaint for a solid song, and probably speaks more to my own taste than anything. Most importantly, Gravity feels like the kind of track Kis-My-Ft2 should be recording. It’s a strong showcase for their skills, and goes light on overly processed vocals. It feels uniquely jpop, yet retains an international appeal.
** 2018 edit: I don’t know what I was thinking back in 2016. This song is straight-up perfection.