Despite enjoying bigger success in Japan than their native Korea over the past couple of years, Boyfriend’s j-pop material has never come close to surpassing their incredibly run of Sweetune-produced singles from 2011-2013. But never say never, because now the group is back with the bombastic dance pop of Jackpot, and it’s their best Japanese release yet.
From the outset, Jackpot establishes a driving electronic beat, intermixed with some truly effective synth strings. This energy scarcely lets up through the entire running time, though the song does threaten to briefly transform into a less propulsive, dubsteppy jolt during the prechoruses. But as usual, it’s the chorus that counts. Jackpot‘s crashes forward, bludgeoning the listener with everything at once. It’s a forceful slam of pop prowess, accompanied by a melody that goes for the jugular. Drawing out the notes in dramatic fashion, the chorus truly soars. After the first time through, I wasn’t sure if it was catchy or unique enough, but repeated listens have proven it to be a total winner.
In a genre that’s been strongly influenced by the minimalist beats of trap music over the past few years, it’s always a thrill when a song like this bursts onto the scene with an unbridled will to maintain its high energy over the course of its entire running time. But that’s not to say that Jackpot is missing the peaks and valleys necessary to give it a dynamic feel. The extended middle eight is a testament to the song’s flawless production. I love how the central beat lays bare for a moment during the climactic rap verse, unadorned from the production touches that drive the bulk of the song. This sets the stage for the track’s best trick — that moment when the final chorus breaks the silence, blowing in like a hurricane at full force.