Since their return in late 2016, 100% have reinvented themselves as a stately, vocally-driven group. They picked the perfect collaborators in Sweetune, who have been solely responsible for the production on their last two Korean mini albums. Their Japanese work has been more of a mixed bag, with both How To Cry and Warrior sticking a bit too close to the generic side of j-pop. But I guess the third time’s the charm, because Song For You is easily their best Japanese track yet.
The song opens with a sparkling synth riff, which sets a gentle, dream-like atmosphere that continues through the subdued verse. 100%’s vocals are always a pleasure to hear, and easily make up for an opening melody that doesn’t immediately capture. Luckily, Song For You makes a major rebound when it launches into its chorus. Set over a backdrop of synths that recall Seventeen’s Don’t Wanna Cry (as well as so many other EDM ballads over the past few years), the guys deliver an incredibly endearing hook that pulses with pop energy.
It’s so refreshing to hear this kind of production supporting an actual chorus, rather than the other way around. The added percussion gives the instrumental a perfect amount of heft, briefly transforming the song into a sophisticated mid-tempo dance track. There’s something very throwback about the restrained romanticism of Song For You‘s tone. I wish Japanese album credits weren’t so impossible to track down. I’d be very curious to know who produced this.
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