2018 has been a strong year for j-pop so far, both when it comes to native Japanese artists and k-pop acts expanding into this territory. Though boy group Da-iCE’s January single Tokyo Merry-Go-Round didn’t do much for me, they’ve come roaring back with the brilliant Fakeshow. This is easily in the running for their best single yet.
Fakeshow initially piques interest, but it takes a few listens to truly get under your skin. The first element most listeners will notice is the instrumental’s riveting, slinky strings ornamentation. The production bursts at the seams, constantly on the verge of growing too grandiose and adventurous for its own good. But, barely controlled chaos turns out to be quite brilliant in this case, as the instrumental pulses with a masterful energy. It’s so wonderful to hear strings being used this way — not as a means to add an inflated sense of sentimentality, but as a playful response to the performers themselves.
While Fakeshow’s boisterous production will capture you immediately, its melody feels more elusive. Da-iCE deliver a vampy, theatrical series of hooks that take full advantage of their powerful vocals, but this is a modulation-heavy track and threatens to overwhelm with tricks. This may be an issue in the short term, but it pays off big time with repeated listens. Fakeshow retains its killer pop energy, but also feels like a genuine experiment. And that — in this day and age — is truly thrilling.
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Holy crud this was SO good. Personally every aspect of this song captured me immediately, no repeat listens required. The MV fakeout in the middle was interesting too.
Thanks for featuring this! You’re starting to make me think about getting more into jpop, if what’s been coming out recently is anywhere near this good. It’s a bit overwhelming though, so maybe I’ll just continue to listen to your recs only and let you do the heavy lifting…er, listening. 😉
Glad to hear you liked it! I’m trying to make a concerted effort to feature more j-pop on the site this year. From what I can tell, it’s in a really creative place right now.
You’re right, though. It takes a lot more digging to find the good stuff. K-pop is just so accessible in comparison.
The cool thing about listening to both k-pop and j-pop is that I find the two industries complement each other in unexpected ways. Aspects of j-pop are actually helping me appreciate k-pop more, and vice versa.
wow, those strings are so deliciously sharp, thanks for posting it! it kinda reminds me of navillera (my favorite gfriend song), in how well they combined the feisty synths with some pretty string work
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I love telling everyone how the first part (maybe the whole mv?? its been a while) was pretty much shot in one clip, the behind the scenes was very chaotic but it really makes you appreciate the MV more ♡♡