Co-ed group AAA have been dominating Japanese charts for over a decade, but their upcoming album will be their first without member Chiaki Ito. After she left the group early last year to start a family, AAA was left with a truly unique configuration — five men and one woman. Despite this uncommon gender imbalance, the group made it work on singles No Way Back and Life. This laid the groundwork for Dejavu, which feels like their most significant comeback in awhile.
As AAA’s music has matured, their sound has taken on a more melodic, ballad-heavy direction. Dejavu maintains that tone, but frames it in bombastic production that builds to a surprisingly energetic chorus. The song’s moody verses and extended pre-chorus are intercut with aggressive stabs of synth and frantic drum fills, creating a tense atmosphere that ups the theatrics in all the right places. The group’s always-impressive vocals add to the drama, pushing and pulling along with the instrumental.
In contrast, Dejavu’s chorus pulses with a simple, straightforward pop melody, picking up the tempo for a breathless break from the slow-burn angst. It’s a melody in two parts — the first peppy and fast-moving, the second more stately and drawn-out. This gives the song a fleshed-out appeal, taking you on a full journey over the course of its five minutes. AAA’s best music has always felt like storytelling — especially their evocative ballads. It’s fantastic to hear them imbue that same strength into a standout dance track.