It’s hard to believe that Hey! Say! JUMP celebrated their tenth anniversary last year. After a decade in the industry, most pop acts begin to fade, moving on to less potent material that often feels like a retread of earlier sounds. But JUMP debuted incredibly young, with its oldest members now only in their late twenties. They’re still very much on top of their game in the J-pop landscape, and have developed an assured pop style over the past few years.
New single Cosmic Human takes that sound and ups the fun factor, presenting an impossibly chirpy mood-lifter that approaches saccharine without quite going over the line. Any song that features a heavy dose of “shooby dooby yeah” ad-libs is definitely not aiming for cool trendiness, but JUMP’s music has always embraced its own sense of cheesiness.
Despite its colorful title, Cosmic Human eschews pure novelty for one of the group’s most straightforward melodies. Its verses are sleek, quickly kicking into gear for a lively arrangement that feels uncluttered even as the melody shifts in several directions. Unlike most K-pop groups, Johnny’s Entertainment singles don’t require the injection of rap to function as a title track, which leaves room for a more robust, developed sense of melodic structure. This is on full display during Human’s effervescent chorus, which is so catchy that it comes across as a bit cloying on first listen. But as with so many of JUMP’s singles, its optimistic energy proves too addictive to resist in the long run, combining a rollicking pop beat with a wonderful brass section to blissful effect. It may not be trendy, but it’s a whole lot of fun.