It’s only been three weeks since we last heard from Japan’s Hey! Say! JUMP, but the guys have made a speedy return with the release of their sixth full length album. Banger Night leads that album, and represents a dramatic shift in sound for the group. I’m a sucker for whenever Johnny’s Entertainment groups go edgy, and Night was composed by one of the agency’s most daring producers, the incredible Tommy Clint.
With all this in mind, the song took longer than expected to grow on me. On first listen, I wrote it off as a bit of a mess, and some of those chaotic elements still frustrate. The vocal arrangement during the pre-chorus, where each note is extended to form an overlapping series of seemingly dissonant tones, feels unnecessarily cluttered and unpolished. I would have preferred a more staccato approach that complimented the instrumental’s aggressive push.
However, this quibble falls to the wayside when stacked up against Banger Night’s addictive energy. The song’s verses pound with instrumental bombast, combining heavy synths with orchestral elements. Johnny’s groups aren’t really known for K-pop-style hype tracks, but the breakdown here feels like something YG Entertainment might have played around with back when high-energy club music was all the rage. Its chorus is nearly wordless, but there’s no denying the powerful appeal of that instrumental refrain. I like how it changes with each repetition, even if the lack of consistency is a little dizzying the first time through. Of all the groups in Johnny’s Entertainment, I wouldn’t have expected Hey! Say! JUMP to challenge this kind of material. But barring a few kinks in the chain, it’s a surprisingly solid fit.