News are in the midst of celebrating their fifteen-year anniversary, though the group currently looks quite different than it did when they debuted in 2003. But though the years have whittled them down to a four-piece, their lengthy career is quite admirable. Few pop groups last even half this long. And to help mark this milestone, they’ve released a driving power ballad in classic News style.
Ikiro (translating to “Live”), retraces a cathartic structure that’s been prevalent in the group’s material ever since they re-established themselves as a quartet. News has tackled this sound with more success in the past (2012’s Full Swing remains an emotionally charged high-water mark), but the approach continues to be a potent use of the group’s talents.
Ikiro opens with a swell of piano and strings, slowly building as anthemic percussion joins the fray. The pre-chorus brings the drama as the instrumental fills out in preparation for the resounding chorus. Predictably, Ikiro’s centerpiece finds the guys singing in unison, paired with a melody that feels as if it should be roared from the rooftops. And just as predictably, this bombastic arrangement is the aural equivalent of an emotional gut punch. On their own, the members of News have a gift for eliciting empathy. Together, they’re like a hurricane of sentiment, taking charge of even the most conventional songs. Ikiro doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but that probably wasn’t the point anyway. If anything, it’s a reminder of the breadth of incredible music they’ve delivered over the years.
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