J-pop’s enduring tie with anime has helped it retain a sense of bombast when other music markets have moved in more subdued directions. V6’s 50th (!) single is also the latest theme for long-running anime One Piece, and sounds as big and adventurous as that series. Add to that some classic, over-the-top Johnny’s Entertainment sparkle and you have an immensely fun track — as long as you’re willing to throw the concept of “guilty pleasure” out the door.
You’ll know if Super Powers is for you right from the first second. The song wastes no time launching into its mammoth everything-but-the-kitchen-sink chorus. “Anthem” was clearly the desired keyword when composing the track, as the instrumental swells with grandiose strings and robust, orchestral percussion. As with most Johnny’s singles, the chorus relies on heavy vocal layering to create a larger-than-life appeal. This works especially well with a song like this, which feels like it’s designed to pump up some sci-fi army right before they head into battle.
Super Powers’ resounding chorus is its strongest calling card, but the verses have a great drive to them as well. The nimble melody perfectly suits the strings-heavy instrumental, and takes just enough tempo shifts to offer brief breaks in the otherwise unrelenting energy. Even the late-song EDM breakdown fits surprisingly well with the elements around it. Johnny’s Entertainment has been relatively quiet this January, but Super Powers is a very strong start to their 2019.