With the Tokyo Olympics coming up this year, I expect the J-pop industry to unveil all sorts of material highlighting Japanese culture and cheering their athletes on. The anthemic sounds often produced by Johnny’s Entertainment seem tailor made for this venture, and Sexy Zone’s new album Pop x Step!? does a good job exploring various aspects of the J-pop sound.
With most K-pop acts currently mired in dark, murky sounds, a song like Far East Dance (極東DANCE) is a breath of fresh air. Befitting the Johnny’s style, it’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer. But, that’s its charm. The chorus is mammoth, the production is unrelentingly loud, and the performance is dripping with personality. Sexy Zone have one of the smaller configurations of any act in the agency, but their vocals are instantly recognizable. This time around, they give the track an addictive sneer that matches well with the instrumental.
I have always been a huge proponent of guitar in dance tracks, and Far East Dance’s propulsive electro-rock is pure catnip to my taste. I love the fuzzy, filthy nature of the guitar, which supplies the hard-hitting beat with a constant level of distortion. It’s a texture I haven’t heard for ages in pop music, and I’ve missed it dearly. Matching this aggressive instrumental is an equally bold melody, highlighted by an immense sing-along chorus that’s hugely enjoyable. I’m less sold on the second segment of each verse, which feels oddly repetitive and one-note. Luckily, this is immediately followed by a standout pre-chorus that draws the best from the guys’ voices. This is the kind of track that reminds me why I love J-pop so much. In this day and age, Korea could honestly learn a thing or two from just how much fun this group is having.
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So, first off, full disclosure. When I hear the name Sexy Zone, my mind thinks of Mike Myers as Austin Powers, oh yeah baby it’s the sexy zone. Or Mike Myers updating the Sprockets for k/j/cpop. Und now ve danse.
Once again a jpop song that is one minute too long versus western expectations. What, another full verse, what are we at oh dear its 4:00 and there is another verse? Also like your 2019 jpop best (whose name escapes me), they dont so much dance as sequentially pose. This is my kind of dance, this mom bod could do this dance. No wonder Japan is mesmerized by TVXQ, Max Changmin must hypnotize them with his actual movement.
The music itself is aiight, and highly entertaining. There are interesting flourishes off the bubbly synth in the chorus that suddenly twirls into an oriental scale which I find interesting and refreshing to hear.
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GET.. ..IN.. ..MAH.. ..BELLY!
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If I were to break down all of the elements: music, lyrics, choreography, styling, video production, then I’d have to say.. ..THE REMAINDER OF THIS COMMENT IS NOT AVAILABLE IN YOUR REGION.
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Once again I’ve got to thank you for reviewing songs like this that I never would’ve found on my own. This is the kind of sound I’m missing so much in kpop!
It doesn’t have the video… it’s a lyric distribution video, but it has the full song with proper audio quality unlike what you can ever find on bilibili (*sigh*). With the Olympics coming up, you’d think Japan would finally want to make their music a bit more accessible… I still remember moving to the US from Japan and the struggle to find music from home without paying a fortune for it.
Lol whoops… I forgot the link.
Thanks for that! It’s rare to find a lyric video for a Johnny’s act. I give it a day before it’s ripped off of youtube 😦
Lol I can’t say you are wrong there. It’s really astounding just how thorough they are. It makes me wonder just how many people they employ to scour the internet to take down their content. 🤔