As Twice’s 2019 material matured, that sense of sophistication bled over to their Japanese discography as well. Both Breakthrough and Fake & True represented quantum leaps in quality when stacked against past J-pop releases. I had hope that this streak would continue, but new single Fanfare pulls them back a little.
This is despite the addition of a marching band instrumental, which is always a welcome feature for a pop song (just ask After School!). Fanfare opens with full bombast, delivering a robust instrumental that could have replicated the spectacle of a good year-end performance in the form of a pop song. Instead, Fanfare reverts to a more typical Japanese Twice track, which happens to feature a drumline and lots of brass in the background. This is a shame, as the song had the opportunity to become something really immense and unprecedented within their discography.
Ultimately, the track is let down by a melody that could best be described as “irritating.” J-pop occasionally collapses into this kind of frantic energy, and Fanfare often feels like a song being played two speeds too fast. Its chorus is a real ear-shredder, and quickly becomes more shouty than pleasant. I’m all for assaultive production, but there’s just too much going on here, and not enough nuance. By the time we reach the end, I feel like I’ve been pummeled into the pavement, holding up a white flag in the hopes that the girls will just take their marching band and go bother someone else.
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