Review

Song Review: Arashi – In The Summer

Entering their final year before indefinite hiatus, Japan’s biggest male idol group set global outreach as one of their goals. This has resulted in English-language re-recordings of their biggest hits, a much greater internet presence, and even a music video or two being available on youtube. Of course, a little thing called “global pandemic” threw a huge wrench in their plans, and it remains to be seen how the ending of this chapter in Arashi history plays out. I, for one, hope it will be stronger and more memorable than In The Summer.

When I consider Arashi, I hear the densely-packed, orchestral arrangements of their more recent material, or the youthful exuberance of their early-00’s work. I don’t imagine a reheated trop-bop with simplistic English lyrics, inert beat drop and embarrassing vocal effects. There’s something to be said for groups stretching their boundaries and trying something new, but most artists will always be at their best when embracing what makes them special and building upon that, rather than jumping on ill-fitting trends.

In fact, to call In The Summer ill-fitting would be putting it mildly. The chorused hook retains some of Arashi’s trademark energy, but even this feels like an atypically rote melody for a group of their stature. On the other hand, Summer’s verses are cringe-inducing. The autotuned effects are a particularly bad match for Arashi’s vocals – the charm of which usually lies in their expressiveness. Summer turns them into J-pop robots – and not in a good way (like 2014’s excellent, vocoder-heavy Asterisk). I guess I can hear what they were striving for, but In The Summer is the wrong approach on almost every level. Luckily, the guys are at a point in their careers where they have nothing to prove to anyone.

 Hooks 7
 Production 6
 Longevity 8
 Bias 6
 RATING 6.75

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(Alternate link if video is region-blocked)

5 thoughts on “Song Review: Arashi – In The Summer

  1. I’m kinda still in denial about Arashi’s impending hiatus. Just as I’ve been listening to kpop since H.O.T. time, I’ve also been listening to Johnny’s since Arashi just debuted. It was a totally different time when KinKi Kids ruled that music scene the way King&Prince do right now. I just feel like the generational change in Johnny’s is really sudden and massive at the moment with groups and people I’ve grown up with leaving the company left and right, or going on hiatus.

    As to this song itself, I agree that it’s not their best, so I hope that they’ll release something else stronger before the end of the year. With that said, I feel like Arashi as a group has improved their song quality tremendously ever since they blew up; their earlier releases were definitely mostly on the weaker side for a Johnny’s group.

    P.S. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you talk or write about KinKi Kids. Do you just not like them? I feel like they’re one of Johnny’s groups that people kinda just know no matter the generation; and they’re also the one that constantly releases hits. If I have to rank all of Johnny’s groups, I would probably rank Kinki as having the best songs, and the one with the most musical impact. From reading this blog, I feel like we have similar tastes in music, but I don’t see you talking about them much; that’s why I’m curious. But, I might also just be biased because KinKi Kids were totally my childhood idols (although I would argue that I listen to Kinki Kids more than I do H.O.T. even though they’re also my childhood idols).

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    • I actually love KinKi Kids! I’m not quite as familiar with their whole discography as other Johnny’s acts. I feel like I mostly know about their more recent stuff and their debut-era material, with a wide swath of unexplored space in the middle. I’ve been listening to a lot of their music recently, though, so don’t be surprised to see them pop up here eventually.

      As far as Arashi, I think that next week’s single “Kite” sounds very promising, so I’m not too worried about how much I dislike In The Summer.

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  2. Yo omg arashi. I remember listening to them a few years back before i got into kpop and i remember really loving breathless, daremo shiranai, face down and endless game. What’s your opinion on these songs?

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