Song Review: Arashi – Kite

Originally scheduled to coincide with Japan’s ill-fated hosting of the 2020 Summer Olympics, Kite (カイト) brings together J-pop’s biggest male idol group with current chart-topper Kenshi Yonezu, who composed the track. Though I doubt whether this single will be Arashi’s final song before hiatus, it certainly carries the necessary weight. Kite’s lyrics reflect upon how the seeds of a dream blossom across a person’s life — a universal message that could easily tie itself to a variety of pursuits, from Olympic athlete to idol performer.

More importantly, Kite thrives on an entirely-orchestral arrangement. Before you continue reading, go back and listen to the group’s In the Summer from last week. Compare its vocals with Kite’s, and you’ll likely question if these two performances came from the same group at all. That’s the importance of arrangement. It’s about knowing your artists’ strengths and tailoring music to those qualities. In the Summer’s feeble attempt at appealing to global ears proved that Arashi’s voices just aren’t meant for that style of material. On Kite, they’re lush and weighty, layered together to deliver a resonant performance that embraces its own theatricality.

This appeal is further heightened by an instrumental that allows for open space, while adding prominence to the song’s waltz-like chorus. The orchestral arrangement has a grand and sentimental feeling, yet never feels overdone. There are many segments that don’t feature percussion at all, allowing the group’s vocals to drive the rhythm. It’s quite hypnotic at times, with a simple, repeating melody at its core. Kite builds to a suitably momentous crescendo, firmly instilling that sense of hope it stakes its success on. I’m sure it will sound even better when we’re able to revel in the spirit of the Olympics once more.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

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12 thoughts on “Song Review: Arashi – Kite

  1. Kenshi Yonezu isn’t a name I’ve seen much on here! What do you think of his stuff? I have some friends who really like his music but I don’t have much experience with his stuff myself.


    • I’m not super familiar with his discography, but the new single’s pretty good and Lemon has practically become a modern J-pop classic. I’ll probably check out his album when it’s released next week.


      • I LOVE Kenshi! Peace Sign and Lemon are probably my two favourite songs of his while his collaboration with Daoko, Uchiage Hanabi also holds a special place in my heart (although the movie kinda sucked).

        Loving Kite too!


  2. I am really digging the orchestral arrangements. There is a little oboe that flutters through here and there, and a french horn closing a line. Its so kawaii. Lets give a shout out to the percussion crew -all those cute little elements – a xylo here, a glockenspeil there, timpani. SM started putting out orchestral versions on SM Station a couple weeks ago, and they are a great refreshing listen these days.

    The vocal arrangement. I think those are sung harmonies, but the engineer’s elbow is still leaning hard on the processing button like last week’s “In the Summer” song from last week so who can tell? Sound engineers, Knock it off! Move thy elbow off that button!


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