Song Review: Official HIGE DANdism – Hello

With Laughter, Official HIGE DANdism (Official髭男dism) delivered my favorite J-pop single of last month. The song took full advantage of their epic, emotional sound, doling out its powerful climaxes with a deliberate slow burn. But, Higedan have another side to their music as well. They can rock out with the best of them, and Hello showcases that punchy energy.

Taken from the same EP as Laughter, Hello bounds out of the gate with an aggressive synth loop before the full weight of its instrumental crashes in. Fujihara’s go-for-broke “hello!” tells the listener all they need to know. This will be a straightforward, energetic rocker. And with a voice like his, we know we’re in good hands.

Melodically, Hello is pretty straightforward when it comes to Higedan songs. The verses propel over driving percussion and rhythm guitar before blooming into a richer pre-chorus. The song’s central hook is pure fists-in-the-air sing-along. The melodic structure speeds to a stream-of-consciousness mouthful, anchored by the rhythmic repetition of its titular greeting. It’s catchy from the very first listen, and its charms are further cemented by that incredible synth texture that forms the chorus’s backbone. Still, the repetitive structure misses an opportunity to go even bigger. I would have loved to hear a call-and-response element, which I think would have really pulled the listener in. Even so, this style of track offers a welcome palette cleanser on Higedan albums, heightening the energy in between the epic balladry that first launched them to superstardom.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8

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