Song Review: King & Prince – &LOVE

King & Prince’s singles run has pin-balled between extremes, from the fluffy cutesiness of songs like Cinderella Girl and Koi-Wazurai to the edgier Mazy Night and Naughty Girl. This is largely in response to the needs of the drama projects these songs are tied into, but this “grab bag” sense of concepts tends to be a facet of any group debuting under Johnny’s Entertainment – at least during their first few years. It often takes these acts awhile to settle on the sound that fits them best. Personally, I’d argue in support of the sleek Mazy Night style for King & Prince, though that’s not what they made their name on.

New single &LOVE heralds the release of the guys’ second full-length album, and sees them tackling a classic pop sound. It definitely belongs to the lighter side of their discography, and feels like the kind of frothy, slapdash material you’d see covered by overexcited Juniors on an episode of Shounen Club. It’s not particularly weighty or substantial, but if you’re willing to let your guard down and shield your critical eye, you’ll probably have a lot of fun with the track.

To me, &LOVE (like many Johnnys tracks), feels ripped from a movie-musical. There’s a major High School Musical energy about it, from the hand-claps to the bouncy, guitar-assisted beat and brass flourishes. It’s all a little too cheesy at times, but several listens in and that effusive chorus has wormed its way into my brain. I also appreciate the instrumental’s fleshed-out arrangement. Rather than rely on the kind of canned sounds you’d expect from some producer’s sample pack, &LOVE brings in lively boogie piano to give the track a welcome spontaneity. To some, the whole package will feel hopelessly dated. But, that sense of “out of time” nostalgia has always been a cornerstone of Johnny’s Entertainment’s charm.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

(full song link)


9 thoughts on “Song Review: King & Prince – &LOVE

  1. Spot on! That’s what I’ve been feeling too about K&P’s releases (and you’re right in that this is typical of early year J&A groups); and I also cast my vote for Mazy Night (or Naughty Girl) type of sounds for them to settle into. I always have a nostalgic soft spot for massive cheesy tracks like koi-wazurai or cinderella girl, but the K&P members individually and as a group are pretty talented performers. Ren, Jin and Kaito need to work a bit more on their vocals, but Sho and Kishi are pretty solid live singers; more importantly though, they are great dancers and can do synchronized choreography really well (the only other J&A group minus the brand new ones this good is probably V6). I just think that songs like Naughty Girl and Mazy Night showcase their strengths as performers much better. They all appear on varieties frequently with very interesting characters, so they don’t really need to appeal with fluffy songs to show their softer side. I think it’s just a well-known fact that K&P members have really cute, air-headed personalities.

    With that said, I think even amongst their more cutesy songs, this one is worse than cinderella girl and koi-wazurai.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.