For me, A.B.C-Z have always seemed to exist on the periphery of the Johnny’s Entertainment roster, which is pretty ridiculous considering how integral they’ve been to the agency’s various pursuits. From stage plays to Shounen Club, the members are certainly not unknown. But, a lack of English subtitling and a comparatively small fan base makes them a harder entry point for the international fan. Still, they’ve got their fair share of classic songs, and their new album Continue is quite strong.
The album finds the group taking on a series of edgier sounds, though the party-starting Game Over barely hints at that. Continuing from their raucous spring single Cheat Time, the track is a buoyant blast of funky pop music guaranteed to lift your spirits. As usual with Johnny’s music, it’s got a good old-fashioned “let’s put on a show!” energy, and is all the better for it. The beat is incredibly rhythmic, with synthesized elements complimented by a generous dose of rhythm guitar. The melody during the verses is just okay, but with songs like this it’s the chorus that really matters.
Fortunately, Game Over comes armed with a big, splashy hook that does not disappoint. Driven by slabs of exuberant brass, this two-part refrain moves from soaring to groovy with ease. I feel like I’ve heard this melody before, but that sense of familiarity actually enhances Game Over’s charm. The youtube video version of the track sadly omits a great second verse standout, where the guys offer a dose of old-school hip-hop over an incredibly funky instrumental. This freewheeling nature is the song’s greatest asset, and it’s a shame that most casual fans won’t have a chance to hear it unless they purchase the physical album.