Review

Song Review: JO1 – Shine A Light

Less than a year after debut, Japan’s Produce 101-spawned JO1 is releasing their first full album. Of course, the Japanese market works differently than K-pop, usually cobbling together a run of already-released singles and b-sides into an album. But, this still seems like a quick accomplishment for the rookie group. After the generic Infinity, August’s Oh-Eh-Oh hinted at an edgier side to their discography. New single Shine A Light is anything but edgy. Still, it’s good, wholesome fun.

I usually don’t care for sappy mid-tempo tracks like this, but Shine A Light is a strong example of the format. Clearly designed with hand-swaying concertgoers in mind, the song feels ready for confetti and tears. Its release is well-timed to the upcoming holiday season, when sentiments are already high. Its melody is at once soothing and rousing, which might sound like an impossible contrast. But, the track succeeds at threading the needle without coming off as too treacly.

My favorite aspect of Shine A Light is its instrumental. Songs like these often take time to build to their explosive chorus, but Light’s production is full and resonant all the way through. Layers of synth create a brilliant atmosphere, giving the track a cosmic sound that feels more propulsive than your standard mid-tempo boy group release. The chorus is a little repetitive, but the instrumental helps give it enough intensity and drama to compensate. Towards its finale, Shine A Light builds to a stirring power note. But, I wish the track would have grown even bigger. If you’re going to peddle this kind of confetti-drop pop, you might as well go the whole way.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

11 thoughts on “Song Review: JO1 – Shine A Light

  1. Wow, that was really beautiful. I’m really impressed by their work, especially ‘Oh-Eh-Oh’ which may be my favourite song of the year alongside SF9’s Summer Breeze.

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  2. I was already impressed by Oh-Eh-Oh, but this is also really good. I love those songs that are both soothing and rousing. It gives a wonderful feeling.

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  3. The other group from Produce 101 Japan (basically the show’s equivalent to JBJ) also debuted and released their first video recently. I’d love to hear what you think about it!

    They’re really interesting to me because they’re COMPLETELY self produced (started their own company, set up their own indie label, picking their own songs & writing the lyrics, etc).

    I’ve really never seen an idol group with so much creative control. Like, they even designed their own website and t-shirts. There’s something kinda punk rock about what they’re doing and no one really knows how they’re paying for it.

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      • Yeah, the whole album came out yesterday and this honestly wouldn’t have been my pick for a title track haha. Ready to Burn and Beautiful Butterfly are standouts in my eyes (the former of which was apparently almost the title track).

        Overall I have to admit I preferred the album to JO1’s output, I’m hoping I’ll fall in love with a track on JO1’s album this month, their title tracks have been very hit or miss for me.

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    • I completely forgot about this group, thanks for the heads up! I actually really like this, more than any JO1 songs I’ve heard so far.

      Though honestly both groups are miles ahead of any the last Johnny’s music I heard (which isn’t totally fair since I don’t haven’t heard anything Johnny’s since like 2008/2009).

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      • if anything I would say Johnny’s music from around that era is actually better than it has been for awhile haha. Yeah I’ve never been able to get majorly into Johnny’s besides a few songs.

        The whole album is out on Spotify as of today so I’d definitely give it a listen if you liked this! Although most of the album is brighter/funner than this song.

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        • Yeah, in all my time listening to J-pop, I was only into Johnny’s from about 2005-2008. I think I’ll browse some of the reviews on this site to give some of the new stuff a try.

          I’ve listened to the album twice so far. I really like “Bloom” and the cheesy but endearing “Lazurite.”

          This is probably going to be a JBJ > Wanna One situation again for me, but I think both groups have a lot of potential, especially since they aren’t
          temporary /project groups.

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  4. if anything I would say Johnny’s music from around that era is actually better than it has been for awhile haha. Yeah I’ve never been able to get majorly into Johnny’s besides a few songs.

    The whole album is out on Spotify as of today so I’d definitely give it a listen if you liked this! Although most of the album is brighter/funner than this song.

    Like

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