Arashi are putting a bow on their twenty-one year recording career, with what is assumed to be their final studio album This Is Arashi. It’s an odd hodgepodge of songs, including some of the group’s recent English work and even a Christmas track. So rather than feel like a cohesive project, the album plays more like a gift set. Thankfully, it’s a great listen all the way through. I’m especially fond of the Backstreet Boys/Nsync pastiche Someday When The Second Hand Meets (いつか秒針のあう頃) and The Music Never Ends, which feels like a suitable swan song.
There are number of promotional tracks to choose from on this album, but I’d like to write about the Japanese-language Do You. To me, it feels like a better encapsulation of Arashi’s sound than the more generic Party Starters. I’m not going to pretend that it’s the best Arashi single I’ve ever heard. They have better songs within this same style. But, its brassy, bold nature is a lot of fun. The guys are clearly having fun, which is a great send-off to a career that’s been helped along by the strength of their personalities.
Do You’s verses careen forward with a playful energy, but the real party starts when the group performs in unison for the catchy chorus. Their vocal blend has always been among the most satisfying in Johnny’s Entertainment, and the arrangement gives Do You’s hook a smooth confidence as it bounds along the funky instrumental. If you want a more transcendent finale to Arashi’s discography, make sure to check out the gorgeous, anthemic “For Dream” version of their debut song ARASHI. But, there’s also something to be said about going out with a party.