With eighties synth sounds currently in vogue, Bullet Train feel like the perfect J-pop match for the sound. Given their exuberant – often goofy – dance style, they’re uniquely positioned to capitalize on the cheesier side of the era. And all it takes is one look at the delightful outfits in the music video for Asayake to bear this out. When it comes to retro, these guys aren’t messing around.
Asayake is a ton of fun, though it took me a few listens to really come around to its charms. The first time through, I longed for the entire track to sound like the brilliant splash of synth that forms its introduction. I’ve always loved this particular texture. It feels so bright and euphoric. Sadly, it becomes more of a background element as Asayake’s verses pull back. But, before you know it the song launches into a great hip-hop pre-chorus. I love the propulsion of this moment, buoyed by a tunnel of backing vocals.
Like many J-pop tracks, Asayake’s chorus is a bit wordy and overlong, but it builds to a great climax that embraces the showy energy of the production. And for those who have followed Bullet Train for some time, this refrain is quintessentially them – like a sprightlier version of 2016’s classic Yell. And if you give it time, you’ll be rewarded with a delicious climax where the final refrain bends upward in utter glee. This is the closest that Asayake gets to replicating the pure explosive joy of its first few moments, and the wait is worth it.