It’s a brave new world for fans of Johnny’s Entertainment. Once restricted solely to physical media, the agency has slowly dipped their feet into the digital market, making edited versions of music videos available on youtube and even supplying streaming platforms with the discography of the now-retired Arashi. The company recently announced that it would be cutting ties with any of its junior performers who didn’t have plans/desires for eventual debut after the age of 22. This makes me both worried and hopeful for the futures of longtime junior groups like Travis Japan, HiHi Jets and Naniwa Danshi.
Johnny’s Junior groups are kind of like K-pop trainees, except they usually have songs of their own and are already known to the public via variety shows and dramas. It’s basically a J-pop apprenticeship. Becoming a fan of any of these groups can be a frustrating proposition. They may have their own music (some of it really good!), but it’s never released commercially until after the group debuts. And if they don’t ever debut? Well… I guess you’re out of luck.
But, this may change with the advent of a new Johnny’s Junior youtube channel. I consider myself relatively schooled on the whole JE landscape, but even I had never heard of new junior group IMPACTors. Yet, they’ve released their own (full!) music video on youtube – an extreme rarity for Johnny’s acts.
Top Of The World is a very “me” song. I love when the agency dabbles in this propulsive, rock-influenced sound. There are better versions of this style to be found within the immense Johnny’s catalog, but Top Of The World is still a lot of fun. The blend of electric guitar, chorused vocals and symphonic flourishes hits all the right spots, like the soundtrack to some epic sci-fi battle scene. When it comes to the group itself, I’m not sure I hear anything that sets them apart from other Johnny’s acts, but that often comes with time. For now, this is a satisfying introduction to what will hopefully blossom into an exciting career.
Johnny’s releasing a full MV? And then what next, uploading the songs to Spotify!? The world’s gone mad, I tell you.
(Granted, it’s more in line with a K-pop performance version, but still…)
I had to go check if it was raining cupcakes already.
You know, when you say a song’s just your cup of tea I don’t know whether to run to hear it or run away in panic. But I’m glad I checked this one. That heavy guitar and shouty chorus are just *my* thing. For the most part, I have to rummage through the oldies to find similar songs in K-pop.
And… uh…got nothing useful to say anymore. Maybe I just wanted to throw a jab at Johnny’s Jimusho.
(Hm. The whole reason I prefer the Exile guys might be just a question of availability, eh? Avex having the decency to upload whole MVs and so on.)
If this was a K-pop song, I would have fallen in love with it and deem it as ,y contention for the Top K-pop Song of the year……but as a Jpop Song, it doesn’t really stand out in the industry (or, particularly Johnny’s immense label)… and that’s just proof that K-pop should start taking notes from Jpop. I really love this song! I’d rate it somewhere like 9.25!
Nick, One question, Who are Megatone, SCORE and Door?
This team has composed songs I like and songs I don’t, so it’s kind of a crapshoot.
For idol group title tracks:
Taemin – Criminal (!)
X1 – Flash
Block B – Yesterday
Recent b-sides have been more mixed:
Victon – Into The Mirror
IZ*ONE – O Sole Mio
JO1 – Go
TOO – Better
Rocket Punch – Girlfriend
GFriend – Eclipse
It sounds like we could really be in for anything.
hoping for something as galvanizing as Criminal!
I love it! Rock-influenced, propulsive beat? I am here! And yet, the ‘piano concerto’ part is probably my favourite thing in this song. I don’t know all that much about J-pop Or Johnny’s Entertainment but if they have more of this stuff, I’m already a fan.
Somehow, the vocals/vocal production sounds different from how it would in a typical Kpop song. Less.. polished, maybe? Or am I imagining things?