Along with same-day-debuts SixTONES, Snow Man have become a quick success in Japan. I’m always eager to join the party, but I’m still searching for the track that would cement this group in my mind. They’re great performers, known more for their dance than their vocals, and are charming on variety as well. But although they’ve sold an incredible amount of singles in a short time, their music itself can feel pretty hit-or-miss.
New single Grandeur is a great example of this. It’s co-written by one of my favorite Johnny’s producers, Tommy Clint. His songs tend to go for big, edgy sounds and mammoth choruses, which is obviously right up my alley. And, Grandeur is pretty exciting. But, it’s also let down by an uneven vocal performance, which is an issue I’ve had with Snow Man since debut. Being a fan of Johnny’s Entertainment requires a certain level of open-mindedness when it comes to tone and technical prowess. This is an agency known for recruiting a few idols that are objectively tone deaf, after all. Usually, the songs and arrangements cover for this, and the quirkiness becomes its own kind of charm. But while a knockout vocal blend characterizes most Johnny’s tracks sung in unison, Snow Man is simply more about the dancing.
With this in mind, Grandeur will certainly get you dancing. As its title suggests, the song is bold and bombastic, stuffing as many melodic phrases into its structure as possible. Its chorus is ridiculously catchy, and the busy instrumental never forsakes its high-octane energy. Yet, there’s an awful lot of sing-shouting going on, which occasionally makes the guys feel more like affected anime characters than polished idol singers. But, that’s a stylistic choice and quite subjective. When it comes down to it, the song’s scrappy spirit is enough to compensate for most of my quibbles, even if I’d like to see Snow Man find the single that fully showcases their strengths.