Sometimes a song’s title tells you all you need to know. How could something called “Taking Off!!” (with no less than two exclamation points) not have anthemic heft to it? J-pop act Solidemo have been on my radar for years, but I haven’t often connected with their music. They’re a straight-down-the-middle pop group, with a clean-cut image, clear vocals and fairly generic material. But every once and awhile those potential setbacks can be forged into strengths. Taking Off is just the type of song to do that.
Now, this track isn’t going to win any awards for originality, but sometimes all you need is a nice, sing-along hook designed with a stadium-sized audience in mind. Right from the start, Taking Off’s dramatic strings and pounding percussion let you know what you’re in for. The rousing chants that follow are cribbed from every other pop song of this style, but I think their canned cheesiness actually works in the track’s favor. This is mostly thanks to Taking Off’s melody, which forgoes posturing to offer hearty refrains and unapologetically earnest performances.
I love the stomping nature of Taking Off’s percussion. Without that backbone, the song would have played as more of a ballad. But, the constant beat drives it forward with a more energetic appeal. This is heightened by orchestral flourishes that grow more theatrical as the song goes on. As its title suggests, Taking Off is constantly speeding down the runway before pulling into the air. And as expected, the chorus swells with the kind of cathartic melody that makes this build-up worth it, especially as the percussion joins the fun during the standout climax.