K-pop has a long history of pushing into the Japanese market, and often there were concessions made when it came to sound and image. But with the rise of groups like JO1 and NiziU, the two industries have entered a new form of symbiosis. For all intents and purposes, these are J-pop groups produced as if they were K-pop groups. Both are steered by Korean forces, though they work with enough domestic talent to set them apart.
As JYP Entertainment’s latest entry into the J-pop market, it’s amazing how quickly NiziU have subsumed the bright, cutesy sound that Twice built their Japanese career on. It’s a seamless regeneration. One group moves on to new concepts as the other takes their place. I eagerly await the day that NiziU delivers their Breakthrough or Fancy. In the meantime, this style of high energy, high-pitched pop just isn’t for me.
Take A Picture is good, fizzy fun, with a chant-along hook that will instantly worm its way into memory. It’s energetic in the way a successful pep rally is, and just as exhausting. Ebullience and euphoria are two qualities pop music draws upon so well, but a song like this doesn’t have faith in its own merits. Nearly every line ends in an upward tug, as the girls opt for a chirpy delivery that wears thin very, very quickly. I’ve never been a fan of these vocal affectations. They make a song feel more like fan service than… well… a song. That’s a shame, because Take A Picture boasts a few catchy hooks that could have been developed into something more unique and satisfying.