Johnny’s Entertainment has been oddly quiet this spring, and its few releases have felt pretty underwhelming. I’m shocked that we haven’t yet gotten a full album announcement from Snow Man, and we’re just now learning what Kis-My-Ft2 will be up to for their big tenth anniversary. Thankfully, there are a couple of single releases to look forward to in May. Hey! Say! JUMP’s Negative Fighter (ネガティブファイター) arrives six months since their last release, turbo-charged with feel-good energy to compliment the sunny weather.
I’m of two minds about this song, which kind of sums up my feelings about JUMP’s music in general. Their tracks are often very strong, but the group occasionally veers into this hyper-affected, anime-esque delivery that can become grating. I guess you’ve just got to be in the right mood. But while I would prefer a vocal performance that involves less mugging, Negative Fighter’s brisk instrumental keeps the song aloft.
I love the song’s blend of breezy synths and hard-hitting brass loop. Negative Fighter is at its best when it lets its production take center stage, pounding with unexpected intensity. And, the group’s quirky vocals work in fits and starts. Arioka is especially well-suited to the track, impressing with a rhythmic delivery that works equally well on the opening verse and fun second-verse rap. I guess this spotlight makes sense, since Negative Fighter forms the soundtrack to his new drama. The song devolves into literal nonsense as we hit the bridge, but a climactic key change makes sure we end on a high. This isn’t the Hey! Say! JUMP style I tend to prefer, but Negative Fighter lives up to its title. It’s a lot of goofy fun.