Review

Song Review: Snow Man – Hello Hello

Snow Man - Hello HelloCompared to last year, I’ve been kind of underwhelmed by 2021’s releases from Johnny’s Entertainment so far. One bright spot has been Snow Man, who are quickly becoming one of my favorite acts in the agency. That has more to do with their rag-tag, self-effacing variety appearances than their music, but January’s Grandeur has proven to be a huge grower and one of my top J-pop singles of the year so far.

While that song offers a pummeling dance pop sound, new single Hello Hello is far sweeter. In fact, the track could easily be described as “saccharine,” which carries both positive and negative connotations. In this case, I think the sweetness is an asset. Hello Hello finds a series of fantastic pop melodies, tying them together with a strings-assisted instrumental that’s light and buoyant without going over the top.

I love the melody in Hello’s verses. The opening verse unfolds very nicely, with an understated vocal weaving its way through the contours of those strings. Its sense of rhythm is sprightly and optimistic. Then, the song brings in guitar for a more bombastic bridge. This makes for a great contrast, and really gets Hello going. The catchy chorus may prove more polarizing, as its hyper-melodic frame conforms to some of J-pop’s cutesier tendencies. But again, I think the track does a wonderful job harnessing this energy without tipping into a cloying place. It helps that its series of refrains feels so robust and well-structured. With that said, those looking for a more high octane dance track should check out the propulsive b-side YumYumYum (Spicy Girl).

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

10 thoughts on “Song Review: Snow Man – Hello Hello

  1. I’ve generally avoided j-pop because 1) life is too short and 2) a lot of the songs I’ve liked (like this one!) aren’t on Apple Music, but as the k-music scene seems to have ground to a halt the last couple of weeks I decided to click on this and wow, there’s that fun kick of pop I was looking for! This would be an immediate playlist for me if it was on Apple Music, but I couldn’t find anything from them at all, alas.

    Side note, but it occurred to me that it seems likely the current kpop drought is related to agencies deciding to postpone comebacks due to the COVID19 numbers in Seoul – with the recent spate of positive tests I’m surprised the music shows are still airing. I could see some agencies looking at the trends a month ago and deciding not to risk it, either from a financial perspective if promotions gets cut short (i.e. Brave Girls) or the health of their artists.

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    • Yeah there’s seems to have been a lot of idols that have either gotten COVID or a staff member of theirs has leading to the group needing to quarantine for two weeks. I also saw somewhere that SK had three days with it’s highest number of cases recently. On top of that, all music shows are getting put on hold for the Olympics so it seems like the kpop industry is pretty much on hold till August

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      • Oh, I didn’t realize that about the Olympics, although I suppose it makes sense. I guess I could watch those instead!

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  2. Yeah there’s seems to have been a lot of idols that have either gotten COVID or a staff member of theirs has leading to the group needing to quarantine for two weeks. I also saw somewhere that SK had three days with it’s highest number of cases recently. On top of that, all music shows are getting put on hold for the Olympics so it seems like the kpop industry is pretty much on hold till August

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  3. This is also my favorite recent release from Johnny’s, but Kinki kids’ unpair is definitely very close up there too. I just wish the Snowman members were better live performers like Kinki.

    Sexy Zone’s summer hydrangea and Kisumai’s A10tion, on the other hand, are both not instant love for me, but surely growing on me slowly. I guess I was just not expecting a ballad release in summer for Sexy Zone; and for some reason, I don’t feel like A10tion is festive enough for Kisumai’s 10-year anniversary.

    Other releases like KATTUN’s we just go hard, V6’s magic carpet ride and HSJ’s negative fighter are just not my cup of tea.

    P.S. I can’t believe we are getting so close to seeing the last of V6 together.

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    • Yeah, other than SixTONES and Snow Man, so much JE material feels middle-of-the-road this year.

      Summer Hydrangea is fine, and I’m sure it will get better the more I hear it in the new drama (which is tons of fun, btw). But, it does end SZ’s recent run of flawless singles 😦

      I still consider Kisumai to by my favorite JE group, but that’s almost completely thanks to their pre-2020 output. I don’t know what’s happened these past two years, but it feels like they’re being saddled with super generic material. I was just re-listening to the I Scream album this week and marveling at how solid it was. When I saw the teaser for A10TION, I was praying it would be another Yes! I Scream. But, it’s a little undercooked. I’m still excited to have all the mvs in hd quality, though!!

      But more on-topic… will we ever get a Snow Man album? I’m sick of all these 4-track singles!

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      • I guess singles are faster to put out, so it translates to more sales and money for the company. I personally don’t listen to full albums anyway, so I don’t mind single releases.

        On Kisumai, I think that they’re settling into this new chapter in their career where they’re looking for a new sound and image that project them as more mature and softer (less edgy) adults.

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  4. Johnny’s songs this year really have lacked longevity. Big Bang Sweet has just gotten worse, Negative Fighter has been all but forgotten, Boku Ga Boku Janai is still good, but I have not played it a lot, while Grandeur’s over-the-top arrangement makes it hard to listen to without getting a headache. This song is fine, but not really for me, Spicy Girl is decent at least.

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