Song Review: King & Prince – Namae Oshiete

King & Prince - Namae OshieteOver the past few years, several Johnny’s groups have started recording more English-language material. This surprises me given the agency’s lack of access to English-speaking markets. Just like K-pop, I’m not sure I want these acts to be vying for international attention – especially if it means diluted the aspects that make them unique and exciting. But, I’m not quite sure that’s what’s going on here.

Despite its Japanese title, Namae Oshiete’s lyrics are 99% English. And, the song has some serious talent behind it. It was composed and produced by legendary American producer Babyface. I did a double take when I first saw this news. Babyface’s music conjures instant nostalgia, but his output has waned over the last decade or two. I certainly wouldn’t have expected him to collaborate with Johnny’s, though the match makes perfect sense when you consider the agency’s love for classic pop history.

Apart from its crisp harmonies, I don’t hear a ton of Babyface’s 90’s sound within Namae Oshiete. But, the song proves to be quite addictive. The lyrics are pretty awful, and they’re sung at such a slow pace during the verses that you can hear each excruciatingly cringy word with utter clarity. No native English speaker would say these things without wincing. But then that chorus rolls around and wraps the listener in a pop embrace. The tropical percussion sputters to life, the titular hook punches with layered finesse and the vocals flirt with falsetto. It’s incredibly cheesy, yet somehow Namae Oshiete gets better with each listen.

As usual, the youtube upload is a shortened version of the track. The full version adds a brief dance break and elaborates upon the last chorus for a very satisfying finale.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8


11 thoughts on “Song Review: King & Prince – Namae Oshiete

  1. The lyrics were pretty bad, but I have to be admit that I like hearing their tones in English. I feel many American singers tend to affect and stylize their voices heavily. I would like to hear more American singers perform like these guys. The chorus is straight Euphoria with a little candy 🍬 at the end. Honestly, it’s so satisfying how they close the melody


  2. I’ve heard of Babyface before but I can’t name a single song by him. I guess I got some research to do. 🤓


    • He’s great if you love 90’s r&b and/or new jack swing! (which I do 🙂 )

      Even if you haven’t heard a song by him directly, you’ve probably heard something he’s written. He worked with a lot of popular 90’s acts like Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton and Whitney Houston.

      I feel like this is one of his better-known solo singles:


        • Do you mean the difference between 90’s r&b and r&b of other eras?

          If so, it’s just the same as any other genre — different trends are popular during different times. The late 80’s/early 90’s new jack swing sound kind of smoothed out and brought influences from gangsta rap and neo-soul to create a sound that’s very emblematic of the mid-to-late 90’s.

          Babyface kind of bridged the gap, debuting as part of the new jack swing movement before moving into smoother, more subdued sounds as his career went on. He was (and still is) a hugely influential presence.

          Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a pretty good description. I’ve seen it described as “R&B with hip-hop beats” before, but I think that’s pretty vague. I tend to think of it as “percussion, percussion, percussion.” Like, percussion INSIDE percussion, if that makes sense. Lots of samples and drum machines with a strong funk influence.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. Hm….I don’t really like this song, but I guess you’re right in that the chorus saves the song from being just a languid mess. I much prefer magic touch though; their English is also better in magic touch!


    Liked by 1 person

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