Review

Song Review: Kis-My-Ft2 – A10TION

Kis-My-Ft2 - A10TIONKis-My-Ft2 are celebrating their tenth anniversary, and that means it’s time for the requisite greatest hits package. Yes, Japan still does “greatest hits” albums – and they actually sell well! Kis-My-Ft2 remain my favorite Johnny’s group, though that’s as much to do with their entertaining personalities and interplay as the actual music. Still, I put their 2016-18 run of material right up with the best of Johnny’s eras (KAT-TUN 2011-15, Sexy Zone 2018-21, etc). But as the group’s career has aged, it feels like the agency is confused about where to go with their discography.

Kis-My-Ft2 remain consistent performers, but their more recent releases have been overly sentimental (Luv Bias), faceless (Endless Summer) or just kind of forgettable (To Yours). That didn’t stop me from immediately pre-ordering this album, though. Having their complete videography in HD was too good to pass up!

A10TION acts as a rallying cry for this landmark moment, and is bolstered by the bombast of a big parade. The guys utilized a similar concept in 2016, when the euphoric Yes! I Scream merged the idea with kaleidoscopic production and fantastic melody. A10TION isn’t as grand, threatening to come across as a kiddie show soundtrack instead of the epic stage show Kis-My-Ft2 have delivered in the past. It’s an odd hodgepodge of ideas, from stomping, faux-gospel verses, to an overstuffed J-pop chorus, to what can best be described as a Johnny’s hootenanny. It doesn’t quite come together in the way I would have hoped, but it’s a lot of goofy fun. Even so, I hope the group’s next ten years see them push forward to recapture the niche that fits them best. At this rate, I’d be overjoyed with another Edge Of Days – let alone another Gravity!

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8

23 thoughts on “Song Review: Kis-My-Ft2 – A10TION

  1. I personally would actually buy a compilation album over typical albums. I listen to songs individually, and only when albums tell stories, such as in YooA’s Bon Voyage, do I care for the album as a whole. However, I don’t really want to buy Johnny’s album. I really cannot find many of their songs on Bilibili, but not too many. I just don’t want to fund the successors of men like Johhny Kitagawa. If I buy a Johnny’s album, I buy it second-hand, such as off Ebay.

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    • I buy 95% of my J&E albums/singles secondhand via a proxy service from sellers on Amazon because… well… it’s cheaper. But, lately I’ve been pre-ordering these greatest hits packages because I’m such an mv/pv collector and Johnny’s is finally releasing them on blu-ray.

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      • Why doesn’t kpop issue greatest hits or compilation albums? As a US listener, i know lots of people like these because it gives them a crash course. I could see boxed sets of kpop from all generations doing well, also. The frequent repackages to me are kind of for the birds.

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    • I am no Nick, but I think as a J-Pop listener, I have a few recommendations based on various genres.

      Ballad:

      X Japan – Endless Rain
      Official Hige Dandism – Laughter (technically rock-ballad)
      TVXQ – Love in the Ice
      Utada Hikaru – First Love
      TVXQ – Doushite

      Rock

      Miyavi – Horizon
      Miyavi – Bang
      X Japan – Art of Life
      X Japan – Born to be Free
      Official Hige Dandism – Pretender
      Spyair – Wadachi
      One Ok Rock – Clock Strikes
      Yoshiki – Red Swan
      Flow – Colors

      And much more. Seriously, J-Rock is dope.

      Pop

      (if not on YT or Spotify, available on Bilibili)

      Kat-Tun – Rescue (not an YouTube,a Soundcloud link from Nick): https://soundcloud.com/nohfap/rescue
      Kat-Tun – Dead or Alive
      Kis-My-Ft2 – Gravity
      Kis-My-Ft2 – Scream
      Kis-My-Ft2 – Hug and Walk
      NEWS – World Quest
      TVXQ – Break Out
      Sandaime J Soul Brothers – RYUSEI
      Access – Naked Desire
      Ayumi Hamasaki – Boys and Girls
      V6 – Take Me Higher
      TM Revolution – High Pressure
      Every Little Thing – Future World
      Pool Pit Boys – Sunshine
      Nanase Aikawa – Koigokoro (I am not kidding, one of the greatest songs of all time by a few miles, and easily my favorite J-Pop song)

      City Pop

      Junko Ohasi – I Love You So (Here the whole ‘Magical’ album, it truly live up to its title)
      Mariya Taekuchi – Plastic Love (Okay, you’ve probably heard this one, but it is great)
      ANRI – I Can’t Stop the Loneliness
      Miki Matsubara – Stay With Me

      Hope it helps and does not confuse you more lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Those are some great suggestions, 108ent!

        Sorry, I’ve been offline most of the day and only saw this now. I’d poke around in the blog’s “J-pop reviews” page and the “90’s J-pop Roadmap” feature and see what strikes you.

        Of course, you can’t go wrong with Sexy Zone’s Run… easily my favorite song of 2020 and one of my favorite J-pop songs ever.

        In fact if you haven’t already, you might check out my 2020 J-pop countdown in full. Lots of great treasures there 🙂

        The Top 50 J-Pop Songs of 2020: 50-31

        J-Pop Reviews

        The 90’s J-Pop Roadmap

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        • thx for all the recommendations. i’ve already listened to some of the songs you listed (run, gravity, plastic love (of course), stay with me, rescue, and boys & girls) but the other songs sound really good.

          i think my first experience with jpop is just dance wii, which is how i found out about kara (their japanese songs are in the game) kyary pamyu pamyu, morning musume and abk48. i then found perfume, akina nakamori, radwimps, etc. and thats what made me the weeb/kpop fan i am today.

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          • Just some more suggestions. Bluemonday’s below comment is another filled with gems. And, as Nick said, you can’t go wrong with Sexy Zone’s Run. I’d also quickly note two amazing albums I somehow forgot in my initial post.

            AAA – Buzz Communication
            Nissy – Hocus Pocus 2

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        • Seeing you link your J-POP Reviews is so nostalgic to me. I still remember when you reviewed FlowBack’s Heartbreaker, Satori Boys Club’s Help You, and Daichi Miura’s Be Myself. Just wanted to thank you for bringing these songs to my attention. They’re beautiful.

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  2. I felt underwhelmed the first time I heard it, but now that I’ve listened to it a few more times, I’m actually liking it more. The video and theme actually remind me of L.O.V.E. a lot. I like that it’s much more festive than their past few releases. But, ditto to wishing they’d get back to something like Gravity or Edge of Days.

    They seem to be going for a much more mature image at this point though; their variety personas are definitely getting much clearer and more solidified, and the guys seem to be much more comfortable with how they are marketed (both the center members and the back members). I’m happy enough if they continue as 7 for another 10-15 years, and really hope that the back 4 members can progressively get even more spotlight.

    P.S. I do think that Miyata is getting a lot of push lately (that or maybe I just pay more attention because he’s my favorite member! – with Tama and Gaya coming close behind). I don’t think I ever asked, but do you have a favorite member?

    -Rina

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    • Yeah, I probably just need some more time with it. I think my biggest stumbling block is the chorus. It just doesn’t seem to fit well with the rest of the song. But yay for something upbeat, at least!

      My favorite member is Tama. I find him one of the most fascinating idols to watch, actually. He’s like a walking contradiction, with so much natural charisma but such an unbothered air about him. I share his random sense of humor as well. But really, I can’t imagine the group without any of the members. They’re so funny together.

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  3. im just glad johnny’s songs are getting a bit more accessible now. back then, the only way you could hear them is by either buying the full album or pirating it online. i even had to download sexy zone’s run right away from youtube before it got susan wabbajacked.

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