Hey! Say! JUMP have been on an experimental kick since 2019, and I’ve enjoyed watching them grow into their more mature, adventurous style. Of course, “experimental” won’t be for everyone and some musical choices have been stronger than others. New single Gunjo Runaway (群青ランナウェイ) is definitely an odd one, filled to the brim with chaotic, unhinged energy.
As the theme for member Kei Inoo’s new mystery drama, the song’s creepy edge makes perfect sense. After a muted drumline, Runaway’s horror-show strings build toward a frantic beat that instantly gets your heart racing. This intro is nearly forty seconds long, and that ambitious length is well-earned. The instrumental lays the ground for an equally unsettled melody. The track unfolds like some demented carnival – at times intentionally dissonant as a variety of instrumental flourishes push in and out. (Is that accordion I hear in the background?) It’s all quite impressive, yet simultaneously unforgiving. As someone who prefers a clean, crisp sound, Gunjo Runaway’s busy production definitely takes some getting used to.
When we reach the chorus, Hey! Say! JUMP provide an impish performance – their voices layered into a freewheeling choir. It’s quite cinematic, and grows more addictive each time you hear it. But, Runaway saves its best tricks for last. A breathless instrumental forges a dynamic bridge, driven by immense percussion and laced with cathartic guitar. This culminates in a perfectly-placed key change that reignites the song’s energy as we head into its final minute. Manic guitar gives way to bright synth and — eventually — radio distortion. Whatever your reaction may be, it’s quite a ride!
just glad that johnny’s songs are a bit more accessible to us. i even had to download sexy zone’s run very quickly before susan wabbajack and her army took it down.
That impish sound is exactly why I love this song. It is messy, brash, and loud. At the same time, however, it maintains a strong melody, leading to it being one of the best Johnny’s dance tracks in a while.
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Are you watching the series? I’m pretty surprised by Inoo’s performance and growth in acting there; most probably because I never had high expectations even though Inoo is one of my favorite members in JUMP.
Oddly though, JUMP is one of the very few Johnny’s groups that I never really get into (them and SixTONES are probably the groups that I follow the least). Any suggestions on what to watch so that I can like them more? I’ve watched random doramas by the members, as well as variety, but none have elevated them or any of the individual member to love territory for me.
This song is definitely good though; somehow the chaos reminds me of early years Block-B. I miss them a lot~
I’m not watching the drama. Should I be? I’m not a huge fan of mysteries, but I like the cast.
HSJ aren’t at the top of my list either, but I went through a phase where I was binging episodes of their Itadaki High Jump series like crazy. I’d start there. The Haikaropa Dekamori episodes are particularly funny. Then they have these weirdly touching episodes where they teach young kids how to ride bikes or play sports by pretending to be a magical fairy (it sounds stranger than it is!).
You can’t go wrong with the series, and I love how sometimes they’ll just poke around random places in Japan and get a feel for the local culture. There’s also a special collaboration episode with KMF2 where the two groups compete in the Kisumai Busaiku format.
I’m also kinda watching the dorama because I like the cast, but I also really like mysteries. This one is more like Trick rather than classic murder mysteries. Did you watch that whole dorama franchise? I’d say it’s worth checking out if you’re not busy (or really like the genre), but I wouldn’t say it’s a must watch.
As to Itadaki High Jump – I’ve actually watched a lot of episodes; I really love the Haikaropa Dekamori episodes. I also liked the Kisumai Busaiku face-off (but a lot of episodes feel like Arashi’s old show – the one with Aiba doing all kinds of crazy experiments).
In my opinion, this is a 10. It is brash, exciting and unhinged that it creates this festive bubble that really sums up my mood about the song. Its intensity is lavish and it has all the unique elements that I love of music. Really very impressed by the amount of work this record has done.