I wish I would’ve been more diligent about writing reviews for Kis-My-Ft2’s 2016-19 material, because most of my words since then have been critical and don’t capture my love for the group. After that incredible era, I feel like their music has been in a bit of a slump through no fault of their own. They’re just not getting the strongest material from the agency. I want nothing more than a Kisumai resurgence that brings renewed focus to their sound. They’re still my favorite Johnny’s group, and probably my favorite J-pop group in general.
New single Fear doesn’t quite live up to their best material, but its rock-infused style is more welcome than the generic fare they’ve been churning out of late. The disturbing music video is a huge shift in concept, complimenting a song that has darker, more mature undertones. This isn’t the “put on a sequined outfit and romp around” style often synonymous with Johnnys acts. Instead, the instrumental and performance are stark and affecting.
With that said, I would have switched up the vocal arrangement. Kitayama and Fujigaya are best suited toward this angsty style, and should have kicked off the track. As much as I adore Tamamori (he’s my favorite J-idol, after all!), his singing isn’t as emotive as his acting and his unadorned vocal makes for a jarring introduction. But, I guess that bareness resonates with the song.
Fear is buoyed by its incredible chorus. The guys sing in unison as the beat drops and orchestral elements join the guitar-driven production. This hook gets under your skin the more you hear it, and powers Fear toward a cathartic finale. It makes for a rousing centerpiece to Kis-My-Ft2’s strongest single since 2019’s Edge Of Days.