After years of releasing excellent material, The Rampage’s 2021 work swerved in directions that weren’t for me. In fact, they missed out entirely on my Top 50 J-pop countdown last month – a rare omission for one of my favorite groups. Leading up to their latest full-length album (basically a compilation of those 2021 singles), the guys have released its title track as a single. Ray Of Light doesn’t compete with the absolute best of The Rampage, but it feels like their music is finally back on track.
This is a weird little song. On the surface, it’s the latest attempt to capitalize on pop music’s obsession with spacey synth tones. But, it swerves in unexpected directions, resulting in a track that could stand to be a little more cohesive. Luckily, these individual pieces are all solid on their own.
Ray Of Light’s chorus opts for heavy vocal distortion, casting the main melody as an otherworldly, phantom-like hook over which the guys deliver melodic responses. It’s an off-beat approach, neither a drop-style structure nor fully-fleshed out refrain. But, it works very well. I’m less-enthused by the pre-chorus, which feels too minimalist compared to the rest of the track. But, the rap verses deliver the trademark Rampage energy I’ve been missing, and the spoken post-chorus hook scores surprising mileage given its simple repetition. Ray Of Light even finds room for a brief Michael Jackson inspired dance break just before its final chorus. There’s really something for everyone here, and I think it’s the strongest single they’ve released since 2020’s Invisible Love.