I’m always in the mood for Johnny’s music, but I’ve been on a particular kick these past few months. This was further emboldened by the first annual Johnny’s Festival a couple weeks ago. The agency has been slow to announce new releases for 2022, which has me taking a deep dive into groups I’m less familiar with. I’ve followed the music of Johnny’s West since their debut, and they have a handful of songs I absolutely adore. But, they’ve never been one of my go-to acts and I’ve never written about them on this site.
New double a-side Reimei/Susumu Shikane is the first to get The Bias List treatment. I really enjoy both songs, and if you’re in the mood for gutsy, sing-along rock you should definitely check out the anthemic Susumu Shikane. But, I want to focus on the slower, more sentimental Reimei (Dawn) today. Over the years, I’ve developed a reputation for disliking ballads, which isn’t totally untrue. But, I really only dislike boring ballads. Just because a song is on the slower side doesn’t mean it can’t benefit from a dynamic arrangement and memorable melodies. Reimei thrives on both. This is how a ballad of this nature should be done.
The song moves through distinct segments, from the gentle, piano-led verse to a more swinging, rhythmic pre-chorus. Then, Reimei unveils its full potential as the chorus sweeps in with punchy, anthemic panache. I love how the rhythm changes here. It’s an unexpected twist that still fits perfectly with everything else around it. It’s also super catchy and drives the song’s emotion home. Like so many J-pop singles, Reimei is given ample time to breathe and grow. The shortened YouTube version doesn’t highlight this fact, but it’ll give you a taste for what you’re in for.