There’s no group I’m more excited about at the moment than Snow Man. And given their immense popularity in Japan, I’m not alone. Their infectious music and comedic variety presence feel like antidotes to the self-serious approach bogging down many K-pop comebacks. They have an almost cartoon-like appeal (either an asset or drawback depending on your taste!). But like any Johnny’s group, the more effort you put into familiarizing yourself with the members and their activities, the more you’ll be rewarded.
Luckily, the agency is making this easier with new single Brother Beat (ブラザービート). In a rare move, the entire music video has been pre-released on YouTube. Yes! For once, I get to review a Johnny’s song before the official cd release! Brother Beat is a soundtrack for the group’s upcoming movie – an adaptation of the popular manga/anime Mr. Osomatsu. As expected from the tie-up, the song is fun and goofy and incredibly endearing. Watch enough Snow Man performances and K-pop might start to look a bit stiff and gloomy. I’ve become so accustomed to the faces and poses these guys will pull – the life and personality they’ll bring to choreography that places memorable point moves over rote perfection. Brother Beat is a great showcase for this charm.
Unlike past releases, Brother Beat’s verses forgo singing in favor of a rapped, spoken-word delivery. It’s almost too silly to work, but the sheer force of the members’ personalities carries the day. It helps that these verses are egged along by crunchy power pop guitar, making for a rollicking energy. This continues into the chorus, which sees the guys affecting an airier style. The hook is unflinching in its addictive approach – a swirling wisp of bubblegum candy floss. I could do without the cartoonish bugle horn (even I have my limits!), but it’s buried far enough in the mix not to completely upend momentum. Above all, Brother Beat is another supremely fun earworm that feels fresh and effortless. Snow Man’s winning streak continues.