Naniwa Danshi are back with their second single, and it’s a huge switch-up from the cotton candy catchiness of Ubu Love. That song has enjoyed great longevity on my playlist. It delivers pretty much everything I want from its (admittedly niche) style of J-pop. But, things can’t always be sunshine and rainbows. The Answer acts as the OST for the latest incarnation of the long-running Kindaichi series – a detective mystery that requires an equally beguiling song.
The Answer conforms to a familiar “dark” sound for Johnny’s acts. It’s not the absolute best this style has to offer, nor do I think Naniwa Danshi are the Johnny’s act best-suited to pull it off. In fact, my only real qualms with the song come down to its line distribution, which could have better catered to the members’ strengths. But, this is a tried-and-true Johnny’s sound I absolutely love. There’s little The Answer could do to turn me off.
If you’ve been following my recent series chronicling Kis-My-Ft2’s discography, you’re probably tired of descriptors like “ornate” and “over-the-top.” But, these are two of my pop music vices and The Answer embraces both of them. Its strings swirl in constant frenzy, sweeping and diving and pulling the melody aloft. The beat is endlessly propulsive, even when the instrumental slows to focus on dramatic piano.
The arrangement features a few harsh turns, but they’re never needlessly jarring. Most importantly, the chorus is grand and multi-faceted, making room for a variety of melodic hooks. Naniwa Danshi are especially lucky to have vocalist Kazuya Ohashi among their ranks. His climactic power note is all kinds of epic and pushes The Answer toward its finale with flair. The whole thing is relentlessly cinematic, offering an immersive experience that leaves little on the table. That’s the Johnny’s way, after all!
*As usual, this YouTube edit omits the song’s second verse. But, it’s actually not a bad edit this time.