In honor of Kis-My-Ft2’s complete videography being uploaded to YouTube (in edited form, of course…), I can’t resist writing about each single. To put this in context for Bias List readers, Kis-My-Ft2 (or Kisumai, as they’re often known) are my J-pop version of Infinite. That’s how much I love them and their discography.
Yet, I rarely write about them because finding online links to their music was so hard… until now!
Hug & Walk (2019)
For the promotional track of their eight album, Kisumai embrace upbeat EDM with the exuberant Hug & Walk. I’ll never not chuckle at that song title. Those are such random verbs to throw together. “Hug & Smile,” maybe. “Hug & Kiss” would have been too on the nose. But, “Hug & Walk”? So strange.
Of course, quirky lyrics are part of J-pop’s charm and certainly part of Kisumai’s style. Hug & Walk is a breath of fresh air — a shamelessly catchy dance track with the kind of effusive EDM drop that highlighted many party classics of the early 2010’s. It’s quite formulaic, but when the formula works this well why not indulge? The song’s melodies are very nice, from the gentle weave of the verses to the anthemic hook that precedes the big instrumental drop. I especially love how the instrumental pulls back and pushes in, giving a sense of rhythmic diversity that keeps the track from feeling too cut-and-paste. As always, Kisumai’s endearing personality pokes through.
The music video was filmed in Singapore, utilizing a diverse cast of background dancers. It’s bright and exciting and almost feels like a vacation advertisement. Johnny’s groups don’t often set their sights on international locales, so it’s always fun to see them cavorting around an unfamiliar setting. And, the YouTube-Powers-That-Be were kind enough to upload the full music video!
Though a step down from their previous three albums, Free Hugs is still packed with highlights. Personal favorites are Yeah E Yeah (SO catchy!), This Crazy Love, Bring It On and the ambitious, orchestral Rura Rura Ru. Kitayama’s Don’t Wanna Die solo track is great, too.