Last time I wrote about News, the year was 2018 and the group had four members. I’ve been an avid listener since then, especially fond of their incredible 2020 album Story. Since then, News has navigated a tricky transition into a trio, releasing several great songs within the past two years. But, I think new double a-side Loser/Sanjuushi is their strongest work in a while – a one-two punch that demonstrates their versatility and drive.
With double a-sides, I usually pick my favorite song to review. But, I can’t choose between these two so I’ve decided to write about both!
This larger-than-life, anthemic style feels so synonymous with News. Tegoshi’s vocals were such a strong part of the formula for so long. With him absent, I wondered if the group would be able to replicate the bigness of past singles like Blue. But, they definitely succeed. In just under three minutes (remarkably short for a Johnny’s single), the guys swerve from rock verses to a symphonic chorus that goes off with operatic fervor. I think the tempo shifts work really well in this song, especially how the percussion pulls back and rushes forward. Loser has a great sense of movement that results in multiple musical climaxes.
The group once had a single called Yonjuushi (The Four Musketeers). Now, we have Sanjuushi (The Three Musketeers). I’ll try not to read too much into this! The track is notable for reuniting the guys with GReeeeN – the composers of one of their most iconic tracks (2007’s Weeeek). Sanjuushi has a similarly bounding energy, bopping along a brass-heavy funk that keeps the momentum brisk and playful. It’s not as immediately impactful as Loser, but I see myself playing this track more often. The hooks are so fun (especially the “Hey!” in the bridge), and I love how the guys play with phrasing during the final chorus. Their performance adds so much character to an already effusive track.
(But as usual, I hate the short edit on the YouTube version. It really messes with the song’s structure…)