It’s a testament to how busy K-pop has been over the past few weeks that I’m just now getting around to writing about the new Kis-My-Ft2 single. After all, they’re my favorite J-pop idol group. Earlier in the year, I spent weeks covering every one of their singles on this blog. And just recently, they officially became my most-played artist according to iTunes, knocking Infinite off the top spot after a seven-year run. Needless to say, I’ve been eagerly awaiting new music. This has been the longest hiatus since their 2011 debut, and it’s been frustrating watching all their agency peers return multiple times while Kisumai were touring, touring… and touring some more.
Two As One acts as the theme to member Tamamori’s upcoming drama, and isn’t officially out until next month. But, Johnny’s has been kind and uploaded the full music video to the group’s newly-established YouTube channel. At first, I was disappointed to hear another ballad (thankfully an upbeat coupling song is on its way). Kisumai are one of the older acts in the agency’s roster, but I hate when age becomes synonymous with slower, sentimental material. Luckily, Kis-My-Ft2 know how to deliver a killer ballad, and Two As One has just enough drive to make it special.
Obvious bias aside, I’m a sucker for this style of mid-tempo ballad. It’s all about build and release, just like many of my favorite dance tracks. Two As One is incredibly straightforward – generic, even – but succeeds because of its small melodic nuances and smart arrangement: unison vocals during the verse, memorable, rhythmic phrasing in the chorus and that beautiful touch of falsetto in the bridge. It feels refined and effortless, and gains weight through the group’s experience. It’ll never be my favorite Kisumai track, but it’ll do nicely until they return with their next banger.