#1 Song Review: Week of 10/26 – 11/1 (Hey! Say! JUMP v. Hoshino Gen)

Hello, Arama! Japan readers and welcome to this week’s installment of #1 Song Review! Last week saw Hoshino Gen defeat Sexy Zone. Gen is back again this week, facing off against a newcomer. Find out what various staff members thought of the songs that topped the physical and digital charts this week and share your thoughts on them too!

Oricon #1: Hey! Say! JUMP – Fantastic Time (not released digitally)

Fantastic Time from やまめろ on Vimeo.

Ronald: Readers have been shocked my some of my previous reviews of Hey! Say! JUMP, so I hoped they’re not shocked now. This group is proving themselves to be one of the more tolerable Johnny’s groups. This song does remind me of last decade, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a polished electropop song. However, I’m not a fan of the autotune. I could’ve lived with a bit less of it. But I do think that this group is heading the the right direction generally from a musical standpoint. They’re making songs that are contemporary and not cheesy like some of their related groups, songs that I can see them being popular in the youth market with. 7/10

Polaris: I’m trying to be objective here, but it’ll be a bit difficult with my favorite JE group up for review this week. “Fantastic Time” is a great improvement, shifting from the cutesy look to more of a cool, mature image. The PV is a simple dance video, which already is a plus in my books. Every member gets screen time and the dance moves are slick! Moving on to the song itself, the single is a fast-tempo electronic pop number. It’s not overdone with just the right amount of auto-tune. Their vocals harmonize pretty well, adding variety from the various pairings. Plus the whispery raps up things a notch. The production is solid and polished, with great use of stereopanning. The controlled percussions and constantly changing electrobeats never overwhelm the song or overtake the vocals. A pretty solid single, if you ask me. 7/10

Sou: I’m quite enjoying “Fantastic Time”, especially its hook: it instantly cheers you up with those fast paced verses and then slows down to create some sort of “future disco” atmosphere they really achieve, and they skillfully avoid making it sound dated. Its concept is executed properly and the result is really enjoyable, even though none of them both is groundbreaking. The production value of the song is also very high, even though the first bridge seems sligthly questionable to me; and their vocals are smooth and, being honest, simply beautiful. In general, it’s a good track that showcases what they are able to deliver. 6.5/10


Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: Hoshino Gen – Koi (Oricon #22)

Ronald: Same review as before: Hoshino Gen has quickly risen to be one of the big names on the scene today. He’s is one of the two surviving breakout acts of 2015 along with back number (RIP Gesu no Kiwami Otome.), and it’s easily to see why. His song are just so bright and full of energy, but with a sound that is able to crossover to different audiences. “Koi” is a mix of old and new. It incorporates traditional Japanese music, jazz, and funk, but with a pop edge. I like the bridge on this song, and it’s pretty much the opposite of how I felt about the one in the Kanjani8 song. This one is organic and complex and it feels right. That being said, I would like to see Gen switch things up on his next single because I don’t want him to make a bunch of “SUN” clones. 7.5/10

Polaris: Same review as before: Powerhouse artist Hoshino Gen produces yet again another hit song. “Koi” is the perfect balance between quirky funk and upbeat pop. Right off the bat, the song hits off with alluring sounds of the erhu. It pops in and out of the backdrop, taking focus in the chorus and instrumental. Overall, the backtrack is easy on the ears. But I argue it’s so good, it distracts from the vocals. I find myself trying to pick out all the layers of frisky strings, playful piano, and groovy guitar riffs. “Koi” is the type of song that makes me want to get up and dance. Just like they did in “Nige Haji”! 7/10

Sou: “Koi” definitely got me with its captivating funky sound. The chorus is amusing and catchy and the instrumental perfectly mixes instruments from different worlds. The song finishes with a half minute long outro that maintains you in the mood even after the track ends, which definitely made the song even stronger as a whole. While I generally don’t follow Hoshino Gen, I see myself coming back to this song for some time. 7/10


Ronald’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: Hoshino Gen – Koi

2. Oricon #1: Hey! Say! JUMP – Fantastic Time


Polaris’ Rank:

1. Oricon #1: Hey! Say! JUMP – Fantastic Time

2. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: Hoshino Gen – Koi


Sou’s Rank:

1. Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: Hoshino Gen – Koi

2. Oricon #1: Hey! Say! JUMP – Fantastic Time


Which one do you like more?

Oricon #1: Hey! Say! JUMP – Fantastic Time
Recochoku #1 / iTunes #1: Hoshino Gen – Koi

Quotes to Know