One of J-pop’s most consistent groups has another strong one for the summertime
21 May 2018 - 2:25 PM  UPDATED 21 May 2018 - 2:25 PM

In the ever-changing J-pop landscape, Tokyo Girls’ Style has long been a consistent force. The four-member group debuted all the way back in 2010, and stood out from the more conventionally mid-tempo by embracing elements of funk, disco and synth-pop way before it became a trend in Japanese music at large.

In recent years, they’ve branched out into contemporary electronic styles, from future bass and something approaching “trop house.” New single “kiss agenai” finds them ahead once again. Watch the official video below.

The video itself is straightforward. The first half finds the group relaxing in what appears to be a very chill park during the day, with some of the shots made to look like footage you would find on a dusty VHS tape. The second half switches to a house at night, the group now in different clothes.

It’s serviceable — and Tokyo Girls’ Style choreography remains strong — but nothing that really stands out. Which has long been an issue with their videos, and probably one of the reasons they’ve been more consistent sluggers than breakout superstars in the Japanese pop market. The social media age demands attention-grabbing visuals to compliment music, and Tokyo Girls’ Style have always lacked the prior.

But dang, the actual music of “kiss agenai” is strong enough all its own. It’s a sonic culmination of sorts for Tokyo Girls’ Style. It merges modern electronic touches with the funk-pop they dabbled in earlier this decade to create a number that bobs and weaves towards a big hook. Some credit goes to dance-pop band Lucky Kilimanjaro, which arranged this early-summer bouncer.

Despite the sunny-afternoon vibe created by the initial thump and bell chimes lurking in the background, “kiss agenai” carries a lot of tension. It’s a bright song featuring lyrics about the desire to be with someone, the two never gelling together and this unease running through the whole number. And it boils over late after a sudden electronic surge and one final energetic passage.

It’s another pop highlight from a group that has been rolling them out consistently since 2010. It comes out in stores on June 20.


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