Bizarre. That’s one word that described my first impression of the title track. From (hearing) the song cut played at Kazoku Game’s ending to (watching) the PV’s teaser to the official release of the single and PV and live appearance, that impression remains the same. I opined that Calling/Breathless effuses drab, mysterious aura; if that’s the case, then Arashi brings ‘drab/mysterious’ to a deeper level of abstruseness with Endless Game.
Endless game is such a layered song it’s hard to classify it into a single category. There’s something incomprehensible about it that I can’t properly explain the feeling it gives me. The overall mood is dark and sullen, yet the musical accompaniment gives off a pixilated vibe. It’s mysterious for sure and is peculiarly eerie. Turned out Endless game is as bizarre and perplexing as the drama it’s theming for. (I’ll discuss Kazoku Game in a different post at a later time, if you’re interested.)
What I like from Arashi’s songs is their intriguing backup instuments. It’s one element that hooks the listeners to tune in for more. At times I find myself listening intently to the background sound, trying to discern the elements which then get me to appreciate a song more. Sure enough, Endless game’s intro has it too. I particularly love the trill notes — aren’t they exciting?
The arranger must have been in his heyday when working on this because every song part is padded with different arrangement, which effectually culminates toward each refrain. The staccato drumbeat inserted at pre-chorus prepares us for the powerful, energetic chorus where Arashi peppers their lines one after the other. Its looping backsound and autotuned fillers can be overwhelming though.
Next is Intergalactic, a celestial-themed track that is fully synthesized and heavily autotuned. So it’s the tune Arashi’s gonna produce when adopting Perfume’s electro pop concept. It sounds robotic and is the kind of song that would pass off as Jun’s solo. Besides sounding K-pop-ish, its interlude somehow resembles Tohoshinki’s Survivor’s dance break (I know Survivor is their Japanese single, but still).
Upon first spin, I was like “what is this?” though I have to admit that it’s a good dance number and could thus foresee fans looking forward to seeing the boys perform this live, replete with matching dance moves. As the title implies, Intergalactic brandishes sophisticated aerospace-related English words like Andromeda, galaxy, starship, cosmic, supernova, and even UFO. Talking ‘bout being overwhelmed, listening to this song over and over again throbs my head. *dizzy*
Monokuro (Monochrome) follows next, again with intriguing intro — a mix of retro and circus skit tinged with comedic feeling. Thumping drum beats dominate the pre-chorus and first-half of the chorus but are moderated in the chorus’ second-half. At first I thought it’s gonna be another complex, hard-to-digest song, but the treatment above makes the refrain light and almost-cheery.
After the heavy tracks above, Magic hour cuts in, sparing my sanity. After getting trapped in an endless, crazy game, brought into foreign, intergalactic space, and being toyed in a monochromatic show, thankfully there’s nothing queerly magical with Magic hour — Endless Game’s Limited Edition’s coupling track. Typical Arashi’s laid-back song, but is much appreciated at this hour. A fresh, positive number, good for sing-along — lo~ve the interlude. I really am a sucker for such music composition.
Like Kazoku Game, Endless Game is mentally challenging. It may look simple from the outside, but it’s much more intricate once you pass the threshold. I’m perplexed but have so much fun dissecting it. The PV catches the unintelligible and impenetrable undertone of Endless game well though I’d like to see another concept for Arashi PVs rather than those stock stand-and-sing in a made-up set plus super close-up individual shots. The live appearance, however, captures its darkness and complexity with those odd dance sets and slowmo movement — also the quaint opening and closing stance.
Endless game is quite a heavy single, imho, it takes time for me to warm up to it. I started to get used to it and its coupling songs after days of looping the single. And only after checking out the PV and live appearance did I grow to like it 😉