Posted in Commentary, Music

The five yous I’ll Be There for

How many times have you repeated I’ll be there performance from Wednesday’s FNS? I myself have lost count. Although i’m the type who loops songs i like for hours or days on end until i get sick of ’em, in case of Arashi’s new music release, i do so to familiarize myself with the tune, and to see if i’ll end up liking it. Oftentimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

As for the upcoming single, it took only an hour or two to grow on me. Pretty fast, i think, given how previous singles could take weeks to reach my ‘like’ status. Usually, we get the first taste of the track through the members’ radio shows, so watching them perform the song live first and foremost probably helps a lot. That’s the stage that seals the deal for me the most anyway.

My first impression was that it sounded like the group’s B-side or album track material. An uptempo tune backed by dynamic instrumentation led by rich brass section. The dramatic, haunting piano intro gives the feel of a dark mysterious piece (which would suit the mystery undercurrent of Aiba’s upcoming Getsu9 detective drama, Kizoku Tantei), which lasts for 10 seconds before it screeches in and out and exuberant circus-y brass line barges in and kick-starts the swing jazz mood, followed by the hook:

“I’ll be with you, you, you, you, with you, you!
I’ll be there for you, you, you, you, for you!”

The instruments quiet down during the verse to give room for the solo lines to shine. Each member’s vocal is on point, though Jun’s is again overshadowed as he duets his part with Aiba while taking the lower notes. The tempo slows down for the pre-chorus and bridge, but everything is back on track during the 4-part chorus.

They sang one-half version of the song, so it isn’t all-encompassing yet, but i love the neat arrangement. The transitions from part to part, from quieter to boisterous moment and vice versa, are super seamless. Nothing sounds out of place. If anything, i feel like the chorus lacks the extra oomph to make it the highlight — the tempo, pitch, and energy aren’t recognizably higher than the rest. Cuz in the end, what stands out the most is the earworm hook (with five yous at that).


[I totally saw you checking where your hand was going, Sho-chan 😂]

I therefore wasn’t sure how much i’d like it as a single. It may be Arashi’s first single in the jazz territory, but it also runs a bit flat. It is the choreo, however, that makes me keep hitting the replay button. There are many interesting dance points to be enjoyed over and over again:

  • First off, the air-guitar-turned-finger-snap moves on the intro. After the mighty-cool opening stance, i find these hand motions utterly adorable.
  • Second, the two-finger sign during the hook, which is very much taken straight from Fleming’s right-hand rule. Gosh, i thought i’d never see that again after high school.
  • Third, the fingers-sliding-into-inner-breast-pocket gesture right on Nino’s “secret sign” solo, which is oh so slinky.
  • Fourth, the casual hand-in-pants-pocket sway throughout the first chorus. That seems an overly simple dance for the song’s main part, but then they throw in a body pump replete with a pelvic thrust. Out of nowhere.

The steps are light and easy on the first half, because they started to get in the groove during the foot-tapping dance break and we got a different sequence for the closing refrain. Still beat by beat, yet with bigger movements and more variation. Most notably, the hip shakes. And lastly, the head-holding ending pose which suggests they should probably wear fedoras for the performance, like what they did for P.A.R.A.D.O.X. They should have.

All in all, i think the choreo is just right. I’d probably expect more had i sampled the song by itself before watching the live rendition, but since i was drawn to the moves even before the song, everything ended up looking balanced. The man-boys looked snazzy in grey tuxs; the dos were on fleek. (Good job, stylist-sans!) I also loved the camera work and the lighting, especially the flashing motions. Totally made me wish it were the full song.

Production-wise, the lively music is a mixture of Bang bang, Jun’s Dance in the dark, and Starlight kiss. So, while not entirely fresh (some of the steps and beats are recycled), I’ll be there delivers mature sound with playful undertone amidst the solid vocals, which i like. There is still a month to go till the record’s official release, and though i still look forward to the final product (jacket cover, full version, accompanying PV+Making of), at least i’m not waiting as impatiently anymore 🙂


[Which finger were you flashing, though, dear Aiba-chan? 😏]

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13 thoughts on “The five yous I’ll Be There for

      1. I guess in my case it’s because there’s never been just one particular artist/group I fancy more than all the others I listen to. I’ve never been a ‘FAN’ – with capitals. It really depends how much I like the songs themselves. Sometimes I truly love what one artist/group puts out but then they may release an album/songs I don’t really care for and I put them ‘on hold’ for a while. And so it goes. 🙂

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      2. Oh, i’m under the impression that you’re into a K-pop group or two? (based on your occasional K-pop posts, at least)

        I know what you mean. I’ve been a casual fan to a lot of artists, wherein i don’t go deeper than checking out their music releases (albums, music videos, live performances) for the most part. When i like it, good; when i don’t, well then i’ll leave it at that and wait for the next one. I’m not that invested, per se.

        But yeah, this particular group is the only one i’m following quite religiously (even when they have no public SNS and their agency is really strict about a lot of things), and whose music releases never fail to please me since i discovered them, hence this post 🙂

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      3. I’d say I’m into a kpop group or twenty, LOL! I have a longish list of favorites, some of which I like more than the others. Then there are all these ‘casual’ likes of a song or two. 😀 Looking back, I probably make posts when I REALLY like a song or an artis or just feel like blathering about a group. If I can be bothered, which isn’t often, ha.

        I tried being a ‘proper’ fan a fiew times but found it far too exhausting and time consuming.

        Supporting artists from that particular agency must be somewhat frustrating at times, I presume. Especially if you are an international fan.

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      4. Wow, 20 is a lot of favorites! So which ones are your top picks?

        I also only blog about songs i really love or have a lot to say about. But oftentimes i just enjoy it as it is. Blogging about music isn’t easy imo.

        True. Being a fan requires time, commitment, and money (ha) that’s why i can’t see myself being in another fandom. One is more than enough. Not gonna lie, the strict rules are daunting, and we need to work around the system to enjoy their works and stuff, but when the extra efforts are worth it, we can’t really complain? 🙊😂

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  1. Heh, not sure 20 is exactly an accurate number but yes, there are quite many of ’em.^^

    Top pics? Hmmm…. let’s see.
    The first ever kpop group I came across – Shinhwa. Could have done lot worse than start out with The Legends . 🙂 Guess in their case the name (Shinhwa means legend/myth) was an omen as they are the only 1st gen idol group still together with no member changes and active, save for that 4 year hiatus due to military service. Next year will be their 20th anniversary. I’m looking forward to all the celebratory activities, even though I’m not a proper “Shinhwa Changjo”. I love the fandom name = “to create a myth”.

    C.N Blue – I’ve followed their carreer since the very beginning, before their official Korean debut. One of the fiew bands in kpop. The guys like to experiment with different sounds and genres and I haven’t really liked some of their latest albums but the current comeback one ain’t bad at all.

    Infinite – These boys are yet to release an album I don’t like. One of the idol groups that has a very distinct ‘sound’. No matter what sort of music they do, you can always tell it’s an ‘Infinite song’. They’ve grown and improved a lot over the years, especially as singers. They’ve always been very good dancers though.

    B.A.P – Love ’em. 😀 Another goup I’ve been with since the beginning and boy, have they improved vocally. I mean Dae and Young Jae were always great but Uppie and Himchan are now pretty stable as well. The rappers don’t really sing much but those two ain’t that bad either. These guys are also a living prof of the darker side of kpop and I’m both impressed and glad how they were able to survive as a group with all the s*it they had to wade through.

    Ha Dong Qn – Wonderful singer known for his distinctive husky voice and power ballads. He’s SO cute! There’s a whole post on him @ my blog, LOL! There’s a collab with the vocal duo GB9 released just fiew weeks ago; https://youtu.be/uiEKtyNN9RY – which I missed, ha. Bad fan. I like watching his interviews, even with my rudimentary Korean. He always has something interesting to say and he’s fun. *g*

    VROMACE – These boys are really talented, a great vocal group. Their voices… gosh, I get goosebumps when I listen to them. I think I got all teary when I heard this the first time https://youtu.be/W5LB1LpUZQc Good vocalists are my kryptonite, ha.

    There are a fiew more but I better stop here or I’ll go on and on. 😀

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    1. Oh wow, didn’t expect to read such an elaborate response from you! You could definitely write more music posts if you’re willing to! 😉

      I’m not familiar with every name on your list, but seems like heavier/darker/rockish sounds are your style? (But then the last two are quite the opposite? haha)
      Shinhwa- Perfect Man could be the only song i know from the group (due to My MVP Valentine) 😅 Whoa, that’s a good name! I mean, some of the other fandom names can be pretty ‘interesting’.
      Infinite- i admittedly watched some of their performances for the dances alone.
      Can’t comment on either CNBLUE or B.A.P since i don’t listen to their music that much 😁

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      1. I guess I do prefer the bit ‘stronger’ styles but there are also many good pure pop songs that I’ve liked over the years. Like… say, B.A.P’s Feel So Good… which I LOVE! It literally makes me feel good. 🙂

        Having been active so long Shinhwa has a rather extensive discography with various styles. They were so ‘bouncy’ when they started out, like a litter of puppies, LOL! Some of their past choreos are really difficult though they look simple and easy. The guys can’t do them properly any more (‘old age’ ^^ and injuries) so they’ve been simplified for current use. Perfect Man is one of my faves within older Shinhwa hits, among with T.O.P, Once in a Lifetime (the lyrics always make me teary), Wild Eyes to name a fiew. One of the things I like about Shinhwa, apart from the music, is that they are so comfortable in their skins that they are not the least bit ashamed of making fun of themselves. Pure variety gold, these guys.

        Apart from the rockish and dance tunes, I’ve always been very partial to ballads. I love to sing them too.

        I like talking about music but don’t get many opportunities to do it these days, so as you see, I tend to get a bit verbiose when I do. 😀

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      2. Guess what, your description about Shinhwa (including what you love about them) matches my sentiment on Arashi closely! They will turn 20 in two years and remain immensely popular both as a group and individuals.

        It’s nice to talk about something else besides dramas once in a while. And it’s not as if my posts are short either 😉

        Well, who doesn’t love good feel-good (pop) songs or ballads?

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  2. The thought did occur to me too… about the silmilarites. Based on the fiew things I do know about Arashi. 🙂 Shinhwa being Shinhwa even those who are not fans tend to have a soft spot for the guys.

    It’s funny how hilariously random they are outside of the stage and all business when they perform. If you find yourself with time and nothing else to do, watch their stint @ Weekly Idol during the TOUCH promotion. LOOOL forever! The 2nd hand embarrassement… You’ll get to see e.g Eric the Blackhole in all his glory. Leader is famous for forgetting the choreos for their dances, he even manages to get Touch wrong. 😀 English subbed, part 1 https://youtu.be/hYEXjXJzIio / part 2 https://youtu.be/2Z9Oyj81ui0

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    1. Oh, didn’t know you know a bit about Arashi too! Hmm, i suppose groups with those qualities (e.g. great vocal chops/dance prowess, consistently good music, fun dynamics, affable personas, onstage-offstage gap) are universally liked ^^

      Ah, i love Weekly Idol! Will definitely give those episodes a go!

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      1. Over the years I’ve learned bits and pieces about some of the more senior jpop groups like Arashi, SMAP, Tokio, V6… 🙂 I know considerably more about the various LDH groups though. I quite like EXILE and many of their songs. I’ve also got a soft spot for The Second. *g*

        Yes, I believe you are right about the qualities that make groups, individual artist too, universally liked. A certain kind of humility is a factor too, I think.

        Oh, and I came across this the other day. https://youtu.be/gw6WIU5AF7k It’s hilarious… The evolution of a kpop idol group in 10+ minutes by BgA (Boys Generally Asian). Nope, not a real group. It’s a spoof by couple of popular YouTubers and I think one of the guys is an actor. 😀 The song is actually quite catchy and sounds better than many actual kpop songs. They did another one about a year ago (the birth of a kpop idol group).

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