Although I adore Jpop I’ve rarely been attracted towards the world of super large girl groups. There isn’t really a particular reason for this but I’ve always found the work of soloists and boy groups much more appealing to my ears. Though they each have some incredibly strong singles, groups like AKB48 and Nogizaka46 have never really connected with me as strongly as lets say a KAT-TUN or LiSA. Morning Musume fit into a similar boat where most of their singles just haven’t connected with me. But just like AKB48’s Sentimental Train and Nogizaka46’s Kaerimichiwa Toomawari Shitakunaru, Morning Musume have found that one knockout single to get me on the hype train. This comes in the form of Relationships. No way way, which is easily one of the best songs 2020 has to offer.
Released as part of a 3 song single album at the start of January, you might ask why I’m covering this song almost 6 months later. Well for some reason when I heard the track back in December, I brushed it off as just another j-pop girl group track. Oh how wrong I was. A few days ago the song popped up on Youtube autoplay and I was completely smitten. It was just a shot of pure joy from start to finish and I couldn’t get enough of it. Opening with a blast of funky percussion and rhythm guitar, Relationships launches into its opening refrain. Though it’s not seen as often, I have a soft spot for tracks that open with their chorus. It gets the track off to an exhilarating start and Relationships uses this technique perfectly. The entire first verse moves at breakneck speed, not letting up for a second. I love the instrumental and vocal arrangement here. It adds the necessary momentum required for such an upbeat track and in 2020’s murky musical landscape, this approach is just incredibly refreshing. The epic interjections of brass recall legendary tracks like Infinite’s The Chaser and the timeless arrangement is heavily indebted to some of the best tracks of the 80’s and 90’s.
But the tracks real calling card is that showstopper of a chorus, which swerves and pulses with incredible energy. It’s incredibly catchy whilst still feeling like the climactic centrepiece it should be. The vocal layering here is especially potent, transforming an already potent melody into a show stopping musical moment. It’s all incredibly groovy and is an excellent example of the true potential of upbeat pop music. It’s also a song that makes incredible use of its instrumental breakdowns, using them to build momentum and refuel itself instead of stalling its momentum. The turkey in the straw sampled dance break has got to be one of the most bizarre choices I’ve ever seen, yet it works perfectly. They say the best things come from the most unexpected places and Relationships. No way way is a testament to that. Few songs if any have been as exhilarating as this in 2020. Kpop could really take some notes from this.
Final Rating: 9.5 / 10