While I may have not expected it at the time of their debut, Snow Man have quickly gone onto become one of my favourite new Johnny’s groups, leapfrogging over fellow peers SixTones on my bias list thanks to a very consistent (and very strong) stream of releases that vary from euphoric dance pop to gorgeous pop balladry and even brash electro swing. So far they’ve proven to be basically a jack of all trades and master of (almost) all type group. A rare quirk to have and one that extends to another discography highlight in the form of the hyper melodic Orange Kiss.
For those already well acquainted with the world of J-pop, Orange Kiss‘ general soundscape should be nothing new. Those swirling strings, the exuberant layered production, the sunny soundscape that hints at a slight sense of melancholy below it all, it’s all been done before. But there’s a reason why despite technically reaching a point of over saturation that this sound refuses to die. And that’s because it just works so damn well. It may just be my bias talking (it is) but songs like this are quintessential J-pop for me. The sweeping, emotive melodies that just flow over you and brisk you away into your own little fantasy land are contrasted so beautifully by the sugary and overtly optimistic production that it’s not hard to get lost in the midst of it all. The chorus is the main proponent of this, bursting forward with one of the tightest and most majestic centrepieces we’ve heard all year. Its a sprawling multi-part refrain that hits the listener with a number of equally potent hooks to craft a moment that really has heft.
On top of that, this is the strongest and most assured the boys have sounded since last years Secret Touch. And much like that song, despite forgoing the quirkiness that characterises the groups more iconic works, Orange Kiss works by providing a much more streamlined avenue for the groups vocalists to tread. Allowing much room for the groups colourful personalities to pop out whilst still making way for an easy listening experience. Orange Kiss may not win any awards for originality but sometimes its best to put your own unique spin on an already existing streamlined formula than to try multiple things at once and fail miserably trying. Something the K-pop industry could definitely take notes from.
Final Rating: 9.25 / 10
*The Dance Practice contains the full song*