Impressions: WING

Anthony and Dae give you the rundown on the latest offering from PASSPO.

 

Anthony:

PASSPO’s releases this year have been fantastic for me. None of the singles from the past year have disappointed me at all. I can honestly say that this year was a great step forward for PASSPO, musically. They’ve experimented with different genres of rock and have pulled it off well. I have to say that “WING” is a sign of even greater things to come…

The PV takes place in a church and has no ties to the flight theme that PASSPO is known for. The only real tie would be the title of the song. Even the outfits do not resemble flight attendants. PASSPO’s original concept is, “an idol group that we all develop” so maybe they’re taking that concept a little more seriously. I wasn’t into PASSPO for the flight attendant theme so if the group decides to move away from that image, I’m totally fine with it. The PV takes place in a dark church providing a spooky/dark feel to match the darker feel of the song. The concept of vampires is a tad bit predictable and boring for me. All of the members of the band in the background are vampires so you’d wonder why PASSPO members were so surprised when they were bit by one. The concept of vampires is not my kind of thing but I enjoyed the scenes where the members were biting each other and eventually turning all of them into vampires. The vampires they turned into are an archaic form of vampires complete with capes. This could come off corny but I don’t think the vampire section was long enough to overstay its cheesy welcome.

The choreography as always with PASSPO is fantastic. PASSPO have been the most consistent idol group in terms of quality of choreography this year. The choreography from start to finish is excellent in this PV.

Here comes the picky musician in me. The close-up shots of the drummer disturbs me to no end. The drummer would be hitting completely different part of the drumset and doesn’t match what is being hit in the audio track. This drummer is certainly not the first drummer to do this in music videos but I cringe every time I see it. I feel like the drummer didn’t take his time to truly learn the music so he can create the illusion of actually playing according to the audio track or it could have been the director not really worrying about this detail knowing I would be the only PASSPO fan in the world to notice it.

PASSPO’s sound has been changing with every single this year and I’m really glad to see them keep going in this fashion. I’m starting to wonder if they’re trying to explore all genres trying to see which genre works well (sells well). I think their poor sales aren’t a product of the music and more so because they don’t seem to get any promotion on television. I’m not exactly sure how to classify the genre of music they’re doing but it’s definitely a sub-genre of metal. So, the instrumentals are pretty straightforward, nothing outstanding and nothing terrible. It is executed well but nothing that you should write home about. The true appeal of the song is the chorus melody that slowly grows on you. At first listen, I wasn’t feeling this song but the song grew on me like mold on bread (not flattering?). The chorus is strong and powerful and the music does a pretty good job to enhance the powerful feel of the melody. What this song also brought about is different line distribution. Usually PASSPO singles have featured Okunaka Makoto and Mori Shiori singing the first verses and Negishi Ai supporting them. This time, Negishi Ai seems to get most of the solo lines while Mori Shiori and Okunaka Makoto have less lines than her. Okunaka Makoto does not seem to get a single solo line in this song. Even Makita Sako gets in on this solo action when she gets the second half of the first verse. Could this be a sign for the changing of the guard?

Overall, the PV is pretty good and has good replay value stemming from how good the members look, the choreography, and how good the song is. Who knows, you might see this song in my top 10 singles at the end of the year.

PV:

Song:

 

Dae:

PASSPO’s been on a rock binge since ‘Next Flight’ and has yet to look back. And while ‘Next Flight’ and ‘Natsuzora Hanabi’ are easy to talk about and praise, for some reason I’ve had the hardest time figuring out how to describe their recent contribution, ‘WING’. I’ve listened to it and watched the PV multiple times, and it has been on death-loop since I volunteered to write this review, yet I’m still hung up on how I really feel about ‘WING’ overall.

There are things I absolutely love about the song and there are things that actively keep me from wanting to revisit it. ‘WING’ is more ambitious than their past couple singles in some ways and more simple in others. I found the vocal melody to be a lot more straightforward this time around, but the chorus was powerful and catchy enough to make it a solid entry and a joy to listen to. The verses aren’t spectacular but they do their job of properly building up to the chorus.

Where the song dropped the ball for me was its instrumentals. For all of its overlaying instrumentals and creating a heavy sounding backing track, I felt that the instrumentals did little to build the relentless energy that I felt it needed. I thought the guitar in particular was way too mellow and lacking in strength. Other elements were able to elevate it closer to where it needed to be, with some subtle keyboard work in the background and sweeping violin synths during the build-up and the chorus, but with that guitar being in the forefront, it’s always there like a sore reminder.

Another disappointment was the really underdeveloped music bridge 3/4ths of the way through the song. I think the bridge is an often overlooked element but as a big fan of these sections, the way the bridge fell flat in ‘WING’ was saddening. The vocals are strong, with exceptional delivery in the chorus, capturing the full sound and power befitting of of the composition. I felt that some of the solo lines were kind of weak in delivery, but for the large part, it was done pretty well.

The PV was also received as a mixed bag. ‘WING’ was a power rock song with a serious tone, and the PV has everyone sporting appropriately stone-faced and serious looks in their choreography and dramatic line delivery, but I found myself laughing more often than getting swept up. Having watched it a few times I would say it’s largely due to the inclusion of vampires: I thought seeing PASSPO with fake vampire teeth was just comical, and once it goes down the path of members biting each others’ necks and close ups of wild-eyed members singing at the camera while being taken down, it began to look more like a comedy skit. What’s more, after the (uninspired) musical bridge, PASSPO performs as full blown Count Dracula vampires with tiny capes! Watching all this with the self-serious song blaring at you, I found myself in a pretty confusing position.

I didn’t care much for the set as a fairly empty and generic church alter, and aside from all the dead leaves littering the ground it was nowhere near as sinister-looking as I would have liked. There’s nothing that really stood out as jarring from a technical standpoint— maybe just a few too many fluctuating out-of-focus shots, but the edits and cuts were varied and kept the PV moving at a brisk pace. All the members look great, and the choreography is energetic.

After going back and revisiting ‘Next Flight’ and ‘Natsuzora’, there was a simplicity to them that I found myself missing with ‘WING’. With cleaner instrumentals and more creative vocals, they clung to the mind much better. ‘WING’ was initially received by me as sort of a muddy mess, and only after multiple listens did I finally get to the meat of the song and its better properties. It’s a song with impact, if only for the grand chorus, and in a larger perspective it’s a solid release— it just didn’t sit as well with me as I would have liked.

PV:

Song:

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New School Kaidan is a community-focused website for the Japanese idol industry international fan base. Between podcasts, broadcasts, events, and analytic articles, New School Kaidan aims to bring an understanding of idol culture to the masses.

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