Within the universe of WACK idols, EMPiRE have seen the company’s biggest effort at creating a group geared for mainstream audiences. It isn’t like they’ve lacked in success with the greater J-pop crowd — see the big reach of BiSH — but EMPiRE came about after WACK partnered with biggie-sized entertainment company Avex. The six-member project imagined what a WACK outfit forged alongside a major label might look like, and so far the results have been intriguing. Their second official single (following a handful of longer releases) finds them stepping up even more. Listen to “Success Story” and check out the video below.
The big set piece of the “Success Story” video is the filming location. EMPiRE flew to Hungary and recorded this clip at the Festetics Palace, a building that took more than 100 years to construct and, unlike many structures in the area, came out of World War II unscathed. It’s just the right backdrop for the group to flex their growing status. The six performers dance in the main courtyard area while also hanging out in the baroque interior.
While the images imply real wealth, the actual music of “Success Story” is a little more hectic and a lot less relaxed than the luxurious setting leads on. The song speeds ahead, featuring electronic touches giving way to more hurried guitar playing in the verses, all while the members of EMPiRE take turns delivering frantic lines. The words focus more on the part leading up to success, the stretch where one actually has to push for the top. So it isn’t as simple as just showing off their spoils, but moving towards them. That all builds to a hook where they just let loose, with the music matching the energy. Don’t think of this as them reaching the throne, but rather part of their journey towards it.