Few tropes appear in J-pop more than the idea of high school as the backdrop for a song. This period of late adolescence manifests itself into all kinds of corners of Japanese culture writ large, and in music specifically, you can see it in idol groups sporting sailor-style uniforms to the annual deluge of “sakura songs,” geared towards graduating seniors. I’ll spare you sociological analysis, and rather focus on the latest number from GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE, “EXPerience Greatness.” From the motivational lyrics to the video itself, this one is all about inspiring the youth to keep on chasing those dreams, as farfetched as they may be. Watch below.
GENERATIONS (which, full disclosure, is managed by LDH, which is also OTAQUEST’s parent company) aren’t the first EXILE-related group to go back to school for a video, and they won’t be the last (most notably, E-Girls have explored this concept at least twice). Yet when it works, go for it. “EXPerience Greatness” aims to motivate people to follow their dreams, so a school setting works wonders in that regard (it’s also a bit of an ad for EXPG STUDIO BY LDH, a school for aspiring performers, so this has another layer going for it). The video features some nifty choreography, including quite a bit of moves involving hats.
Fitting for a number boasting such an upbeat message, the sound of “EXPerience Greatness” leans into a funky bounce topped off by horn blurts and string swoops that give the whole tune a generally shining feel, all about looking forward at what’s ahead regardless of how hard it gets. It’s pretty in line with the light-funk sound that has enjoyed some resurgence in global pop over the last few years and proves to be a good sonic backdrop for GENERATION’s positivity.