Yesterday, the Japanese government announced that “Reiwa” would be the name of the new era starting on May 1 after a new emperor takes the throne. Hours after, long-running group/clown princes of J-pop Golden Bomber shared “Reiwa,” a new single celebrating the forthcoming generation. Think about whatever projects or chores you are slacking on, and now commence feeling worse knowing this quartet could rush this one out. Watch the video below.
Jokes aside, it’s pretty obvious Golden Bomber recorded the bulk of this before the final placard got unveiled yesterday, with just a few small scenes and, uh, the hook being finalized right after. Just look at the chorus — half the time they aren’t moving their mouths! Luckily for them, they didn’t go with a really long name. But this little trick worked perfectly, as the clip has already pulled in over a million views and crashed into the YouTube Japan trending list.
This is pretty in line for what Golden Bomber is all about. If this is your first brush with the four-piece, they are an “air” band which means they pretend to play instruments while performing live. But dudes are clever and real showmen, putting on energetic concerts and releasing songs loaded up with goofs and commentary in equal measure. Their website looks like Wikipedia, for goodness sakes! So this semi-stunt makes sense coming from them.
But hop back a little and “Reiwa” reveals a few other interesting layers telling us where J-pop might be heading, at least for the immediate future. While the “Reiwa” part might have been added in at the last second, the rest of the song itself celebrates the ending of the preceding Heisei period, which is probably what the bulk of J-pop will sound like for the next month (if not longer). And part of that nod to yesteryear is adopting a Eurobeat sound, the sort of thing that would have torn up the club in 1992. Or, well, 2019 — this feels like a very post “U.S.A.” creation, down to Golden Bomber’s dance not being far off from what DA PUMP got up to on last year’s biggest hit. Maybe, in the end, this says more about the moment than where we were or where we are going.