Japanese band Official HIGE DANdism is having a huge 2019. The group has been on an upward trajectory for the last few years, but this has been the big breakout for them as they go from on-the-rise project to established stars. Most notably, they’ve become one of the bands in Japan to become a major hit on streaming services. Their number “Pretender” has picked up over 23 million views on YouTube and has constantly been up in the top-five list of most listened to songs on streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. This frontier of the digital music world remains relatively new in Japan, and the long-winded-name-sporting unit has become one of the biggest names in that realm.
So…why is that? How come this group of four guys creating zippy rock songs has become representatives of a new generation in Japanese music, one playing out mainly through streaming platforms? Their newest single “Shukumei” offers a chance to ponder. Watch the video, set in New York, below.
What’s immediately striking about this number is the music itself. Official HIGE DANdism pack in a bunch of different genres into the frame of “Shukumei.” Rock serves as the foundation, but check the big horn blurts and electronic drum fills that join alongside it. One doesn’t have to wait long for everything to pivot to a piano interlude, which itself soon makes way for a more joyful chorus. After that, you get some Auto-tuned glazed and passages inching towards hip-hop. It’s a little something for everyone, crammed into one song.
Yet the real reason I’d say they’ve jumped up in the streaming age is because of their lyrics, at least going off of “Shukumei.” This is a song about being young, and of trying to find one’s place in an uncertain world. They stare down a lot of doubts but come the chorus come to the realization that all they can really do is follow their own path. Plenty of groups have tapped into this similar youthful anxiety, but Official HIGE DANdism brings it to the streaming world (think of them of a SEKAI NO OWARI for the Spotify age).