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New Tokyo Girls’ Style: “Mille-Feuille”

Two ways to look at “Mille-Feuille:”

1. Tokyo Girls’ Style have long been one of the early adopters to new styles within the idol realm. Since they were created by Avex as a way to get in on the then-burgeoning idol scene, whooshed in by the success of AKB48. They started out right around the start of 2010, before specialization became the name of the game for idols. They could glide between styles, and they did, including a collab with Maltine Records that saw them work with the likes of Avec Avec, Fazerock and more. Pretty ahead of its time! So now, distanced from the “idol” label all-together, they can proudly declare that “Mille-FEuille” is “FutureBass×J-POP,” and embrace all those Wave-Racer-inspired splashes and fidgety digital twists. This is popular contemporary touches Silly-Putty-ed onto pop just right, all the signifiers of style present but never overdone, and with everyone involved remembering to get in a great chorus (this is, also, what all my favorite K-Pop songs in 2016 sound like). Of course, the J-Pop (errr, also pretty K-Pop in execution too, now that you mention it?) comes across clearly in the marketing — watch the “cool version” above, and check out the “cute version” here.

2. “Future bass” is about as goofy a term you can conjure up, is are most things with the word “future” stapled to the front of them (because, well, most of the elements at the center of this internet genre have existed for a while). Still, plenty of artists tagged with this have created fantastic songs over the last five years…but maybe it is starting to feel a little tired? “Mille-Feuille” is produced by Yuuki Odagari, who has worked with Tokyo Girls’ Style on many of their older singles, along with members of EXILE and May J among others. He’s a studio pro, a guy major labels turn to for a certain sheen. He’s clearly talented, but it is a bit telling that he could figure out “future bass” so thoroughly. So…possibly a good time for producers to not simply rest on familiar tropes, or at least try to get your resumes out to major labels so it doesn’t become a simple studio preset. We need more cross-pollinations such as “Limo” or “Cry & Fight.”