Music Monday, March 29, 2021 Extra – Produce 101 Japan Season 2, JO1, Kang Seung Yoon, CHECKMATE

Four great tracks that couldn’t wait until next week! 😊 A double dose of Produce 101 Japan goodness plus a comeback five years in the making and a fresh start for talented rookies. Enjoy the trainees of Produce 101 Japan Season 2, JO1, Kang Seung Yoon and CHECKMATE.

“Let Me Fly” by Produce 101 Japan Season 2 Trainees

Produce 101 Japan Season 2 is almost upon us. And the new theme song is finally here! Season 1’s “Tsukame” is my favorite Produce “Pick Me” theme and I’ve been looking forward to see season 2’s. They definitely didn’t disappoint!

This season’s theme is a little different. If season 1’s was a bit more of a rousing anthemic song, “Let Me Fly” feels a little more subdued by comparison. But that’s part of what makes it so great. Coming from a toku fan like myself, “Let Me Fly” sounds like the ending theme to a Kamen Rider or Sentai movie. Or even a nostalgic youth coming of age film. That pretty much guaranteed that I would love it. I feel like it’s such a unique style compared to the other “Pick Me” songs which tended more to highlight that trainee appeal call to the national producers. Instead, this feels more like a personal affirmation, thus a bit more inspiring and uplifting in comparison.

The performance video also adds a lot to the experience. Perhaps the best stage of any Produce 101 theme performance. And that’s despite having almost half the number of trainees and during COVID times of course. All in all, this is a pretty epic start to the season.

(Sidenote: I’m definitely rooting for Iinuma Anthonny and was surprised and excited to see him in A Class!)

“Born to be Wild” by JO1

Speaking of Produce 101 Japan, JO1 is back with their latest, “Born to be Wild.” The group hasn’t had a miss yet since their official debut. And this is another winner for them. Their charisma and versatility are on full display in this funky, groovy track. An irresistible pop song with a touch of well-placed retro vibes.

“Iyah” by Kang Seung Yoon

Making his solo debut in 2013 after his stint on Superstar K and then re-debuting and finding major success with the group WINNER, Kang Seung Yoon releases his first full length solo album “PAGE.” Title track “IYAH” is an excellent track that tells a personal story of his growing up. The nostalgic track has him reminiscing over his journey so far and expressing the pressures of responsibility and becoming an adult. The track is accompanied by a music video depicting that journey through childhood and his music career.

The rest of the album is also excellent. It has a great singer-songwriter vibe that definitely highlights his talent and style. An awesome treat to get some solo music from him after so long.

“You” by CHECKMATE

Co-ed group CHECKMATE finally make their first comeback after debut with “You.” The hip-hop/R&B-infused track is a seductive back and forth that offers a strong showcase for the rookie group. With a small change to its line-up after their debut, this comeback feels a bit like a restart perhaps for the group. And they have definitely shown their great potential.

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