[Review] Sexy Zone registers another standout with “Let’s Music”

For a brief, shining moment last fall, Sexy Zone were five again. However, they’ve been knocked back to four as member Marius takes a break from the industry to focus on health. But even with these constant shifts in configuration, the group has somehow forged one of the strongest singles runs in modern J-pop. From 2018’s Suppin Kiss/Karakuri Darake No Tenderness to the newly-released Let’s Music, the group can’t seem to take a musical misstep. Even more impressive, each of these songs has operated within a totally different set of genres and influences.

For Let’s Music, the guys have adopted a brassy funk style. Think: SHINee’s Married to the Music as filtered through the Johnny’s prism. There’s almost no chance of this going wrong, and Let’s Music is another total standout for Sexy Zone. The song is a blast of joy. It’s a celebration of music, driven by the group’s personality-filled performance.

Let’s Music brings me back to 2015-16, when global smash Uptown Funk inspired a surplus of brass-heavy pop in both Korea and Japan. It’s a style that’s hard to screw up, as its natural ebullience just elicits smiles. This song has a goofy appeal, fueled by chants and conversational verses supported by a kaleidoscope of rhythmic elements. At its center is an explosive chorus, bounding with spirit before segueing into an ascending post-chorus hook that begs for mass sing-alongs. The arrangement has a freewheeling energy, and becomes groovier as it goes on. But thanks to Sexy Zone’s equally fun vocals, Let’s Music never feels like a rip-off. It’s distinctly them, and effortlessly charming.

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