Song Review: Hey! Say! JUMP – Ookami Seinen (Wolf Youth)

The rollout for Hey! Say! JUMP’s new album has been kind of fun. A few months ago, they secretly uploaded a couple of music videos on youtube under mysterious pen names. Without revealing their faces, these “new” groups established a bit of buzz, though anyone remotely familiar with Jump’s vocals instantly knew it was them. Still, it’s another creative idea in a year that’s been full of them for the group. Fab! Music Speaks is themed around fairy tales, with each song tackling a familiar story. The theatrical Fab-ism acts as a sort of overture, but it’s Ookami Seinen (狼青年) (Wolf Youth) that seems to be getting the most push.

As made obvious by its video, Ookami Seinen tackles Little Red Riding Hood, though its sound is much more modern than you might expect. It’s also a bit of a turn for Hey! Say! JUMP, tackling newer genres like trap. It’s an odd little track, light and funky at one moment and imposing at the next. Longtime readers will know my bias against songs that change tempos and energy too often, and that’s the case here. The second verse is especially guilty, slowing things for an interesting – but ultimately distracting – segment.

Ookami Seinen’s chorus compensates, offering a brisk hook that’s instantly memorable despite its unusual sound. I also love the rhythm guitar and drops of synth that drive the introduction and much of the opening verse. At times, the group’s delivery can get a bit cartoonish and over-the-top, but given the song’s subject matter that’s hardly a surprise. Taken as a whole, this is definitely a fun experiment. However, if you want to hear the best that the album has to offer, make sure to check out the awesome Puppet.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8

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