[Review] Hikikomo Teikoku – ONE ON ONE

by Garry

My thoughts on “ONE ON ONE”, the third digital single from Hikikomo Teikoku.

Release Date: December 24th 2020




With the new way that things are in the Idol scene, it feels like every other week I’m seeing some kind of new digital release from a lot of the same groups. It’s usually in the form of a one track single and for the most part I kinda get the idea behind it as you’re keeping your name out there and trying to build and maintain interest in your act as much as possible. It does kinda feel like I end up writing about a lot of the same stuff though but I guess that isn’t really anyone’s fault and just a symptom of the current state of play both in Japan and around the world.

You’ve probably heard of Hikikomo Teikoku by now, I’ve certainly covered them a couple of times on the site already and it seems like they’ve garnered at least some amount of interest among the Western fandom. The group has an interesting backstory that even managed to capture my imagination a bit so it’s not hard to see why people would take notice of them. Everyone does love a good underdog tale after all and its been cool to watch the group develop further even in such a short space of time since their debut in late 2020.

“ONE ON ONE” is Hikikomo Teikoku’s latest digital release, their third single to date in fact and while I wouldn’t say that their previous two efforts really sought to reinvent the wheel, they did offer another couple of solid entries into that Hard Rock/Hardcore with synthesizer melodies style that’s oh so popular these days. I’m expecting more of the same out of this track too honestly and why not when it clearly works as well as it does right now. There’s always a chance that I’ll be pleasantly surprised though, so let’s hit and play and see what this group of former hikikomori have in store for us this time shall we?

Well, turns out I was pretty wrong in my initial assumptions about “ONE ONE ONE”, as the track definitely isn’t following the trend that we had so far been hearing when it comes to Hikikomo Teikoku’s music. This time they’ve instead opted for something a bit softer in tone but still with a nice energetic Rock theme, which I think is a pretty good change of pace and shows a different side to the group than what they’d been presenting up until now. The instrumental is pretty bright but it could do with a bit more bass in my personal opinion because while the guitar riffs are decently catchy everything else is feeling a little bit flat by comparison which is unfortunate but it what it is. The vocals are similarly bright in tone and sort of hit that mid-tempo pacing that is the staple style for songs of this nature. They are pushed quite far forward in the mix though which while making them very easy to hear also has the drawback of making it feel like they’re sitting on top of the instrumental as opposed to both parts coming together to form a nice cohesive song. The hooks are still there though and the chorus is catchy enough to be getting by on so it’s not all negatives that’s for sure. Bit of a shame that the production isn’t quite as tight on this one as it has been on previous outings but I suppose the rather abrupt change in musical style could be something to attribute to that. Not bad apart from that though and something that’s a bit more accessible which doesn’t hurt when you’re a newer group trying to grow your fanbase. Not sure how into it you’ll be if you like Hikikomo Teikoku’s heavier material but it’s worth a shot if you’ve been a fan of them up until now in my opinion.

“ONE ON ONE” is kind of more along the lines of what I expect to hear from newer groups as far as music quality is concerned in all honesty. The track is pretty rough around the edges and there’s definitely room for improvement but I suppose that provides its own charm in a way. By no means a bad song but with the roughness and fairly well worn style they’ve opted for here, it’s not really something I would say that a casual listener has to rush out and hear right away.

Well, Hikikomo Teikoku threw me a bit of a curveball with this one that’s for sure. I certainly prefer what they were doing on their past couple of digital offerings but if they wanted to go more in this sort of direction I imagine they could find good success with it too. We’ll have to wait and see what their next release is bringing to the party but with the way things have been going lately they’ll probably already have 2 or 3 more digital tracks out by the time that you’re reading this article anyway. Such is the way of things these days.


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