Japan’s ONE N’ ONLY Break Down March Single ‘We’ll rise again’

J-pop boy band ONE N’ ONLY dropped a new single called ”We’ll rise again” on March 8, the third in the group’s five-month streak of new releases currently underway celebrating the group’s fifth anniversary, following “YOU???” and “Get That (PT-BR ver.).” “We’ll rise again” is also the six-member group’s first single in about four years to be released in physical form since “Category/My Love” from 2019.

Members EIKU, TETTA, REI, HAYATO, KENSHIN, and NAOYA chatted with Billboard Japan about their March offering and broke down each of the tracks included on the CD single.

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“We’ll rise again” is featured as the theme of the your movie Battle King! -We’ll rise again-, set for release in Japanese theaters March 10.

HAYATO: This song has been around for a while, but when we were casted as a group in our first starring movie, we changed the lyrics to link it to the film’s content.

Since you knew it would be the theme of the group’s first starring movie, it must have felt different than usual when you were recording it.

EIKU: Yes. We recorded the first verse before we started filming. Then we recorded the second verse after we wrapped, so it helped us put more feeling into it because we could see how faithful the song was to the film and it was like the meaning of the lyrics became clearer.

HAYATO: The scenes came to mind, didn’t it?

EIKU: Yeah. We later re-recorded the first verse and made it even better. The character I play, Genjiro, used to be a delinquent, but he gets into hip-hop dance and finds his dream. There’s this scene where he expresses his determination to the art school principal and it’s a really touching moment. I sang my part with that scene in mind, so my voice sounds more emotional.

TETTA: The movie depicts a future where the characters aim for global success, and singing with that feeling is the same as where we’re at right now as ONE N’ ONLY, so it was easy for me to get into the feeling.

REI: The lyrics are really linked to the story, so I think you can enjoy it twice!

Will fans be able to check out your movie outside of Japan?

TETTA: Unfortunately, there’s no plan for international theatrical release.

HAYATO: But on-demand video streaming services are everywhere now so it’d be nice if people could catch it.

TETTA: We could do our own voice-overs.

NAOYA: Come on, there will be subtitles! [Everyone laughs]

HAYATO: But if it’s dubbed, I’d love to see who does our voices.

NAOYA: The movie version of the drama series I was in called hisKoi suru tsumori nante nakatta – (“I didn’t intend to fall in love”) is being distributed in Brazil with subtitles. I know someone from Brazil who got to know ONE N’ ONLY because of that.

KENSHIN: We could do a Portuguese version of the first rap battle scene.

EIKU: Then we’d have to ask everyone who performed with us to learn Portuguese.

KENSHIN: Sounds like a lot of work, but fun!

“We’ll rise again” will be released on CD along with its digital formats. How do you feel about that?

NAOYA: The last time was “Category/My Love” in 2019, so it’s been a long time.

HAYATO: Putting songs out in physical format is always a great feeling.

Two other songs are included in the CD single. Tell us about “GIFT.”

HAYATO: It’s a gentle love song, following “My Love.” I think our SWAGs also enjoy these kinds of straightforward J-POP numbers. It has a more mature worldview than “My Love,” and the chorus contains a message about the importance of the ordinary things in life. We performed it at our Christmas concert last year, so I’m really looking forward to sharing it with everyone.

REI: The lyrics are straightforward, and the song changes keys so it’s not boring. We sing the lyrics clearly so the message probably comes through.

HAYATO: The choreography is cute too.

REI: It’d be great if people could remember the hand-waving at the end and the hugging gestures since they’re easy to imitate.

NAOYA: The other song, “QUEEN,” is pretty daring for us. It’s the sexiest song we’ve ever done.

HAYATO: It depends on how you look at it, but it’s steamy! [Laughs]

NAOYA: No doubt about it. I want people to see our performance after memorizing the lyrics.

HAYATO: We did a performance using a microphone stand as one of the highlights of our tour, and when you hear it with the song’s content in mind, it’s definitely different!

REI: The lyrics are hard to understand on first listen, aren’t they?

TETTA: We encourage everyone to read the lyrics while listening to it.

REI: People will be like, “Ooh la la!” [Laughs]

TETTA: It’s a song that we can sing because we’re who we are today.

REI: You don’t find many songs like this in Japan. Content like this would be glossed over in other J-pop songs, but here it’s up front, which I think is a message from our songwriters that they expect us to express these kinds of things and compete with our musicality.

KENSHIN: The song is finely broken up for each of our parts, and we try new expressions down to our fingertips, so I’d like people to look out for that, too.

I look forward to seeing these songs live again.

EIKU: They’re tracks that will definitely add more power to our live performances, so I hope everyone enjoys these three songs this month.

This interview by Kana Yoshida first appeared on Billboard Japan

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