“Break Down” (BeForU)

Ready or not, it’s time to break down. First appearing on the 2002 iteration of the popular arcade series Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), “Break Down” is the musical equivalent of slurping down a cherry slushie with a straw in one gulp. It’s sugary and downright excessive, but you’d be kidding yourself to deny the rush.

The song practically seeps with confection. Throughout the 190 beat per minute track, BeForU lead singer Riyu Kosaka quickly sings over a poppy guitar riff, sounding like she has a train to catch. The song’s greatest strength is its ability to control its gooeyness; Kosaka’s vocals are very natural and her enthusiasm never appears forced.

“Break Down” can be seen as a gateway to J-pop. Its blend of peppiness, spunky guitars, and do or die choruses hit all the right notes. These traits are prevalent in the genre (especially in idol pop), and “Break Down” is one of its most finely-tuned examples.

Anyone who’s played “Break Down”on DDR can vouch that it is one the series’ catchiest tracks– and also one of its most difficult. The thought of failing “Break Down” during the game is devastating; there is something inherently wrong with facing a game over screen after cutting short such a cheerful song. Every time this happens, I want to personally apologize to the members of BeForU for not seeing their work all the way through.

BeForU’s track isn’t a musical breakthrough, but good luck forgetting the pleasant taste of “Break Down’s” many hooks. Now that’s a good slushie.

 

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