Fans were understandably devastated when J-pop superstars ARASHI announced they planned to go on hiatus starting in 2021. Since emerging in 1999 as a contemporary of pop stars such as Backstreet Boys, the effervescent Tokyo quintet have been boy-band pacesetters, especially sonically. Although their early work hewed closely to a classic late-’90s pop style (as in their swaggering, harmony-heavy debut single “A・RA・SHI”), subsequent singles have dabbled in Disney movie-esque cinematic whimsy (“Monster”), horn-peppered, dance-pop bliss (“Wild at Heart”), and easygoing ’70s rock (“Wish”). But beyond churning out hit after hit and racking up impressive sales numbers—every studio album they’ve released, starting with 2001’s Arashi No.1 (Ichigou) - Arashi Wa Arashi O Yobu -, has been certified gold or better, and their 2019 greatest-hits collection was the best-selling album in the world that year—the group are a must-see live act, whether they’re arriving at concerts via helicopter as fans watch or executing flawless, intricate live choreography. ARASHI closed out their initial chapter on a high note: A pair of 2020 singles—the aptly named cool breeze “IN THE SUMMER” and the ’80s-pop throwback “Whenever You Call”—possess futuristic, fresh-sounding vibes that hint at the relaxation that’s to come.
FORMEDSeptember 15, 1999