Nine years into their career, Da-iCE have scored a coveted One Piece anime theme. They join a long roster of artists – many managed by Avex – in this distinction, adding another pop anthem to the pantheon that kicked off with the 1999 mega-classic We Are. You can almost count on what you’re going to get from a song like Dreamin’ On. Think punchy, forward-moving, rock-tinged idol pop and you’ve got a pretty good idea. This won’t appeal to everyone, but I just happen to be an ideal target for this sound – as well as a longtime fan of Da-iCE’s music.
The first time through, Dreamin’ On feels like a bit much. As with many J-pop tracks of this nature, the song throws everything it can at the listener and never really lets up. Further listens smooth out the madness, though it continues to come across as a bit overstuffed. That’s the difference between Dreamin’ On and a song like Sexy Zone’s Run. Both harness a similar energy, but Run tethered it to a much more straightforward melody that channeled all that intensity in one direction rather than let it spill over to potentially messy effect.
Still, Dreamin’ On is a lot of fun. Filled with anthemic chants and aggressive percussion, the track thrives on gutsy guitar that powers its verses. The chorus is even better, delivering a fists-in-the-air refrain that leaves room for some call-and-response fun. A post-chorus electronic flourish offers a change in texture, but before we know it we’re swept back into the chugging verses. This general sound is pretty far from Da-iCE’s usual brand of slick dance-pop, but it proves to be a surprisingly solid match.