Ronald Reviews: April 2023 (Hinatazaka46’s “One choice” & King & Prince’s “Mr.5”)

Welcome to this month’s “Ronald Reviews”! Each month, I will review the top song and album of the previous month per Oricon. If Billboard Japan releases a monthly chart eventually, I will do that as well. Think of this as a way to learn about the top releases of the month, or to enjoy them again if you’ve already heard them. That being said, let’s get into this month’s chart toppers!

This month, I will review Hinatazaka46’s single “One choice” (486,456 copies sold) and King & Prince‘s best album “Mr.5” (1,286,491 copies sold).

Hinatazaka46 – One choice

Wow, these groups really have progressed in like 15 years? Everyone should know by now that I don’t like Japanese female idol groups and songs like this are the exact reason why. I found the song to be inspid and boring, and hard to get through. 3/10

King & Prince – Mr.5

1.シンデレラガール (Cinderella Girl)

Honestly, a classic at this point. When I first heard it, I was like, “Ohh, a typical Johnny’s song, NEXT!”, but over the years its charm has worked on me. It’s very endearing! 8.5/10



This is like “Cinderella Girl”, but less charming. 6/10


3.君を待ってる (Kimi wo Matteru)

The little jazzy instrumental break and the part right after it were nice, but I honestly found myself wanting to listen to something else before the song was even over. 6/10



This should have been the real second single because it builds off of “Cinderella Girl” in way that “Memorial” and “Kimi wo Matteru” failed to do so. It has energy and feels like actual growth. 8/10


5.Mazy Night

Honestly, their masterpiece. This is the song that made me think of King & Prince in a different light, as a group that could be the contemporary sounding Johnny’s group. 10/10


6.I promise

This is nice, a little bit of a letdown, but nice. It’s a song for winter, but I wish they had kept the momentum up from “Mazy Night.” 7/10


7.Magic Touch

The song that brought me out of my Johnny’s closet. This song was so controversial at the time, because it was a Johnny’s group doing an actual hip hop song, something very contemporary. This made me very interested as to why, and the fact that it is in English made me wonder if they had international ambitions. This resulted in me interviewing them. I’ve played this song for people and often the reply is, “This is Johnny’s?” 9.5/10


8.Beating Hearts

Feels like a letdown next to “Magic Touch”, but it’s decent. It has a nice energy to it, but not enough to be a dual A-side to “Magic Touch.” 7/10


9.恋降る月夜に君想ふ (Koifuru Tsukiyo ni Kimi Omou)

A wave of nostalgia rushes over me while listening to this for some reason. It’s quite charming, especially the way the song’s title is almost chanted. 8.5/10


10.Lovin’ you

I really could have lived without this single. This and its other A-side, “Odoru You ni Jinsei wo.”, just seem like songs that were used to fill a space because there was a need to release a single. This song isn’t really memorable. 6/10


11.踊るように人生を。 (Odoru You ni Jinsei wo.)

Yes, this is somewhat better than “Lovin’ you.” It’s almost like something that Shiina Ringo would have written for SMAP. 6.5/10



Not a fan of this one… I can see the vision, but it falls a bit flat. It’s like it needs some extra production. 7/10


13.ツキヨミ (Tsukiyomi)

When I first heard this, I thought, “Balkan Eurovision entry”, but then it grew on me. Really grew on me! I swear that Kishi’s vocals here are not him because he’s never sounded like this before. There is so much going on in this song, but it works together so well! 9/10


14.彩り (Irodori)

This song is bittersweet, because it’s low key their graduation song. This was released around the time it was announced that Sho and Yutas were leaving. And Kaito having so many lines kinda alludes to that. It’s a sweet, nostalgic song. 8/10


15.Life goes on

I’m genuinely going to missing King & Prince 2.0, but not this song. In the past few years, the group has really shown that they can do sounds that are different than what is expected of Johnny’s groups (that’s what drew me to them and inspired me to somehow interview them two years ago), so for them to essentially end this chapter like this is quite disappointing. I get wanting to end King & Prince 2.0 on a happy, forward looking note with a genki song like this, but this is just a bit too simplistic. The whistling… The chorus… It sounds like something from elementary school! I don’t normally talk about music videos or anything but the sound of the actual music, but with this one I have to. The choreography of just waving arms from side to side mirrors the song in its oversimplistic manner, with Ren, who is not a dancer, as the center, to just drive home how oversimplistic this is. Is this what King & Prince 3.0 going to be when it’s just him and Kaito, the best dancer in the group? I just wish that the group had given us something powerful and memorable as they end this chapter. I will say that I do like Kishi’s vocals on this. Shame that we don’t know if he’ll ever use them again after May. 5/10


16.We are young

If “Life goes on” is the happy song about King & Prince 2.0 ending, “We are young” is the opposite. It’s actually quite depressing. It’s definitely a graduation song. And while graduations are happy, they are also sad. An emotional transition, which is what this group is going through. I honestly would have been fine with just this being the A-side. 7.5/10


17.Beautiful Flower

I’m feeling a lot of emotions listening to this one. A King & Prince gospel song? This really reminds me of one of the uplifting songs that are played at a funeral to say that the person who has passed is in a better place now. This really is a graduation song. When Sho sings “Arigatou” at the end of the song, you can really feel that something has ended. 8.5/10


18.Love Paradox

The thing with King & Prince’s B-sides is that they are either among their best songs or totally forgetable. This one is in the latter category. 6/10


19.Key of Heart

I don’t like the cutesy country pop sound of this. 5.5/10


20.エスコート (Escort)

I’m getting bored. This is so generic. 5.5/10


21.僕のワルツ (Boku no Waltz)

This isn’t a favorite of mine, but I do like the soulful, jazzy element to it. 6.5/10


22.A Little Happiness

It’s cute, it’s fun, but it’s just kinda there… 6/10


23.気楽にやろうよ (Kiraku ni Yarou yo)

For some reason, this really reminds me of Hey! Say! JUMP? It’s cute, it’s fun, but nothing special. 6/10


24.Amazing Romance

This song isn’t amazing. I’m not liking the showtune sound of this. 5.5/10


25.幸せがよく似合うひと (Shiawase ga Yoku Niau Hito)

I’m starting to think that maybe I should just stick with the first CD or the regular edition when I do albums because I’m really hating listening to all these songs that give nothing. 4/10


26.愛を伝えましょう (Ai wo Tsutaemashou)

I’m very confused as to why this song is on here when it isn’t even one of the good songs on the “Life goes on / We are young” single. 5.5/10


27.花束 (Hanataba)

I don’t want to hear a ballad from King & Prince. I’m sorry, I just don’t! 5/10


28.Easy Go

This is the first decent song in quite a while on this album. I like the laid back R&B sound of the song. It’s catchy! 7/10


29.ナミウテココロ (Namiute Kokoro)

It’s ok, but it’s just not that exciting. It’s a filler song. 5.5/10


30.Kiss & Cry

This one is such a breath of fresh air! I really like the laid back, jazzy sound of this. It’s really unexpected from them. 7/10


31.Nothing compares

This is a nice and romantic song. It too has a jazzy feel. It’s interesting that it’s all English too. 7/10


32.Little Christmas

I love a Christmas song that doesn’t sound like a Christmas song! I live the 90s R&B feel of this.  7.5/10



It’s light and breezy, a laid back song. 7/10



I feel the same way about this that I did “Hanataba.” 5/10


35.Moon Lover

This is like listening to “Amazing Romance” again. 5.5/10


36.Last Train

It’s ok, but not something that grabs and keeps my attention. 6/10



I can see what they were going for, but it feels lethargic. It’s supposed to be energetic, but it’s sleepy. 5.5/10


38.Naughty Girl

I feel like this song suffers from the same issue as the previous one: a lack of energy. It’s sad, because this one is actually quite decent. 6/10



I have never liked the song. It’s too typical, corny Johnny’s for me. That being sad, the bridge of the song, where the song slows down, is really good. That should have been the general vibe of the song. 5.5/10


40.僕らのGreat Journey (Bokura no Great Journey)

I hate the bells in the beginning. It gives Christmas. This song is just quite dull. 5/10


41.Namae Oshiete

So Babyface produced this. I love his work… in the 80s and 90s. This song is ok, but it sounds like anyone could have made it. I wish he had dug in the vault for something for them. 6.5/10



So, so good! I’m a big KREVA fan, so when I heard he was working with King & Prince, I was very intrigued! It’s like he possessed the boys on this. The flows on here are VERY KREVA. It’s apparent that he was very involved with this song. And the actual production! The blend of hip hop with traditional Japanese sounds is amazing. This is is very much produced by him because he uses a lot of bass and space in his songs. Jinguji and Ren’s last bits, right before the final chorus, really illustrate this. And then the song just explodes into the last chorus! This is the promise of “Magic Touch” fulfilled in terms of King & Prince fully embracing hip hop. 10/10


43.King & Prince, Queen & Princess

This is sweet, and more likeable than the other ballads on the album. 6/10



It’s ok, it’s a bit of fun, but not a standout. 6/10



This an interesting song. It’s a hip hop song, but it’s like one you would expect from Johnny’s, but taken up a notch. It doesn’t have the coolness of “Magic Touch” or “ichiban”, but it still decent. 6.5/10


46.ゴールデンアワー (Golden Hour)

Very much a filler song. 6/10


47.Dream in

It’s nice enough, but I’m still not sold on them doing ballads. 6/10


48.Prince Princess

I don’t like the country sound of this! When they lay off that sound, the song gets somewhat better. But I’m just bored by it. 5.5/10


49.今君に伝えたいこと (Ima Kimi ni Tsutaetai Koto)

This is just another boring ballad by them. 5.5/10


50.僕の好きな人(平野紫耀、高橋海人、岸優太) (Boku no Suki na Hito (Hirano Sho, Takahashi Kaito, Kishi Yuta)

I’m starting to get really annoyed. It’s just one filler track after another… 5.5/10



A definite improvement over some of the other ballads on this album. 6.5/10


52.Dear My Tiara

And the trend continues into the next song! 7/10


53.君とメリークリスマス (Kimi to Merry Christmas)

I normally don’t like Christmas songs that are this traditionally cheery, but this one is fun! 7/10


54.君がいる世界 (Kmi ga Iru Sekai)

I played it, and then kinda forgot how it went? 5.5/10


55.Glass Flower

Ughh, I don’t want another forgettable ballad! 5/10


56.Bounce To Night

It’s cute, it it was released like a decade earlier. 6.5/10


57.OH! サマー KING (OH! Summer KING!)

This is bit too happy go lucky for me. I’m going to have to pass. 5/10


Album average: 6.27/10

It’s highs and lows! There are some really great songs here, but some that are just forgettable. I really wish they hadn’t put so many songs on this album, as in the B-sides and album tracks. A lot of them are middling at best and weigh down the album. Some of these were fan-selected, and I really question the taste of the fans for leaving off some really great songs for really mediocre ones.


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