ME:I – MIRAI Review

MEI MIRAI Cover

Release Date: April 15, 2024

Track Listing

  1. Click
  2. Sugar Bomb
  3. &ME (ME:I Ver.)
  4. CHOPPY CHOPPY (ME:I Ver.)

Review

The latest incarnation of the Produce 101 series, Produce 101 Japan The Girls, aired in the last quarter of 2023. The popular survival show’s fruit bore from this season was the 11-member girl group called ME:I. The meaning of ME:I is “an idol loved by everyone, an idol of the future, moving forward together towards the future.” The pronunciation of their name is similar to the Japanese word for “Future,” which is “Mirai.”

Unlike other groups from the Produce series, ME:I do not have a limited shelf life, and is a permanent group.

The 11 members of ME:I are:

  • Ebihara Tzusumi
  • Iida Shizuku
  • Ishii Ran
  • Kasahara Momona
  • Kokoro Kato
  • Murakami Rinon
  • Sakurai Miu
  • Sasaki Kokona
  • Shimizu Keiko
  • Takami Ayane
  • Yamamoto Suzu

Some of the names on this member list may be familiar to those who follow both J-pop and K-pop.

Kasahara Momona was a former member of Hello!Project group Angerme. Ishii Ran was in the Japanese girl group Girls2. Sakurai Miu was a Nizi Project contestant and participated in the Girls Planet 999 idol survival show. The most recognizable name for most K-Pop folks is Kokoro Kato, who was a member of the recently disbanded Korean girl group Cherry Bullet many, many moons ago.

Besides what I researched above, I know little about this group. Nor do I have an emotional investment in any member since I didn’t watch the season of Produce 101 that birthed ME:I. Everything in this review will be free of the bias that watching a program such as Produce 101 brings.

ME:I made their official debut on April 17, 2024, with the four-track single MIRAI featuring Click as its title track. This song musically indicates ME:I will try to stand apart from their fellow J-Pop girl groups. Click has a pumping, driving beat that is just bombastic enough to catch your ear but not overpower the vocals.

From what I hear from this introductory track, there is no hint of the Japanese idol squeeze toy squeak amongst this group. Given my listening preferences these days, that’s a win, and as an opening salvo, Click is undoubtedly an attention grabber.

Sugar Bomb is the better of the two new songs on this single. It has the whole Garage aesthetic going for it. Because of the genre the music is inspired by, Sugar Bomb sounds more like it would appeal to Western sensibilities than the typical J-pop girl group track.

The remaining two songs on this single are the ME:I versions of tracks performed in the Produce 101 Japan The Girls program. Of those, &ME is the one that had me playing it on repeat. It’s reminiscent of the popular J-pop Eurobeat songs of the 90s to early 2000s.

Having gone into this single with zero expectations, I was surprised at how decent MIRAI was. Since ME:I was formed from a reality show, it’s always best to present them in the best light possible to get a hold of all the dirty casuals (like me) who didn’t watch their journey. So, mission accomplished there.

I recommend listening to this if you’re curious about the hype surrounding this group or are looking for something catchy to kill some time with.


Stream on Apple Music
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