[Review] With the rent coming due, Kep1er step up & deliver their best with “Shooting Star”

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Kep1er’s recent contract saga was a hell of a ride, but eventually it was revealed they’d be continuing on as seven. Regardless, they didn’t know that when they recorded for their Kep1going On album, but its single “Shooting Star” seems to set them up well going forward. Singing, dancing, performing like the rent was due/contracts were up for renewal.

Honestly, this kind of driving, synth-heavy track is like crack to me, and the fact that it maintains momentum through the verses (even the rapping) is what helps it score execution points of a time-tested formula. The production feels like it brings your eardrum with life and demands your attention, as opposed to the trend of settling to let the listener consume it passively. The pre-chorus does drop out entirely for a robotic vocal, which is a risk when such an foot-tapping beat has been established, but it was engaging in a Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say?”/Imogen Heap’s “Hide & Seek” sorta way, which gives it a bittersweet and isolated tone.

Of course, as mentioned, the formula is a familiar one, so the chorus has to work. Fortunately, “Shooting Star” saves its best for that moment. There’s the swelling melody, the “da-ra, dah-dah-dah-dah, ooh” repetition proving surprisingly addicting, and the “fly high like shooting stars” close was memorable in itself. The only time it really eases off is for the bridge, but thankfully it only does so to refresh listeners a bit, before launching back into the chorus for the conclusion.

From the time of their naming, I’d been hoping they might go more into a futuristic and spacey direction, and they seem to have really dove into that this time around. Despite being such an energetic song, it does somehow feel a bit nostalgic and almost guarded, like they’re asking you to remember them. Perhaps that’s just reading into the context around the song, knowing this could’ve been their farewell to fans, but “Shooting Star” ends up serving as a great example of not needing to do some weepy ballad to impart similar emotive effects on the listener. Coincidentally or not, it’s also their best title track by far, and while I was rather agnostic on Kep1er continuing on or not based on their musical production up to this point, now I’m definitely excited for what’s coming next even if it’ll be sans two members.