We are SMAP!

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Returning to full-length form, the men of SMAP continue on We Are SMAP! to probe new musical styles. Their original boy band edge may have usurped by younger groups over the years, but SMAP continue to fearlessly wander through new ideas, taking songwriting from any number of hot writers regardless of their original genre, and trying out new sounds both vocally and instrumentally. The results are mixed -- a sincere attempt at darker, circus-like chords in "Trust" comes off as somewhat corny, while a more pop-friendly synth piece in "Feel It" fits more directly into SMAP's wheelhouse. A bit of high-end synthesized hip-hop comes courtesy of Denki Groove's Takkyu Ishino, and gives the group an opportunity to form a Zulu Nation-style call and response. They can sound great, and they can sound terrible, often within the span of minutes. To their ultimate credit, though, on We Are SMAP!, the band never sounds timid.