The Japanese pop-rock sensation ONE OK ROCK is back with their latest album, Ambitions. This album boasts guest vocals from Alex Gaskarth (of All Time Low) and Australian rock band (read: boy band) 5 Seconds of Summer.

As I was working on this review, I took the time to check out some of ONE OK ROCK’s older stuff. From what I can tell, this album is their most radio-friendly, or “pop,” release to date. Featuring soaring hooks and catchy melodies (sometimes with very little guitar or none at all), it is clear whose ears (and hearts) ONE OK ROCK is aiming to capture. With that being said, I am not the intended audience, nor was I particularly impressed by this release—it’s just not my cup of tea.

I will say that the production quality is top-notch and Ambitions is certainly catchy. The downside is that the lyrics are somewhat generic and, as a whole, this album seems to lack emotional depth, save for maybe the track “Hard To Love” (which I honestly think sounds like an One Direction single).

As of today, the single “Taking Off” has already been used as the theme song for the Japanese movie “Museum” and I won’t be surprised if other songs find their way into more soundtracks and/or films in the very near future. This album will certainly find substantial radio time in Japan, and perhaps the US, too. I expect it will land favorably among younger crowds, particularly teens interested in boy-band style pop-rock acts. With that being said, will Ambitions ever find radio time in my car? Highly unlikely.

Ambitions Track Listing:

01. Ambitions (Introduction)
02. Bombs Away
03. Taking Off
04. We Are
05. Jaded (featuring Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low)
06. Hard to Love
07. Bedroom Warfare
08. American Girls
09. I Was King
10. Listen
11. One Way Ticket
12. Bon Voyage
13. Start Again
14. Take What You Want” (featuring 5 Seconds of Summer)

Run Time: 49:07
Release Date:
January 11, 2017 (Japan – A-Sketch Records)
January 13, 2017 (US – Fueled By Ramen)

Check out the song “I Was King”