Bonito Generation

by Kero Kero Bonito

Released October 21, 2016 via Double Denim Records

Reviewed October 14, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Trampoline (66%), Waking Up (38%), Graduation (34%)

Bonito Generation is full of some of the most unapologetically poppy music of the 2010s. The production is so incredibly sweet, infectious, and quirky, while Sarah Bonito’s fusion of singing and rapping—in both Japanese and English—fits perfectly. The lyrics are just as bright, diving into such topics as taking selfies, bouncing on a trampoline, and calling your parents just to check in. Sarah is one of the most likable personalities in music right now, and it’s hard not to relate to what she’s saying, whether it’s about graduating despite having “never learned a thing anyway” or “falling down and getting back up again.” Every song is unbelievably catchy and fun to listen to, and it is guaranteed to put a huge smile on just about anyone’s face. – Hadley (9.5/10)


With a debut album dedicated to life’s simplest pleasures, the Sarah Bonito-led Kero Kero Bonito made themselves instant cultural symbols of the now. Bonito Generation comes across as strikingly elated and distinctly colorful. Sarah Bonito vocalizes some of the most basic and natural human emotions in her songwriting, making something anyone can relate to. This jubilee gets even sweeter with multilingual lyrics and an epic clash of Japanese, English, and American influences. Admittedly, portions of the record feel overwhelmingly rich with hue and contrast; some songs even sounding a bit stiff rhythmically. Despite a few flaws, Bonito Generation was by far one of the most intriguing and exciting albums from 2016. – DeVan (7.9/10)


Following up their debut mixtape Intro Bonito, electro-pop-rap trio Kero Kero Bonito’s debut studio album is a musical rainbow of blissful synth-pop that––ever so slightly––dips its toes into glitch and hip-hop. This time around, the band is less reliant on video-game samples, but maintains the nonchalant atmosphere akin to a whimsical kids’ show. Bonito Generation has relatively clean themes conveyed through simple, occasionally egregious rhymes that are mitigated by Sarah Bonito’s cheeky delivery. While wacky five years ago, this precursor to bubblegum bass’ blow-up now sounds standard for slightly left-field pop. Mainstream pop tropes still play a prominent role, with anthemic keys (“Hey Parents”), bouncing synthetic basslines (“Break”), and pragmatic ‘clap’ ad-lib-like percussion (“Try Me”). “Big City” has all of these, meanwhile, “Lipslap” focuses on club-esque timbres. Bonito Generation album is dorky, but I think it’s aged well, especially when compared to Intro Bonito. – Cam (7.8/10)


Hadley: 9.5/10 | Dominick: 8/10 | Cam: 7.9/10 | DeVán: 7.9/10 | Jared: 7.5/10