Here’s the thing: I really like S/mileage. I have mixed feelings about S/mileage 2.0, but I really enjoyed listening to the 1.0 version- the version with Ogawa Saki and Maeda Yuuka. It was a lot of fun to see these girls grow into the success that they eventually experienced.
The first song that I really loved from these girls was “Suki chan.” It’s no secret that I love the pop/rock songs. The guitar riff that plays throughout the song is still catchy, as is the “suki chan, suki chan, suki, suki, suki chan” bridge and the synth fill sounds. The most important thing about this song and the accompanying PV, however, is the girls were able to finally able to show some individual personality.
You can’t really write about S/mileage without at least mentioning “Yumemiru 15.” As a song, Tsunku did a great job. The girls give a great vocal performance. The song has a drive that is absent from many songs along the same vein. I love the synth bass lines on this song as well as the swirling keyboards that float above the instrumental. The bridge is also the closest that H!P usually gets to really rhythmic bridges. Then, when the girls start singing again, they are harmonized with an electric guitar: this wins me over every time. I watch the video and I think, “Man, there hair is SHORT!”
This will always be my favorite S/mileage song. I love everything about it. The girls look great in their informal costumes with its nod to the 80’s. The video is light, fun and matches the mood of the song completely. I love seeing the girls looking bored in their school uniforms, playing with the balloons, and doing their weird dance with the hand thing and the little kick in the chorus. I like seeing the girls mugging for the camera and taking their purikura shots. I love Sakitty balancing a pencil on her lip and Kanyon’s curly hair and exposed forehead. I love the hearts in their eyes whenever there is a closeup. And then there’s Kanon. For me, Kanon sells S/mileage more than the other girls. I think she is adorbs-ultra-looking to the max in this song. Her forehead? That kick thing in those shoes? LOVE IT. The song itself is a touch of hyperactive, but the chorus melody with its peppering of English phrases is instantly memorable. Hell, I even like the crazy synth sound that Tsunku insists on using on his electronic songs. The fact that this song was the final 4nin S/mileage song adds to the poignancy. As far as I’m concerned, S/mileage never got more S/mileage than they did in this song.
Had the 4nin S/mileage stayed together, it’s doubtful that they would have topped “Uchouten Love.” It was the perfect song at the perfect time for them. I’ll still listen to them, even if they now have a vampire in their ranks (I’m looking at YOU, Tamura Meimi). I really hope they can come back to prominence. Their new song is a step in the right direction. The girls are back to a sound that is reminiscent of their breakthrough “Yumemiru 15.” The dance is striking with dramatic arm angles. They also decided to let the other girls sing. I’m starting to really come around on Nakanishi Kana. I even like the slow shots of the girls looking depressed under ultra-harsh lighting. On the negative side, Takeuchi Akari’s weird lips still weird me out, and I can’t stand those hats at weird angles. Maybe I should just leave a link to the song and peace out.