It’s a real failing of mine. After following Tokyo Girls’ Style since their beginning I stopped paying them great attention. Again, this was a mistake. I’m not proud of this. To make ammends, I’m spending the next few articles detailing the TGS singles released since my review of “Unmei“. You won’t see anything too in-depth due to the nature of these articles (a makeup test, and late assignment). But, you will get a chance to get yourself up to speed with Tokyo Girls’ Style before their live performances at J-Pop Summit 2014 in San Francisco next week, July 19 and 20.
The first song up has a different sound than most Tokyo Girls’ Style songs. The first time I heard the song I let out an audible, “Whoa!”. For this release, TGS work with the guitar rock/pop sound that one expects from a group like PASSPO. “Get the Star” is a nice change of pace for the dance-centric group. The simplicity of the melody adds a layer to the hook of a song that lost its’ way amid other rock-influenced releases last year. Refreshingly, the song is produced with a minimum of tricks and wizardly. “Get the Star” does not veer into left field with a dub step bridge or other out-of-place instrumental choices. Your local rock band playing in your neighbor’s garage could probably play a respectable version of the song. Is this not what you wanted: an idol group singing “real” songs like a “real” group?
“Get the Star” includes a sparsely accompanied, exposed bridge section. I think TGS makes a real statement when Nakae Yuri, who I once considered one of the weaker vocalists in the group, sings this section with confidence and skill (LEVEL UP!). I can’t tell you how much I respect this group for their ability to sing their own harmonies in their live performances. In this arena, the two lead vocalists of the group, Konishi Ayano and Arai Hitomi, really shine. You can hear Hitomi’s work when she brilliantly adds harmony to Yuri’s solo mentioned earlier. Ayano’s wonderfully rich voice now adds the low notes that are missing in most idol groups. Hell, Ayano is so talented that she will harmonize with the other girls WHILE PLAYING THE DRUMS FOR THE SONG (I kinda love her, if you didn’t notice).
The simplicity of the song influences the PV as well. Just as the instrumentals are stripped (mostly) bare, the PV set is made to look like a stripped down rehearsal studio. The PV starts by looking down at a circular track that surrounds the girls’ performance spots. A pair of monitors projecting outward from the center of the circle suggests the girls will face each other as they sing, and five microphone stands arranged in a circle allude to the star in the songs title. No tricks: this is what we see for the majority of the PV: Tokyo Girls’ Style rock the mic without choreography. To borrow from my former life: “they just sing their balls off” (probably not a good euphemism here).
“Get the Star” IS a Tokyo Girls’ Style release, so everything looks perfect. The girls wear a shorts/tank top combination with requisite rock accessories: studded bracelets, fingerless gloves, ornate rings, and dangling chains. Basically, they look like they raided Tanaka Reina’s closet. Yes, it looks good. Guitar amplifiers encircle the scene as though the girls are staying to rehearse long after the musicians left. PARcans shine on the girls from low and high angles while a circular array of PARcans glows from over head. All of this light is appropriate given the song is called “Get the Star”. As if to drive the point home, CG stars float around the studio in increasing number as the song reaches its conclusion.
The girls each get a modest amount of face time in some intercut solo dance shots. I don’t know what they are doing about their hair, but these shots look like they could sell copious amounts of shampoo.
I wish I got to this song earlier. It’s too bad the single version of the song was leftmost of the latest album “Killing Me Softly”. The execution of the song and the PV are nearly flawless.
You can buy “Get the Star” at CD Japan.