Just when we thought the new name would kill the group dead, Angerme punches us in the face with their new release “Taiki Bansei/Otome no Gyakushuu”. By now, we all know that S/mileage 3rd generation Murota Mizuki, Aikawa Maho, and Sasaki Rikako provided the girls with extra momentum. Now we see the “Rikako factor” in action.
The energy of the song is undeniable. I also theorize many listeners were hoping for something different from the group, and “Taiki Bansei” definitely sounds different. Although he might have received the songwriting and composition assignment due to unfortunate circumstances, Nakajima Takui (Mano Erina’s “My Days for You“, Dia Lady’s “Lady Mermaid” and LoVendoR’s “Ikujinashi“) again shows us his talents are considerable. The instrumental arrangement for “Taiki Bansei” eschews the now standard electronic sounds of Hello! Project in favor of real instruments played by real musicians. This time, Takui gives Angerme a funk-inflected song complete with an octive hopping bass line, conga percussion, and talk box lead guitars. You can see the tracking of “Taiki Bansei” in a series of Music+ videos starting here.
This opening shot really says a lot, doesn’t it?
The song is great fun, and the chorus hook is undeniable. One thing is certain: if you listen to the song you will definitely have that chorus melody worming into your cerebral cortex. This might be the song’s downfall as well. At a length of about four and a half minutes, “Taiki Bansei” only employs about four different melodic patterns. Don’t get me wrong, these are great melodies. But, one listen of the song amounts to 48 listens of the “Taiki Bansei? Mou” melody. It’s a bit too much repetition for me, and the song loses some re-playability because of it.
The PV, meanwhile, ranges on the cheaper side of Hello! Project PVs. “Taiki Bansei” contains some camera movements that highlight the hyperactive choreography, some great close up shots of the girls, and little else. The set looks to be the same sound stage employed in many H!P productions. This time, the circular light rig supports the drapery that provides a backdrop for the dance shot. It’s not particularly interesting, but the song and the performance of the group make up for the lack of shot variety. This isn’t particularly a problem since the new girls are new, and we want to see more of them.
Of course, if you don’t like 70s funk you can listen to “Otome no Gyakushuu”. Predictably, and understandably, the song’s arrangement is more in line with the current Hello! Project. Timpani drums and strings start “Otome no Gyakushuu” and eventually give way to an unnerving melody that would’t feel out of place in a psycho fun house. The girls sound like they are taunting the listener with a childish yet menacing singsong. Even though the chorus melody is not as engaging as the chorus for “Taiki Bansei”, the song grooves a bit more with a demonic sound that contrasts the girls’ sing-song.
Evil grooves aside, “Otome no Gyakushuu” suffers from the same lack of melodic depth as “Taiki Bansei”. And, since the song has fewer hooks to latch onto, this lack of depth makes “Otome no Gyakushuu” slightly inferior a product to “Taiki Bansei”. To make up for this deficiency, we get a PV with a location shoot and a real variety of shots.
We have spent some time writing about Rikako already, and rightfully so. However, I think Murota Mizuki is a real gem among the 3rd generation. Murotan appears confident in the lens. She shows us a wide variety of expressions in this PV and in “Taiki Bansei”.
With “Taiki Bansei/Otome no Gyakushuu”, Angerme have a single that will surely be included in many Best-of-2015 lists. I know the New Year still wear’s diapers. But, this single is the release that S/mileage-Angerme fans have been waiting for. The third generation breathes life into a group that pronounced dead a number of times. Additionally, “Taiki Bansei/Otome no Gyakushuu” does much to assuage the anxiety many H!P wota have over Tsunku’s increased absence from his empire. Pop in some Earth, Wind, and Fire or throw in Goblin’s Suspiria soundtrack- the choice is yours.
You can buy “Taiki Bansei/Otome no Gyakushuu” at CD Japan