C-ute comes back to us with a triple A side single on April 20. “Naze Hito wa Arasoundarou? / Summer Wind / Jinsei wa STEP!” Puts Yajima Maimi, Nakajima Saki, Suzuki Airi, Okai Chisato, and Hagiwara Mai in a decidedly more adult direction than previous efforts. This isn’t the intense rocking sound or the aggressive dance beats of their past discography. “Naze Hito wa Arasoundarou?” is a soulful harmonized number that draws influences from the great soul groups of the past. In the spirit of those great 1960’s soul, the song is a song of love and peace which comes across immediately with the English translated title “Why Do People Fight?”.
In this examination of the lead track “Naze Hito wa Arasoundarou?”, we are immediately struck with the girls trading their hot pants and midriff baring outfits for elegant long sequined dresses. It’s a welcome change as these girls have become stunning young adults.
One of the elements from “Naze Hito wa Arasoundarou?” that struck me immediately was the presence of extras … and some of the extras were men. The main set of the PV has the girls singing through throwback microphones on a platform fronted with a line of incandescent orbs. On their right another platform carries background singers in contrasting black dresses, and on their left behind bannisters, a horn section provides the accents and accompaniment. The set-up could pass for a musical number from a light rom/com!
So without even looking at the other promotional videos from this release, one starts to draw conclusions. It’s a well-known fact that C-ute are about to hit the end of their shelf life as Japanese idols. I’m not being agist, or sexist, or discriminatory with that statement. The “idol” job comes with a very narrow age band, and rightfully so. If you consider, as I do, the “Love Ban” as a protection from unscrupulous interests and distractions (I know the Love Ban means many other things, but I’m not discussing that here), then the restriction seems unnecessary for people in their 20’s like C-ute. Actually, the job of “idol” holds very little appeal for anyone in their 20’s with serious artistic intentions. At some point, the idol needs to transition to artist.
So what we are seeing with “Naze Hito wa Arasoundarou?” is a part of the transition of C-ute from “idol” to “artist”. Adult costumes. Adult lyrical themes. Adult repertoire choices. Relaxed restrictions from boys. I feel the transition.
Where will C-ute go from here? Will they transition from Hello! Project to Up Front and join LoVendoR, Up Up Girls, Kikkawa You, and Bitter & Sweet? Will they remain in Hello! Project as their sole non-idol act? Will the group announce their “indefinite hiatus”?
Not that we can answer these questions. You can speculate in the comments below; I’d love to hear your theories. But, please. For the sake of the girls, don’t fight!
New School Kaidan