I have a rough time trying to rank my favorite ℃-ute singles, but if I ever did task myself thusly the 27th ℃-ute is a sure bet for the top of the list. The majority of the promotional videos today come from that impressive release. Notable today is the first inklings and hints that the group would not last forever. Hints as to the ℃-ute’s eventual demise litter these two releases. Well, enough with the talk; let’s get on with it!
The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~
℃-ute as sexy office ladies? Sign me up. You know, the girls wear those button collars, pants, and power skirts pretty well. The dance shot is absolutely inspiring with some odd body contortions that the girls make work. The real story with “The Middle Management” is the odd grooves that Tsunku gives the group. I have to admit that when I first heard the song, I was expecting something more accessible, perhaps more like the easy, face slams of “Crazy Kanzen na Otona”. Instead, we get a beat that sounds subversive, like the soul has been sucked from sounds yet it keeps pumping (much like office work, right?). This is one of the things that I love about Hello! Project: they don’t necessarily give you exactly what you want 100% of the time. They give you the things that you didn’t even know you wanted until the moment you pay attention to it: like dirty machine-like sex on the boss’s desk.
Based on just a viewing of the promotional video for “Gamusha LIFE” you might think that this third of the triple A-side got the short straw. It’s true the budget here looks much smaller than either of the two other PVs on the 27th single. BUT, this song is wonderfully sentimental and inward looking. It really feels like ℃-ute are singing about their career, and maybe summing up all that they’ve experienced. Really take a read of those lyrics: your guaranteed to shed a tear if you’ve followed the group for any length of time. “Gamusha LIFE” was probably the first time I felt that the group was getting ready to wind it all down. And, how could I/we not think that? Really, this song works well as a farewell, and I HOPE the girls sing it prominently during the final concert.
Tsugi no Kao wo Magare
Here’s another of those great Nakajima Takui songs. Remember what I said about Tsunku giving you what you didn’t know you wanted? Well, Takui doesn’t quite operate on that level. The melodic focus here is a hook large enough to land a Great White. Of all the things I love with “Tsugi no Kado wo Magare”, and there’s a lot I love here, I think the way the verses transitions to the chorus like the turn of a page (or the turn of a corner) best summarizes why this song works. Great performances from the girls in the vocal booth create a rich sound, and the sharp rhythm section keep the dynamo running. It’s REALLY difficult for me to tell you which song of the 27th single is my favorite. And, I didn’t even talk about how great the girls look in their solo close ups!
Arigatou ~Mugen no Yell~
A song that’s a literal “Thank You”? If the previous single didn’t have you thinking about the eventual end of ℃-ute, this one probably did. As it is, the song worked well enough as a bit of cheer for the Japanese National Wrestling Team, whose training regimen, while more intense that ℃-ute’s, clearly draws parallels to the girls and their work to become a top idol group.
Arashi wo Okosunda Exciting Fight
Helicopters? Fire? Wrestlers? OK, I don’t know about this crazy mix of elements. This intense rock song from ℃-ute definitely gets the blood pumping with its quick pace and guitar leads. Yes, like “Arigatou ~Mugen no Yell~”, “Arashi wo Okosunda Exciting Fight” is more cheer for the Japanese Wrestling Squad. This doesn’t really excuse the mish-mash of ideas in the PV. Two things: Okai Chisato nails her lines, and WHOAH is that fire coming out the girls’ hands or did the effects department at H!P get overtime pay?
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