Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. This is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.
This week we have Promotional videos from Dempagumi.inc, SUPER☆GiRLS (Rewind Exclusive), Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku (Rewind Exclusive), Shinozaki Ai (Rewind Exclusive), predia, Moso Calibration (Rewind Exclusive), Especia, X21, dela (Rewind Exclusive), Shounen ga Milk, and Summer Rocket (Rewind Exclusive).
Dempagumi.inc – WWDBEST
Do you hear that? It’s the ghost of Dempagumi.inc’s greatest hits bubbling to the surface for their latest promotional video, “WWDBEST”. You will hear the familiar musical catch phrases for much of the group’s single discography throughout the PV. Also, your eyes are treated to a bit of a mish mosh of he group’s video discography. Just like it sounds on paper, “WWDBEST” is a glorious mess. While that doesn’t sound like much of a compliment, that descriptor I think accurately describes much of what transpired over the last 8 years with Dempagumi.inc. Like it or leave it, love it or loathe it, you can’t deny Dempagumi.inc’s presence in an idol world that’s grown increasingly eccentric. You will find “WWDBEST” on Dempagumi.inc’s 3CD “best of” set, “WWDBEST ~Dempa Ryoko!~” on sale December 21, 2016.
To answer your main question: this is a clever idea, but Continue reading
It’s about time! Kikkawa You released her 10th single on June 1, 2016, and before things get out of hand, I though I would lend my $1.09 on the subject. Since I haven’t written too much about the girl, I can summarize my feelings: Kikkawa You is talented enough to have been added to any Morning Musume generation. She just happened to have auditioned for the eighth generation at a time when Tsunku didn’t need anyone to wrest the lead vocals from Fujimoto Miki or Takahashi Ai- two talented girls who looked like they were going to part of Morning Musume’s plans for a long time. You can disagree if you want, but I think working on the fringe of idoldom suits Kikka very well as she doesn’t fit neatly into either category- idol or artist. Even if her popularity never catches up, I think she should be a superstar.
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?”.
You know how I feel about Suzuki Airi
Sometimes, a promotional video needs to do very little to capture my attention. Let’s take Team Syachihoko’s “Cherie” PV for example. The PV consists almost solely of shots of the five girls of Team Syachihoko in and around Harajuku performing their choreography in a range of outfits. There are no trick shots, there is no narrative, and little more variety than Akimoto Honoka, Ito Chiyuri, Sakamoto Haruna, Sakura Nao, and Oguro Yuzuki split screened together.
… and then there’s the QR codes.
After more than two years of waiting, Babymetal return to the new music scene with the pounding “Karate”. Ghostly visuals and carefully choreographed kata lend a flair to a promotional video that presents itself as a tournament style battle between Babymetal and their foes. This is Babymetal’s return. Their previous single release “Gimme Chocolate!” catapulted the group to worldwide success; will “Karate” build on their empire?
Before we start, you should know that this is actually Juice=Juice performing as their alter egos “NEXT YOU” from the drama “Budokan”. As such, surely some connection between the visuals of “Next is You” and the drama exists in the digital signature waiting to be unearthed. I would be bad person if I didn’t give an excavation my best efforts.
Tsunku masterminds the entire NEXT YOU project, and the music isn’t an exception. The electric piano lead-in builds initial intrigue visualized with floral arrangements composited over images of the NEXT YOU members. A quickly paced arrangement pops in and sings with synthy brass melodies that lead into on-beat accents. Instrumentally tight, handclaps and jangling guitars provide texture to a the short repeating melodic lines. The sound gives an air of determination and concentration.
In the “better late than never” category, we’re going look at Kobushi Factory’s latest release “Sakura Night Fever / Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsu Moushin / Osu! Kobushi Tamashii”. The sophomore single from the young group performed well selling 33,903 copies and hitting number one on the Oricon weekly charts. To date, the only other groups in the Hello! Project to place at the top spot are Morning Musume and Juice=Juice. Their achievement keeps the group in contention for best third fiddle in Hello! Project. Perhaps more diplomatically, I should say Kobushi Factory‘s second single raises the consistency and general level of Hello! Project. Looking at the H!P stable now we have Morning Musume clearly the flagship with sales over 100,000; C-ute consistently selling 60,000+ copies; Angerme at the 40,000 unit level; Juice=Juice surging to 40,000 units with a weekly number one; Country Girls hitting the 40,000 unit level; and Kobushi Factory at the 30,000+ level with a weekly number one. For H!P, if their lowest selling unit is still placing at the top of the charts, then things look pretty good.
———-Sakura Night Fever———-
Back to the single, Sakura Night Fever expands the sound of the Factory with an uplifting and energetic disco-inspired dance track. The chorus hooks listeners with the cheer “Fever! Fever!” As the group cheers, Kobushi Factory’s unified presence impresses me greatly. One gets the sense that the girls in the Factory enjoy each other’s company and work together well.
I admit it (again). I’ve left my series on Cheeky Parade promotional videos hang without any progress for too long now. Well, I’m sure you know I’m not exactly getting paid for my thoughts here- so plans change, things stay fluid, and ideas may occasionally get abandoned. Well, I’m not abandoning this series!
Cheeky Parade have recently been rocked by the announcement of two hiatus members. Both Yamamoto Marin and Suzuki Mariya will take a two-year absence from the group to study abroad and hone their craft. I’m skeptical about their plans to return, but I can only take their word at face value at this point.
Back in 2013, things were looking up for Cheeky Parade Continue reading
If you’ve been reading TheNumber244 for a while, you probably noticed the high praise I heaped upon Shinozaki Ai’s “A-G-A-I-N” earlier this year. In case you hadn’t, I can paraphrase by saying that Aichan’s voice is one of the most enchanting things to come out of Japan in 2015. In support of her new album, the “interestingly” titled “EAT ‘EM AND SMILE”, the gravure idol extraordinaire turned singer released a PV for her track “Hikari”. Honestly, it’s been burning up my playlist. The melancholy mood evoked by the song, the plucked string bass accompaniment, and Ai’s expressive vocal delivery … all of it pulls the heartstrings. The chorus hits, and I literally say, “Damn, this is a gorgeous song!”
The final A-side of Morning Musume ’15’s 60th release takes on the form of “One and Only”. A first for the group, “One and Only” is the first song by the group that features all English lyrics. The song provides the opening theme for NHK World’s “J-MELO” music program, which coincidentally heavily features the girls of Morning Musume. If you look at the song in purely utilitarian mode, it makes sense that a show presented in English would have a title song in English. Of course, there are other forces at work here. As Morning Musume prepares itself for another concert in the English speaking world, sending out an upbeat and optimistic song like “One and Only” as its ambassador makes a great deal of sense.