Before we jump into this week’s platter of pop, a few more thoughts on perfume444. Earlier this week, dude met Perfume and basically had all his dreams come true. I blathered on about how he stood out as a beacon of honesty in an online world of shitty shitty irony, but I did a thought exercise the other day and realized if he was, say, akb444 I almost certainly wouldn’t feel the same way. Rather, I’d probably be like “hey, look at the weirdo super fan!” I think I don’t do that with perfume444 probably because I really really like Perfume at an unhealthy level for a 23-year-old dude. Heck, the past two weeks of my life have been lame as concrete brownies and I’ve been listening to a lot of Perfume to cheer myself up. Basically, I could be perfume444. Still kinda touching though!
KARA “Go Go Summer!”
Already talked about this obvious attempt at SUMMER JAM 2011 last week, and seven days leaves me feeling the same as before – a few interesting ideas get touched upon, but this eventually turns into a surprisingly middle-of-the-road K-Pop joint (note the K, not J). As much as I don’t want to embrace this song, though, I hate to admit that as the weather has turned from rainy to full-on hot that chorus has sometimes gotten lodged in my head while taking a stroll around town. Curse you lovely weather!
The one new addition is a proper video, and this is where KARA really rises above Girls’ Generation in my book. KARA just has the better…albeit goofier at times…clips and “Go Go Summer!” sure has some silly bits. The premise is…KARA don’t want to sit around the house staring at fans all day, so they decide to go to the sea. Cue magical sea shell that grows really big and teleports them…and a really cute dog who should be featured a bit more…to a beach where the group can run around in cut-off jeans and play with bubble wands. They also sit in front of a pool shaped like the band’s name which doesn’t look very good for swimming! Just watch it, I got a kick out of it.
Nishino Kana “Alright”
Sorry, only a slight taste of this one. When somebody tells you “everything will be alright,” doesn’t that just make you feel even worse about everything? Like, I know you are trying to make me feel upbeat but with such a vague statement why even bother saying anything? It just isn’t all that sincere. Nishino Kana’s latest feels like the aural equivalent of that limp-wristed pick-me-up, trying to touch on past glory but just not having the same punch. Nishino has always been one of the sneakier sirens of modern-day J-Pop, managing to skirt the line between lifeless ballad and popping R&B excellently, but “Alright” is a bit of a stumble. It’s aiming to be a “don’t worry, be happy” kinda track, but feels lifeless for an artist usually good at pumping energy into her music. Next time take them to Jamba Juice or something.
Hey! Say! JUMP “OVER”
Arrrrrghhhhh wrote about this before and it still blows so much. When will these bastards hit puberty and get gangly and unpopular?
Atsuko Maeda “Flower”
So let’s not spend much time on back story…AKB48 member Atsuko Maeda won the annual election deciding who the most popular member of this should-be sonic terrorist organization the other week and oh my goodness I can’t type anymore. I mean, I’d be OK if the AKB48 elections were like, I don’t know, the Kid’s Choice Awards, a harmless diversion for 11-year-old humans who just want to see Jim Carey win for Best Fart. Yet this sham of democracy actually got real legitimate media attention in Japan and oh my goodness humanity why. Anyway, Maeda’s prize for winning this most likely staged election is the privilege of releasing an insipid single upon the world all her own.
“Flower” moves at a very un-AKB pace, and to be honest it sounds a lot better than the last proper AKB48 single…yet something something lesser of two evils something something. Still, it’s a languid almost-ballad, moving as slow as a Southern summer with absolutely no destination in mind. The video hints at this being a big ‘ol melancholic hug-about but it just sounds lazy. All “Flower” proves is that…
L’Arc～en～Ciel “GOOD LUCK MY WAY”
Whoa! Those strings opening up this song actually sound really cool. Like, I could just listen to them for ten minutes and probably be really happy. Unfortunately, they only last so long before a so-so chugging rock song interrupts the prettiness. Those lovely strings try to push through later, but get mostly drowned out by howling. Wasted opportunity, I do say.
Winner Of The Week – Man, I don’t even like it that much but has to be KARA, the competition is too weak.