AKB48’s new album has been released!17 August, 2012 by Mus
AKB48 releases their long awaited fourth album on the 15 August. Its title 1830m, alludes to the distance from the AKB48 theater to the girls’ destination, Tokyo Dome. AKB48 albums tend to be full of already released content, and as such rarely worth it for non-diehard fans. We take a look at 1830m and see if it’s the case here as well.
The album is notable for a variety of reasons, the most obvious of which is the title. The group’s official blog title is loosely translated as ‘The Path to Tokyo Dome’, and 1830m’s release only weeks before the momentous concerts at Tokyo Dome; according to leader Takahashi Minami, AKB48 is at a turning point now, with the album being the last one that also has ace Maeda Atsuko in it. Symbolically, 1830m is AKB48’s most important album yet.
As far as albums go, 1830m comes close as one of the longest, with a whopping 34 tracks spread over 2 discs.
Fans who have been buying AKB48 releases consistently might balk at the selection of songs for the first disc, which is crowded with already-released single songs and b-sides. Nevertheless, previously unreleased songs like Miniskirt no Yousei (performed by the Research Students) are available on the first disc. Also on it are the tie-up songs Yasai Uranai and Ren’ai Sousenkyo.
More interesting is the second disc, which contains original songs and specially formed units. There are songs available from all the teams, of AKB48, and even one song that incorporates all the sister groups. We look at some of the more notable songs, and how they stand together as an album.
Plastic no Kuchibiru
Shinoda Mariko’s first foray into solo singing for AKB48 results in an electronic dance track. The song is a little house-y with copious loads of autotune, no doubt to mask the fact that AKB48’s fashion ladder can’t keep a pitch if her life depended on it. Nevertheless, it is a good effort, and the song sounds pleasant enough, if you’re not turned off by the vocal modification.
Omoide no Hotondo
A ballad with the power duo, Maeda Atsuko and Takahashi Minami. A ballad with lyrics alluding to the pair’s partnership over the course of the past 6 years, fans who have followed ‘Atsumina’ will be in tears by the end of the song. There is minimal accompanying music, with much of the song driven by the girls’ naked vocals. It is a fitting song for the voices that have dominated every AKB48 single, and a fitting tribute to a partnership that will continue to grow forward after Acchan’s departure.
Bokutachi wa Ima, Hanashiau beki Nanda
This song is sung by a combination that came from left field in Itano Tomomi and Kashiwagi Yuki. Much like how unexpected the pairing is, also unexpected is how their voices go well together. While the gap in singing ability is apparent whenever they sing consecutive lines, the girls generally harmonize well together. Disappointing however, is the fact that the song itself is rather bland and not very memorable.
Sakura no Hanabira
The last song on the album has Maeda Atsuko covering AKB48’s well-known debut, Sakura no Hanabiratachi. Maeda gets a bad rap for being at the center of the group without any ostensible talents, but this song is proof that definitely can hold her own, even if most of her live performances have been plagued by nerves.
It is no accident that she sings the song she first sang with the rest of first-gen AKB48. Sakura no Hanabira is an excellent nod to Acchan’s contributions to AKB48, and an excellent close to an album full of symbolism and nostalgia.
Listening to fan comments about music videos, Akimoto Yasushi decided that 1830m will allow fans to pick a song (limited to AKB48’s) that they feel deserves a music video, with the top song getting a music video that will be included in the single slated for release in December.
Sparking from a meeting about which songs deserve a music video of their own, the producer decided it best to let the fans decide, in what has been called AKB48 Music Video Request 2012. The voting period will last from release date to 20 September.
All in all, 1830m far eclipses any of the previous albums, especially in the tracklist. Coupled with the fact that 1830m is such an important part of AKB48’s history, it’s definitely worth a buy.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.
Click here to search CDJapan for 1830m and other related items.