AKB48 releases yet another million seller26 September, 2012 by Mus
Gingham Check marks the last time AKB48 ace Maeda Atsuko ever graces a release as a member of AKB48. It also represents a new era for the pop group; the latest Senbatsu election saw many new faces making it into the single. How does the future look for post-Maeda AKB48, and does it hold any promise? I believe the answer lies in Gingham Check.
The title song is pretty standard as idol songs go, with the main melody being guitar-based and a relatively safe sound. The chorus is ear-worm material as well, and you’ll find yourself humming it after one listen. However, the whole song feels and sounds rather formulaic; while this is of course no fault of the group, it does make one wonder how much longer they can carry on releasing songs like this before people get tired.
Much of the hype for the single came from its promotional video by renowned director Joseph Kahn. Intending it to be an homage to Japan, the video is full of pop-culture references of kitschy parodies. As one can tell from the title, the costume of the single is a gingham-pattern, with the girls dancing in the comical costumes interspersed with the ‘movie’ scenes. Those who grew up at the advent of J-culture would definitely have a bit of fun with spotting the references, and making fun of the costumes.
As is usual with Senbatsu election singles, the rest of the girls are split into different units for the rest of the songs on the single.
A fusion of South-Asian melodies and electronica, it is personally the most interesting song on the single. The quirky intro leaves a lasting impression; if that didn’t however, there’s the dubstep break in the middle to help you jog your senses. While it comes from beyond left-field, it adds a dimension to the song rarely explored in singles, where many songs rarely go beyond one musical genre.
Do Re Mi Fa Onchi
An electronic number led by enka-whiz Iwasa Misaki. The lineup for Next Girls features many surprise entrants, including Nakaya Sayaka and Nakata Chisato. It’s great to see that are finally new faces in the singles, no doubt aided by the expansion of the system to include 64 members. Unfortunately, Do Re Mi isn’t very memorable on its own, and ranks the lowest in that respect under the rest of the songs in the single.
Show Fight sounds like something a group from Johnny’s Entertainment would release, rather than something from the AKB family. With a bassy beat and singing that’s more akin to rapping, the song has a fast tempo. It differentiates itself from the rest of the songs on Gingham Check, and those looking for more punch (quite literally) from their songs would definitely love this one. It features many of the new girls in AKB, and is definitely an interesting starting point.
Yume no Kawa
Yume no Kawa is Maeda Atsuko’s swansong as a member of AKB48. While the song features most of the popular girls in the group, the combination of lyrics and music make it clear that this is a song for Acchan. She takes the lead for many of the lines, as the rest of the members sing supporting lines solo.
It’s a song that will definitely reduce many fans to tears in nostalgia, and is quite a nice way to commemorate Maeda’s contributions to the group. It was a nice touch to include her in Gingham Check, as the single was actually released two days after her graduation from the group.
Gingham Check does well in showcasing the new girls that make up the new guard of the family who will take up the reins from the early generations. It remains to be seen if they will succeed, but the single is promising.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.
Click here to search CDJapan for Gingham Check and other related items.
Writer who also doubles as the photographer during event coverage. Mus' interests in Japan lie in the language, literature, popular culture and underground rock bands. Having an academic background in Japan, Mus is also particularly interested in the study of Nihonjinron.