The spring single with a twist30 January, 2012 by Mus
As the new year comes along, fans await with bated breath for the yearly spring season single. Fans colloquially refer to it as the Sakura single; every single released at this time has had ‘sakura’ in its title. So imagine the surprise of many, when it turned out that 2012’s spring single had a title that wasn’t even in Japanese: Give Me Five!
On the last day of AKB48’s 2012 Request Hour event, Give Me Five! was unveiled with an interesting twist. For 6 months prior, the senbatsu members of the single had been given a task, to secretly learn, practice, and perform on an instrument assigned to them for the song.
The girls were mostly given instruments they were unfamiliar with and the newly formed band (christened Baby Blossom) performed Give Me Five! for the thousands in attendance at Tokyo Dome City, as well as the countless more watching on Google+. The performance started off really badly (think high school band, except without practice) but they soon found their groove and tightened it up toward the end for a memorable finish.
The song itself however, isn’t anything to write home about. While at first the brass instruments seem to be a superfluous addition to the song for the sake of including everyone, it does add some excitement to an otherwise lackluster guitar-driven melody. A safe assumption would be that they had to make the song simple enough for the girls to be able to play live; of course, the Baby Blossom version still has slight differences from the version that’s on the single itself.
Sweet and Bitter, the coupling song by Selection 6 (another new unit), is used as the insert song for Seven & I’s Valentine Fair campaign. Made up of the 6 members with the most exposure, it’s obvious Selection 6 was formed for the sole purpose of endorsement.
The rest of the girls are split into the Special Girls A, B and C for the Types A, B and Theater releases respectively. For some reason, AKB48 has managed to stumble upon an even worse name to call their lower-ranked members than ‘Undergirls’.
Give Me Five will have its promotional video directed by Shigemichi Sugita. It will be a whopping thirty-four minutes long, with a storyline explaining how the high-school band Baby Blossom comes together. Shigemichi is the perfect man for the job, his magnum opus, Kita no Kuni Kara, is a slice-of-life drama focusing on a family.
Some may think that AKB48 crossing over into the land of live instruments would open them to even more criticism, with observers easily drawing comparisons to groups like ZONE or Scandal. Despite this however, many fans will be delighted to see their idols performing live, instrumental ability aside. It will be interesting to see the reactions to the single when the single finally drops, on the 15th of February.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.
Click here to search CDJapan for GIVE ME FIVE! 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.