NMB48’s seductively titled single brings them back into the game27 July, 2012 by Mus
3 months after the release of summer single Nagiichi, NMB48 returns with one titled Virginity. The Namba-based idol group’s 5th single release marks their first single after completing a 4-single cycle so commonly associated with the AKB family. Is Virginity as memorable as its name, or does it fall flat from the excessive hype?
Unsurprisingly, there are no changes to the single structure. The single comes in 4 flavours, from Type A to C and a Theater version. The Akagumi and Shirogumi system for coupling songs is still in place, and there doesn’t look to be any shake-ups in that respect.
The naming of Virginity definitely shocked a few fans. Even with Akimoto Yasushi’s history of controversy, a title so blatant still came out of left field for many fans. With the group’s propensity to find itself embroiled in scandal after scandal, it didn’t seem to be wise to further disturb the balance. Nevertheless, the lyrics of the song are rather tame, and par for the course in terms of a 48-family release. Maybe it can all be attributed to the Japanese tendency to lose some nuance when borrowing English terminology.
All in all, the song is pretty solid, and personally ranks near the top amongst all of NMB’s songs. The song has a sizable ska influence, with horns in much of the song, including the interlude. For the many genres that Akimoto goes into, ska is one that he hasn’t worked with a whole lot; it’s definitely a nice change from the status quo. This also sets it apart from many other recent releases, so it should be interesting to see how much the public warms up to it.
The promotional video for the single is surprisingly low budget. Mainly showing the girls dancing at night in an open field with moving floodlights, they probably spent more on the lighting and crane than anything else in the PV. The director definitely knows the appeal of NMB, with long shots and pans to show the girls dancing. Given the group’s reputation as some of the best dancers in the franchise, this makes for some good viewing coupled with the choreography showcasing precise synchronized movement.
Much like Nagiichi’s association with Round 1, Virginity’s main coupling song Mousou Girlfriend is a tie-up with Minmin Daha, a drink previously promoted by the now-defunct SDN48. Playing off the acronym NMB, the campaign centers around ‘Minmin Daha NoMeBa?’, encouraging viewers to try the energy drink line. Targeting the right demographic seems to be the reason for the catgirl theme of the promotional video of Mousou Girlfriend.
The song itself isn’t much to write home about. Being a CM song, the chorus is of course very catchy, but that is all the song has going for it. Much of the appeal of the song is from the promotional video, which I suspect was the intended outcome. The PV for this one is directly opposite that of the title song, with the girls dancing in the field in the day. Seeing as how you can spot the same trees in the background, its highly likely they did it all at the same time.
After the horrendous sounding Nagiichi (which still managed to top NMB48’s sales), anything would be an improvement. With it’s relatively new direction for music and all-around polish, Virginity is deserving of a good placing all on its own even without the comparison. Hopefully, many others share this sentiment and it’s reflected in the numbers on Oricon.Click here to search CDJapan for Virginity 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.