Summertime Things, Summertime Loves, Summertime Fun.
Let’s cap off this week of catch-up and kick off my weekend at Otakon with AAA‘s latest single!
Okay, so Triple-A’s triple-a-side of a summer single, 夏もの [Natsumono], was officially released yesterday so it’s not really catchup. But the promotional video was released a good month-and-a-half beforehand – and surprisingly, there hasn’t been much talk about it. Was the leaving of Yukari really that much news?
Not that it matters to avex, because AAA’s first single without her is one of their strongest showings. Er, PVs nonwithstanding, that is. Let’s not even get into those.
So, let’s get one thing clear first. The shorter rendition of the song found with the TV-version of the music video? Not good enough. The second half they cut out has a different melody for the stanzas, and for the Chiaki fans (there are certainly a lot of them) – she gets the bridge to the chorus for herself!
Ignoring the fact that upbeat happy J-Pop summer songs automatically fulfill the following descriptions, it’s catchy. It’s fun. Slightly quirky. Refreshing. Makes you think of the beach.
There have been claims comparing the song to Lead’s Summer Madness, but it’s easy to see why upon listening to the basic composition of the song. A mix of rap and light melody led by the boys, with more melodic bridges and then a catchy chorus, it’s easy to compare it to the boyband’s 2006 summer song. They even both open with a chorus. The songs do differ, and for AAA, this is possibly the first single song where all the members have had a vocal part in which they were also audible. Hidaka and Urata take the verse raps with Shin and Shuuta supporting them as light harmonies (similar to Kirei na Sora), while Misako and Chiaki take the first and second bridges respectively, and Nissy works himself into all parts for the song.
The song is bold and brassy, with steady beat running throughout and only stopping for Urata’s solo interlude – which is given more of a dreamy feel. It’s unapologetically fun and undeniably feel-good, and the PV reflects as much, with the members of AAA smiling as they pop from every corner of the beach and wave fireworks and dance and play about with summer food. avex apparently decided to replace Yukari’s boobs with a trio of man-boobs, possibly the same ones that showed up in previous video KIMONO JET GIRL.
Also, if they don’t perform this song tomorrow, I may cry. (Okay, not really. But this would be the perfect way to kick off AAA’s concert and advertise their latest single at the same time.)
o2/ No End Summer
The requisite boys-only song, especially now that AAA’s third album AROUND has been announced, is here! While the music video for this wasn’t very forgiving, and maybe even glaring on the eyes, the song itself is better, if generic. It has the essential island/tropical beat and feel, though Hidaka does mix things up with a reggae-backed rap in the middle of the song and then a more hip-hop instrumental interlude before the final series of choruses. Shuuta and Shin do get their own solo lines during the choruses, nowhere near the level of Saikyou Babe, but still far better than SOUL EDGE BOY – which was basically a Nissy/Urata duet.
I have to confess I want to see them perform this song too. It’s a perfect crowd-raiser, with the easy-to-join hook of “Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa, oh yeah!” at the beginning and end of the song. While the high notes of the chorus are a bit unnecessary (and in Urata’s case, not completely appealing), seeing as the majority of AAA newcomers who will be at the Otakon concert seem to be females attracted by the avex-generated physical shininess of the boys, it’s a sure hit.
o3/ 花火 (Hanabi)
The girls-only song, like the boys-only song, suffers from a bad PV, but is a decent song. A mid-tempo ballad, the music is light and delicate with occasional interjections from more traditional Japanese instruments, and the bulk of the melody provided by Chiaki and Misako – and while at times they seem a bit strong because the music is so light, it’s never anything jarring and both girls sing nicely. Especially Chiaki, from whom we’ve yet to hear something at this level – she’s done attitude, she’s done cute, but this is mature and it works wonderfully well with her. The music is lovely by itself though, making the instrumental more like an additional track rather than single-filler.
And while it’s a lovely ballad, this is one song I wouldn’t want to see the girls perform at Otakon, if they do any gender-split ones. With only an hour’s worth of performance time and this being what it is, there’s no room for it and what is now the pre-requisite album ballad, be it Bokura no Te or MIKANSEI. Unfortunately, it is the one they’re most likely to do, as KJG and Get or Lose were made for three girls. (Though, y’know, I’d gladly join them on stage to take Yukari’s place… as would many other fangirls.)
o4/ ハリケーン・リリ、ボストン・マリ[People of the sun MIX] (HURRICANE LILI, BOSTON MARI)
Now this is a remix! I confess to being sick of this song actually, after hearing and seeing them perform it so many times. (Never thought that could happen, but here we are.) There was the original version of the song and its music video, then the sudden “Original Long Version” of the song and its music video, its performances on “Music Express” (which was really the show between PopJam and PopJam DX), Music Fighter, MelodiX!, a-nation 2006, and at both 2nd ATTACK and 3rd ATTACK concerts. I’m pretty sure it shows up in 4th ATTACK as well. Oh, and let’s not forget that it was the theme song for a drama as well!
But the remix makes it a lot more refreshing, changing up the music and composition completely with a quicker island-influenced tempo and a constantly rising series of chords. It only uses the choruses and Shuuta’s dying-cat-wail lines (I guess the remixer was biased towards him? He doesn’t sound as bad, but the vocals are a bit muted and echoed, and it’s hard to sound bad with that sort of tampering.), but considering it’s shorter than the Original Long Version by two whole minutes, something had to be cut. The end result is something that could be played during an intermission at a sports game, at the beach, a picnic, a backyad barbecue, an amusement park, a rave party, or even as the background music for a fireworks/laser show. Anything summery you can think of, the song would probably go with it.
While it is a bit of a shame that this is only found on the CD-only version of the single – only the SUNSHINE PV is worth paying the extra price the CD+DVD versions cost, and the remix more worth it than any of them.
While AAA having a triple A-side is probably overdoing it, at least avex is giving us a good show as to how well AAA can continue to function even with the loss of Yukari, and I fully expect to see the extent of that and more in the following three days.